North Korea Threatens War Over “The Interview”
by Katrina Jorgensen
It sounds like a scene right out of Team America: World Police. A pop culture celebrity show lands an interview with Number One Fan: Dear Leader (Part II), Kim Jong-un. Which turns into a super-secret assassination plot to take out the world’s most evil dictator.
This is actually the plot of upcoming action-comedy movie The Interview, directed by Seth Rogen. It stars Rogen and James Franco taking on the ridiculous task of killing a world leader. Instant American classic–even without any puppets.
But the humor of the movie seems to be lost the Great Successor. Apparently, someone on Kim Jong-un’s staff has an internet connection and managed to watch the trailer. In response, a government official called the movie “a wanton act of war” and threatened a “merciless” retaliation on the U.S. (Not that this is anything new, threats of nuclear attack come from North Korea at least once a quarter.)
When America shrugged its rhetorical shoulders, North Korea took its grievances to the United Nations and launched a formal complaint. North Korea’s UN envoy Ja Song-Nam wrote that the U.S. allowing the movie in theaters was “the most undisguised sponsoring of terrorism as well as a war action.” The UN has yet to comment on the letter. (Also no surprise since just last month they threatened anyone involved in a UN human rights probe into North Korea.)
In a final appeal to more deaf ears, last week Pyongyang sent a letter directly to President Obama to stop the movie. The letter called the comedy insulting to the Supreme Leader. The White House hasn’t issued a formal response, but I doubt Obama cares much about insulting Kim Jong-un since the North Korean media has called him a “crossbred” and “monkey”.
Columbia Pictures has no intentions shutting down The Interview. Rogen has said in multiple interviews that he appreciates the publicity.
— Seth Rogen (@Sethrogen) June 20, 2014
Rogen said he expected some blowback from North Korea but not until after it hit theaters.
People don’t usually wanna kill me for one of my movies until after they’ve paid 12 bucks for it. Hiyooooo!!!
— Seth Rogen (@Sethrogen) June 25, 2014
Instead, the movie has garnered international attention.
Which is great: satire still counts as societal commentary. By poking fun at the ridiculous North Korean regime, human rights advocates get a chance to spotlight the terrible lives of Koreans trapped inside this isolated country. Let’s not forget, Pyongyang doesn’t just threaten comedic Hollywood producers, they have at least 3 Americans hostages, have threatened the world with nuclear weapons, and prevent all forms of information from reaching North Korean citizens. Kim Jong-un is such a bad guy, the UN compared him to the Nazis.
Personally, Kim Jong-un’s condemnation of this movie only makes me only want to see it more. It hits American theaters on October 14th, promising slapstick humor, CIA “strategery” and plenty of MURICA-moments. I count it as a small US victory over the abusive nonsense of North Korea. Plus, we can assume this is one thing King Jong-un won’t be looking at. (Suggested reading: for some serious insight into North Korea, I highly recommend The Cleanest Race.)