Kim Jong-un, leader of North Korea, has threatened that the upcoming film The Interview starring Seth Rogen and James Franco is an act of war due to its assassination based plot. The North Korean dictator’s grotesquely bizarre actions and declarations will most likely be the source of much of the comedy in Rogen and Franco’s new film, making the newest threat disturbingly ironic. The film is about two journalists who somehow get an interview with Kim Jon-un and are subsequently ordered and prepared by the CIA to assassinate the despot.
It seems fairly apparent why a plot like this might upset a person with a behavioral history like Kim Jong-un’s, but no one expected such a drastic response. Politicians and citizens alike have grown used to shrugging off North Korea’s threats and missile tests as most ended more laughable than threatening. However with a leader like Kim Jong-un who has a massive army at his disposal, no matter how faulty their equipment may or may not be, such an extreme reaction to a comedy film is cause for concern. It is already well documented how North Korean government officials and even citizens can warp realities inside the Asian nation’s borders. Now if the country’s leader is even more unhinged than previously suspected he might be worth considering an imminent threat.
Seth Rogen responded to the threat of imminent reprisal in typical comedic fashion on Twitter saying, “People don’t usually wanna kill me for one of my movies until after they’ve paid 12 bucks for it. Hiyooooo!!!” Whether or not the film will actually be changed or held from release is still unclear, but Rogen’s response and attitude about Kim Jong-un threatening war due to his film seems to point to a scheduled release of the comedy.
North Korean officials claim that the film reflects the US’s actions in countries such as Afghanistan and even the Kennedy assassination. The statement ended with a vague implication that the American military may want to kill President Obama. Oddly childish responses to Hollywood satire is par for the course with North Korea, but a direct threat of action for something so trivial is a step up from the usual back and forth. Both Rogen’s and Franco’s films are usually fairly successful to say the least so it remains to be seen how the North Korean government will react to its potential popularity. Even before the film is released in late October there will undoubtedly be a steady stream of marketing for the film for Kim Jong-un’s staff to shake their fists at.
So far the threat of war from Kim Jong-un due to a Seth Rogen film has predictably only garnered laughter and attention for The Interview, but as time passes the situation may change. It could also very well fade away into a simple humorous anecdote. Such is the nature of relations with the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. President Obama has yet to make a statement regarding the threat, but it is very likely that he simply will ignore the entire situation, not dignifying it with a response. Now all that is left for politicians and audiences is to wait and see what comes first, North Korean action or the release of the film in October. If all goes well The Interview will be released on the tenth of October without further incident, having had one of the most bizarre accidental promotions in Hollywood history.
By Matt Isaacs