Despite political attacks and cyber hacks, freedom of speech wins the day at the film’s Christmas premiere.
All was calm on Christmas day at the Los Angeles premiere of Sony Pictures’ parody film The Interview, which has been in the spotlight for sparking tensions with North Korea and potentially prompting a major cyber hack on the company.
Stars Seth Rogen and James Franco posed on a small red carpet restricted to photographers as Sony reined in media access after the film made headlines following a devastating security breach that leaked films, data and emails.
“I’m not getting involved in all of that,” the film’s co-writer and co-director Evan Goldberg says with a laugh, when asked about the film’s international impact. He says he and Rogen are already busy working on their next projects, including a TV show and an animated comedy film, and would host a few press calls in New York in the coming week for The Interview.
Sony Pictures Entertainment, a unit of Japan’s Sony Corp, was the target of a massive cyber attack that became public on Nov 24, when unidentified hackers released a trove of internal company data and emails.
People close to the investigation have told Reuters that North Korea is a principal suspect in the hack, but a North Korean diplomat has denied his nation is involved. In June, the North Korean government in Pyongyang condemned the film.
In interviews with industry publications, including Deadline Hollywood, Sony Pictures co-chairman Amy Pascal who was also at the premiere, defended the studio’s decision to make Rogen and Goldberg’s comedy. “No one will tell us what movies to release, ever,” she says. “Nobody should be able to intimidate a company.”
According to emails dating from August through October, Sony Corp chief executive Kazuo Hirai had ordered Pascal to tone down the film after Pyongyang denounced it for depicting the assassination of Kim Jong Un.
Rogen agreed to small changes, but objected to requests to modify the death scene, feeling that would diminish the humour and also be viewed as censorship and hurt sales. “This is now a story of Americans changing their movie to make North Koreans happy,” he says in an Aug 15 email. “That is a very damning story.” – Reuters