Continuing an escalation that future history students will someday find in their textbooks, right alongside the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, North Korea has declared the upcoming release of Seth Rogen and James Franco’s The Interview an “act of war that we will never tolerate.” As was reported earlier this week, the nation that is normally pretty chill about everything reacted to trailers for the film—in which Rogen and Franco embark on a comic misadventure to assassinate dictator Kim Jong-un—by denouncing it as more evidence of the “desperation of the U.S. government and American society,” and even worse, not as good as James Bond.
But these were the informal opinions of an unofficial spokesman for Pyongyang. The latest statements, conveyed through the Associated Press, come directly from North Korea’s Foreign Ministry, which threatens a “strong and merciless countermeasure” if the White House doesn’t prevent The Interview from screening. “The enemies have gone beyond the tolerance limit in their despicable moves to dare hurt the dignity of the supreme leadership,” the statement reads, threatening “stern punishment” for a film that dares to slander Kim Jong-un as an unstable, posturing warlord. Said punishment could involve everything from using its nuclear weapons system that it totally has, to Kim Jong-un and his friends making their own, supreme version of Pineapple Express.
While North Korea has withstood being the glorious butt of pop culture parody before—Team America, 30 Rock, that time Dennis Rodman went over there at the behest of David Letterman or Funny Or Die or whomever—The Interview has apparently invited “the towering hatred and wrath of the service personnel and people of the DPRK,” in a way presumably not seen since the time someone served Kim Jong-un a sandwich that didn’t have the crusts cut off. The statement also directly implicates the U.S. government in its production, suggesting it bribed a “gangster filmmaker” to make it. (The Interview is co-directed by Evan Goldberg and Seth Rogen, whose previous film, This Is The End, was propaganda calling for the assassination of everyone in Hollywood.)
This is the first time a James Franco movie has been declared an act of war since the last one.