James Franco and Seth Rogen have a tendency to push comedic boundaries in the films they write and feature in, but it’s possible that their upcoming film The Interview may have taken a step too far.
Set to realise in October, the premise of the film revolves around Franco and Rogen’s characters travelling to North Korea as talk show journalists to interview with Kim Jong-un. Before they leave, however, they are recruited by the CIA and secretly have the task of assassinating the “Great Leader”. The trailer features Franco and Rogen speaking into radio watches and joking to each other “Wanna go kill Kim Jong-Un?” “Totally, I’d love to assassinate Kim Jong-un, it’s a date!”
However it seems that North Korea doesn’t take comedy films about their leader and country lightly. News recently broke that a North Korean foreign minister spokesperson from Korean Central News Agency has announced that this film is an “act of war”, saying that “Making and releasing a movie on a plot to hurt our top-level leadership is the most blatant act of terrorism and war and will absolutely not be tolerated” and that “merciless counter-measure will be taken” should the US defend and allow for the release and screening of The Interview. There is currently no formal statement from the US in reply to these statements.
Should these threats be taken seriously? We know that this isn’t the first time North Korea has been mad about an American film appropriating the strict north Korean regime–they apparently tried to ban (to no avail) South Park creator’s Trey Parker and Matt Stone’s film Team America. But we also know that there is evidence of North Korea further developing its missile technology, so maybe Franco and Rogen should be wary of explosions for the next few months. Either way, it doesn’t do any favours to the contemporary western world’s idea that North Korea is some kind of extreme and dangerous place.
Will this escalate into the kidnapping of James Franco and Seth Rogen? Time will only tell. Personally I would take advice from the ever-wise Danny Brown…”If I say they’re underrated they’re gonna bomb me right now! Don’t test them!”
Words by MADELEINE ER a freelance writer who would probably prefer to not be kidnapped by North Koreans, and who you can follow on Twitter.