Sony CEO Was Already Freaking Out About 'The Interview' This Summer

The US is finally getting ready to blame North Korea for the massive Sony Pictures Entertainment hack most likely linked to the movie “The Interview,” starring Seth Rogen and James Franco. 

But apparently problems with the movie started much sooner. Sony Corp.’s CEO was already freaking out over the summer about specific gruesome scenes in the movie “The Interview” that likely angered North Korea.

The movie tells the story of journalists instructed by the CIA to assassinate Kim Jong-un after scoring an interview with the North Korea dictator.

North Korea’s subsequent hack — which released tons of cringe-worthy emails — also revealed that Sony Corp’s CEO Kazuo Hirai was unusually involved in the production of “The Interview” after North Korea called the movie an “act of war” after seeing promos for it.

In fact, Hirai “broke a 25-year tradition” by interfering with the production of the irreverent comedy starting Seth Rogen and James Franco, The New York Times has reported. Generally, an executive from parent company Sony Corp. wouldn’t insert himself into the decisions of the company’s usually independent studio, Sony Pictures.

Hacked emails cited by The Times showed that Hirai told the studio to tone down a scene showing Kim’s head exploding. Seth Rogen sent an email to Sony Pictures executives that apparently addressed Hirai’s concerns about the exploding head. Here’s that email, via Gawker:


A few days later, Sony Pictures Co-Chairman Amy Pascal sent an email to Hirai outlining the ways in which the head-exploding scene was toned down. He ultimately approved “shot #337,” which cuts down on “face melting,” “fire in the hair,” “embers on the face” and the “head explosion,” according to Gawker.

Sony Corp.’s Japan-based CEO may have been more sensitive than American executives to the possibility of angering North Korea, as The New York Times reported. It was just 30 years ago that North Korea was still kidnapping Japanese so they could serve as Japanese-language instructors in North Korea, according to The Times.

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