It was supposed to be a fun comedy about the assassination of Kim Jong Un. It turned out to be a movie that sparked an international incident — at least, we think.
It was June 2014 when news broke that the North Korean government was aware of Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg’s comedy “The Interview,” in which Rogen and James Franco play journalists who are granted an interview with Kim Jong Un and have been tasked by the CIA to kill him.
North Korea’s Foreign Ministry stated that the US would face “stern” and “merciless” retaliation if the film was released. Hoping to calm the waters, the studio behind the film, Sony, pushed the release date from October to Christmas of that year for digital tweaks of the movie in the hopes of not offending North Korean officials, even altering the death scene of Kim Jong Un.
On November 24, a group known as the “Guardians of Peace” hacked the company networks of Sony Pictures, releasing internal emails, employee records, and recent Sony movies onto the internet. Then on December 16, the hackers threatened to attack any theatre that showed the movie, leading Sony to pull the title from theatres (only a handful of independent chains showed it). The movie was made available online instead.
North Korea has never claimed responsibility for the hack, and it’s something that Rogen and Goldberg, who cowrote and directed the film, still wonder about.
“Every now and then we look at each other and one of us will say, ‘Remember that?'” Goldberg told Business Insider in a recent interview alongside Rogen.
“And we still work with a lot of the same people,” Rogen added. “We’re making a movie with Amy Pascal [the former head of Sony, who stepped down after the hack]. We’re in the same places a lot. We’re dealing with the same marketing people. It’s impossible not to bring it up. And we still debate whether or not it was North Korea.”
When asked if they got a lot of dirty looks around the Sony lot at the time of the Sony hack, Rogen laughed.
“Oh yeah, lots of people,” he said. “That ended eventually. But every once in a while people are still surprised to see us there.”
Rogen said that “time heals all wounds” and that he and Goldberg have a good relationship with Sony now. The studio will be releasing their upcoming movie, the R-rated comedy “Sausage Party” (out in theatres August 12).
One thing the hack didn’t affect, they say, is how they approach comedy writing. Well, with the exception of one topic.
“I would probably maybe not make a thing about North Korea again,” Rogen said. “We played that card, and all I can say is, touché.”
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