The Interview is writer/director/actor Seth Rogen’s latest movie, a spoof on spy films of the James Bond brand — only 007 never sparked an offscreen international incident like this one. Rogen, along with his co-star James Franco, have ticked off some top officials in the notoriously hypersensitive North Korean government. In return, North Korea has promised “merciless counter-measures.”
While the movie doesn’t come out until October, the release of the film’s trailer was enough to rankle the North Koreans. Watch it and you’ll instantly see why:
That’s right, this is a comedy about assassinating the leader of a foreign country — one that isn’t exactly on the best terms with the United States.
At first, North Korea took the high road, telling a UK paper on Friday that movies like The Interview make the Americans look desperate. “A film about the assassination of a foreign leader mirrors what the US has done in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and Ukraine. And let us not forget who killed [President John F] Kennedy – Americans,” said a government spokesperson, who added that Kim Jong-un (a Hollywood movie buff by night and dictator by day just like his good old dad) would probably still watch the movie.
But it would seem that over the weekend the North Korean leadership had some time to rethink their position. On Wednesday morning it was reported that they were a whole lot angrier this week than last. The BBC picked up a statement released to a Korean news agency which quoted a government spokesperson threatening 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.”
“If the US administration allows and defends the showing of the film, a merciless counter-measure will be taken,” said the representative.
It’s the kind of statement that might concern someone who is aware of the hostile country’s obsession with nuclear weapons, but not Rogen. In a tweet funnier than his new movie’s trailer, the comedian wrote:
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
Unfortunately, Kim Jong-un isn’t on Twitter yet (hey, we can’t all be early adopters) so we’ll have to wait to see if he responds through more traditional channels. We do know that instead of screening The Interview in October, the supreme leader will probably be hosting a movie marathon starring another spy: “James Bond is a good character and those films are much more enjoyable,” his spokesperson told the Telegraph, and he’s right. Except for the Pierce Brosnan ones — those are terrible.