Sony Is Altering ‘The Interview’ To Avoid Offending North Korea

Senior Editor
08.13.14 40 Comments


Up until now, we’ve all had a good laugh with North Korea and how angry they’ve been ever since they heard about The Interview, the Seth Rogen/James Franco movie where their characters are sent to assassinate North Korea’s chubby lil despot. Anything that angers North Korea enough for them to put out press releases is already a successful comedy in my book, and early on, Rogen and co seemed to be as amused by it as we were. But it’s a lot easier for us to laugh at North Korea than it is for, say, Sony Pictures’ Japanese owners, who actually live in a place that can be reached by North Korea’s shitty rockets. And now THR reports that Sony will make certain changes to the film in the hopes of softening North Korea’s reaction to it.

Jeez, the things you have to do in the name of international box office.

Sources say the studio is digitally altering thousands of buttons worn by characters in the film — which on Aug. 8 was pushed from October to a prime Dec. 25 release — because they depict the actual hardware worn by the North Korean military to honor the country’s leader, Kim Jong Un, 31, and his late father, Kim Jong Il (showcasing military decorations would be considered blasphemous to the nuclear-armed nation).

So let me get this straight: showcasing military decorations is blasphemous, but killing the leader who declared them sacred isn’t? That just seems confusing. And God forbid we offend the delicate sensibilities of a regime known for executing dissidents via flamethrower.

Word of warning, this next paragraph is somewhat spoilery (I think).

The film, about a pair of TV journalists recruited by the CIA to assassinate the North Korean despot, has become a hot potato for the studio, which is owned by Japan’s Sony Corp. (the country recently has taken steps to ease tensions with its enemy to the West after decades of icy relations). Sources say the studio is considering cutting a scene in which the face of Kim Jong Un (played by Randall Park) is melted off graphically in slow motion. Although studio sources insist that Sony Japan isn’t exerting pressure, the move comes in the wake of provocative comments from Pyongyang that the film’s concept “shows the desperation of the U.S. government and American society.”

A source close to Sony’s decision-making says the move to alter the hardware was precipitated by “clearance issues,” particularly because it involves a living person, Kim Jong Un. As for the face-melting scene, this person says the filmmakers are just trying to gauge whether it’s funny. [THR]

Clearance issues? So… you’re worried that a Stalinist, collectivist regime is going to object to its depiction on copyright grounds? The irony of that is so thick and rich that you’d swear it was raised in the materialist south.

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