Google “the terrorists won” and you’ll get a sneak peek into the debate over whether Sony did the right thing by pulling its Christmas release of “The Interview.” The movie tells the story of a TV host (James Franco) who lands an interview with North Korea leader Kim Jong-Un only to have the CIA tell him that he has to “take him out.” Goofy (and some gross) antics ensue.
Offended by the premise, apparently, North Korean operatives launched a major cyber attack on Sony, leading to the release of now-infamous nasty emails between executives, and confidential information about hundreds of Sony employees.
The group which took responsibility for the hack calls itself Guardians of Peace (GOP) and it also threatened theaters that were planning on showing the film and now it’s been pulled. Here’s the threat:
“We will clearly show it to you at the very time and places ‘The Interview’ be shown, including the premiere, how bitter fate those who seek fun in terror should be doomed to. Soon all the world will see what an awful movie Sony Pictures Entertainment has made. The world will be full of fear. Remember the 11th of September 2001. We recommend you to keep yourself distant from the places at that time. (If your house is nearby, you’d better leave.) Whatever comes in the coming days is called by the greed of Sony Pictures Entertainment. All the world will denounce the SONY.”
Earlier this week, the LA Weekly talked to Seth Rogen (who plays Franco’s show producer in the film) about why this movie has set off such a firestorm.
What’s most telling about Kim Jong-un’s regime, a mind-controlling, monolithic dictatorship beyond the wildest dreams of Joseph Stalin or Mao, isn’t that it was furious at a Hollywood film. It’s which film.
Here’s why the North Korean government didn’t mind Olympus Has Fallen: It made them look capable of blowing up the White House. By contrast, The Interview dares joke that Kim Jong-un — gasp! — is scared to drink margaritas because his dad, Kim Jong-il, convinced him they were “gay.”
Fear is fine. But humiliation means war. (Read the LA Weekly piece here, it’s good)
Some say this cyber-attack literally counts as an act of war, others say the theaters should not have given into the terrorists. Here’s how it’s playing out in cyber space:
KCRW’s Steve Chiotakis discussed the latest news with Stephen Galloway, executive features editor at The Hollywood Reporter: