With North Korea being back in the news so much recently, it seems as good a time as any to consult Hollywood’s foremost expert on all things related to Kim Jong-un, Seth Rogen. Back in 2014, Rogen and his longtime friend James Franco made a little movie called The Interview, which centered around two bumbling journalists tasked with assassinating the North Korean dictator. Rather than being remembered as a fairly light-hearted comedy about an intercontinental hit job, the film is primarily associated with the infamous Sony hack that went down just prior to its release, which was seen as a retaliatory act by North Korean hackers and led to the film being pulled from most theaters. But, in a recent interview with Vulture, Seth Rogen revealed that he doesn’t see it that way:
When the trailer for The Interview came out we were called into a meeting at Sony, where they told us that North Korea had probably already hacked into their system and seen the movie and that the statements they’d put out was their response. Then, months later, when the movie itself finally came out, all this hacking shit happened. This was months after North Korea had probably already seen the movie. Why would they wait?
In addition to thinking the timeline seems wonky, Rogen says he spoke to a guy he hired to do his cybersecurity who claimed that a hack of that magnitude would have to involve physical hardware, i.e. “it required plugging shit into other shit.” It’s more likely, says Rogen, that the person behind the leaking of thousands of internal emails and employee information from Sony was a disgruntled employee or someone looking to get then-chairperson Amy Pascal fired.
At the time, the hack coinciding with the film’s botched release seemed like a PR disaster for Sony. But, it also created a pretty handy narrative for promoting their film. Rogen says his biggest regret is the part he played (or was forced to play) in that narrative. “They were asking us to look like these dumb stoner filmmakers who just happened to make a movie about Kim Jong-un without really thinking about it,” he says, adding that he wasn’t consulted about the movie being pulled from theaters and that the decision was made while he was backstage at The Colbert Report. It’s unclear whether Sony was just trying to save face or if they were playing into their role as a victim of an alleged attack, but Rogen says he felt abandoned by the studio. “We knew exactly what we were doing with The Interview.”
You can read the full interview here, which includes some of Rogen’s (and writing partner Evan Goldberg’s) plans for the future, as well as a frank discussion of Nicolas Cage’s near-involvement in The Green Hornet.
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