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the interview

Here's why axed North Korea film The Interview is such a big deal

Sony scrapped the film last night after US cinemas refused to screen it. Here’s why.

LAST NIGHT, SONY PICTURES decided to cancel the US release of controversial North Korea film The Interview, after hackers threatened attacks on any cinemas that screened it.

But how did it come to this? Let us try and break down the events so far.

What is the film even about?

Sony Pictures Entertainment / YouTube

The basic premise is this: Seth Rogen and James Franco play a pair of TV journalists who are granted an interview with Kim Jong-un in Pyongyang – but soon they discover that the CIA actually wants them to assassinate the North Korean leader.

The most controversial scene features the gruesome death of Kim Jong-un, which has (of course) been leaked in the Sony hacks.

TrenderManHD / YouTube

Let’s be honest here: it doesn’t look like a very good film.

When did it begin to cause bother?

the-interview-poster-405x600 Movie Mezzanine Movie Mezzanine

The teaser trailer was released in June, and soon after a North Korean government official released a statement declaring the movie “an act of war”.

The statement threatened the US with a “resolute and merciless response” unless the film was banned, saying the screening of such a movie “that portrays an attack on our top leadership” was “absolutely intolerable”. Nothing came of the threats at that time, however.

When did the campaign against the film step up?

Sony Hack AP / Press Association Images AP / Press Association Images / Press Association Images

Over the past few weeks, Sony has been the subject of a vicious cyber attack – several unreleased films as well as personal emails from actors and company executives were leaked. Many noted that the time of the hacks came very close to The Interview’s Christmas Day release date.

North Korea denied any involvement in the hack, but praised it as a “righteous deed”.

Why did they decide to pull the film completely?

On Tuesday night, the group that claims to be behind the Sony hacks, the Guardians of the Peace, released a message that threatened attacks on any cinemas that screened The Interview.

Remember the 11th of September 2001. We recommend you to keep yourself distant from places at that time. Whatever comes in the coming days is called by the greed of Sony Pictures Entertainment.

Cinema chains around the US pulled the film, the New York premiere was cancelled, and Rogen and Franco ceased publicity for the film.

Last night, Sony announced that because cinemas chose not to screen it, the film would not be getting any sort of theatrical release.

How is everyone feeling about this?

Hollywood is very angry that Sony chose to pull The Interview. Celebrities have been tweeting their disappointment, and throwing around the phrases “freedom of speech” and “un-American act of cowardice” a lot.

So far, neither Franco nor Rogen have commented on the furore.

According to the BBC, the US government are considering a range of options on how to respond to the attack. A statement from the National Security Council said that the FBI were leading an investigation:

We know that criminals and foreign countries regularly seek to gain access to government and private sector networks – both in the United States and elsewhere. We take very seriously any attempt to threaten or limit artists’ freedom of speech or of expression.

As of yet, it is not known whether Sony will choose to release the film on DVD or Video On Demand.

Previously: Hackers have scared Hollywood into not releasing Seth Rogen’s new North Korea film>

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