North Korea has long held an interesting fascination for me. The Hermit Kingdom has long been looked upon as a sort of crazy estranged cousin to the rest of the world, with its caricature style dictators and it’s bafflingly secretive existence. We don’t know much about life behind the DMZ, only what little footage emerges from those journalists and filmmakers brave enough to cross the border.
When James Franco and Seth Rogan revealed the trailer for their new movie, The Interview, North Korea was not happy and made their position on the matter perfectly clear. The movie, to sum it up quickly, revolves around a television host, played by James Franco, who has the opportunity to interview North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un, however, there is a twist, the government want him and his manager, played by Seth Rogan to carry out an assassination. Upon the trailer’s release, North Korea said that the movie was an act of war, and promised to retaliate with 9/11 style terror attacks – probably not what Rogan and Franco thought would happen when they sat down to right a new hilarious comedy movie.
For what is essentially a silly stoner film, no one could have imagined the fallout that would ensue. The Sony hack which followed the planned release of the film is unprecedented in the world of hacking. With the hackers claiming to have stolen more than 100 terabytes of confidential information, Sony scrambled to redeem itself. With new movies released online, email addresses of celebrities leaked and thousands of private emails thrown into the public domain, December hasn’t been the best month for the global company.
…North Korea said that the movie was an act of war, and promised to retaliate with 9/11 style terror attacks…
The Interview had it’s premiere cancelled, it’s stars didn’t walk a red carpet or partake in any interviews, and soon the public started to feel that the US was crumbling to the pressure North Korea was administering. Strangely enough though, North Korea denied the hacking attack, saying it would offer assistance in investigating the scandal with the US. Although the initial hack is thought to have been traced back to a hotel room in Bangkok, the FBI pointed the finger at North Korea.
It was then Obama’s turn to take to the stage, saying that Sony ‘made a mistake’ by pulling the release of The Interview, and criticising the company for giving in to the threats of North Korea. Many cinemas however pulled out of planned screenings of the movie after North Korea threatened to attack theatres who chose to show the film. Obama made a good point though, when he said in an interview that “It says something interesting about North Korea that they decided to have the state mount an all-out assault on a movie studio because of a satirical movie starring Seth Rogan and James Franco. The notion that that was a threat to them, I think, gives you some sense of the kind of regime we’re talking about here.”
…Sony ‘made a mistake’ by pulling the release…
He makes a good point though. Little crazy North Korea, with those famous, but hilarious pictures of the ‘Dear Leader’ sitting at the old 90’s computer next to the big red button, can’t exactly be the most forward thinking and sensible of countries. Sony made the decision to allow fans to download the movie online for $6, and following the media storm, you can imagine the numbers of people eager to settle down to watch the comedy.
Can’t be too bad afterall then for Seth Rogan and his team. After all, no publicity is bad publicity, right? Even if it does make a country as powerful as the United States feel a bit nervous.