Sony’s film studio, Sony Pictures, was hit by a massive hack that resulted in a huge trove of documents from the company leaking online.
Re/code reports that one of the files posted online was the email archive of Amy Pascal, the company’s c0-chairman. Her inbox contained emails sent by Sony CEO Kazuo Hirai that show him instructing Sony Pictures staff to make an important change to the ending of upcoming comedy movie “The Interview.”
The Interview is the movie that North Korea has spoken out against, calling it “an act of terrorism and war.” The movie’s plot features James Franco and Seth Rogen playing assassins trying to kill Kim Jong-un.
North Korea treats its leader as a god, so a movie that revolves around a plot to kill him is going to be hugely controversial. There has even been speculation that Sony Pictures was hacked by a gang of computer experts working within the North Korean government.
It looks like Sony’s CEO was aware of the outrage that The Interview would go on to cause. In emails sent to executives, he requests changes to one of the movie’s final scenes.
Obviously, what follows contains major spoilers for the ending of the movie:
I’ve given this a lot of thought and would like to go ahead with a variation of version 337…It would be much appreciated if you could push them a bit further as you mentioned in your email. Also, please ensure that this does not make it into the international version of the release.
The Interview ends with a scene that sees Kim Jong-Un’s head explode as he is caught in crossfire between a helicopter and a tank. In the initial cut of the movie, that scene was pretty gory.
Here’s part of the email the movie’s star, actor Seth Rogen, sent to Sony Pictures exec Amy Pascal:
We will make it less gory. There are currently four burn marks on his face. We will take out three of them, leaving only one. We reduce the flaming hair by 50% … The head explosion can’t be more obscured than it is because we honestly feel that if it’s any more obscured you won’t be able to tell its exploding and the joke won’t work. Do you think this will help? Is it enough?
In other emails, Rogen assures the executive that changes are being made, saying “We will play with the colour of the head chunks to try to make them less gross.”
Rogen sent Pascal a copy of the edited footage, and didn’t receive a reply. He sent her an email that read “Is no news good news?”
Pascal eventually replied to the draft footage, saying “Let’s talk in the am. I need one night without dreaming about head explosions. But I am damn happy.”
Here’s the final email sent by Rogen after the sequence was approved:
This is it!!! We removed the fire from the hair and the entire secondary wave of head chunks. Please tell us this is over now. Thanks so much!!
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