Kim Jong Un-believable? Sony to ‘Amend’ Rogen Film


The-Interview-movieKorea observers no doubt expressed the same disappointment as I did Friday when reading this: “Sony Will Amend Seth Rogen’s The Interview After North Korean Threats.” I’ve been looking forward to a lampooning of the 30ish dictator. He’s got an interest in popular culture that ensures his attention to the movie.

Quick no-spoiler synopsis: The CIA recruits two journalists (Rogen & James Franco) that landed an interview with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un. Their mission: kill Kim. 

I’m actually more bummed about having to wait until December instead of October for the film. In reality, this is not a U.S. backing off in the face of North Korean bombast. Making the movie is a statement in itself.  It’s more about Japan.

The film’s parent, Sony Japan is where the pressure is likely making an impact. Plenty of sensitive issues plague the Japan-North Korea relationship such as abductees, WWII atrocities, and nuclear ambitions. Living within range of an unstable dictatorship is something the Japanese live with each day.

But I wonder if acquiescing in the face of the usual North Korean tantrums about a film is the right move for Sony. What do members think? I’d be interested to hear from insider Rob Long whether this is as transparent as it seems. 

Addendum: If you’d like a good chuckle, peruse NK’s official English language news service KCNA.  

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  1. user_1029039 Inactive

    Unberievabur. Does he still have his dad’s pantherls?

    • #1
  2. ctlaw Coolidge

    Note to Bibi: Threaten merciless attacks on the MSM in response to the next false accusation of merciless attacks on Gaza. If you are not taken seriously, make actual merciless attack on Gaza and then make the threat against accurate reporting.

    • #2
  3. user_2505 Contributor

    Good call, HerrForce 1: It’s not Sony Entertainment, here in Culver City, CA making this call, it’s the Sony mothership in Tokyo, far more sensitive to domestic pressure than their US branch is. 

    Capitalism is tricky sometimes. Friends in Georgia were disappointed that Hollywood wouldn’t saddle up its 1950s patriotism to make pictures about their fight with Russia in 2008 (to her credit, Sharon Stone went ahead with such a film anyway.) The reason wasn’t any great sympathy for Russia–that ended with Communism in 1991–but the modern day fact of international TV sales. “The Big Bang Theory” and other US hits sell for a lot more money in Russia than in tiny Georgia. It’s not politics; it’s just money. 

    • #3
  4. user_138562 Moderator

    What power does North Korea have to punish Sony?  I can understand how China is able to dictate to Hollywood, since China is a large market for movies and only a certain number of foreign films are allowed to be shown in China each year.  If you get on the wrong side of the government, it’s not just the one offending movie that won’t be allowed into the Chinese market but any movie from that studio, and you may be locked out for several years.  There are probably also a lot of Chinese investors in Hollywood movie studios, and they may obey an order from their government to divest.  But I don’t see how North Korea has any leverage against Sony.

    • #4
  5. user_2505 Contributor

    North Korea has raw leverage against Japan itself, and the Japanese government has many means of pressuring Sony not to rock the boat.

    • #5
  6. user_138562 Moderator

    Gary McVey:

    North Korea has raw leverage against Japan itself, and the Japanese government has many means of pressuring Sony not to rock the boat.

    Does NK have some sort of commercial leverage against Japan, or are we talking about threats of military action?  Is NK a significant importer of Japanese goods?

    By the way, I did go over to KCNA and read as much of Kim Jung Un’s New Years Address as I could take.  It would seem there is a lot of struggling involved in being a North Korean because he sure won’t shut up about the struggle.

    • #6
  7. user_2505 Contributor

    Threats of military action. Japan will fight to protect a freighter, but risking a fight to ensure James Franco’s intellectual freedom strikes them as insane. Most Asian countries expect private business to get in line once a national interest is declared. Sony might suddenly find it hard to get bank credit, hard to sell programs or equipment to NHK, might even discover that their chairman is being audited for the past 30 years on his taxes.

    • #7
  8. Fake John Galt Coolidge
    Fake John Galt

    It will be interesting to see what foreign policy blunders that the administration will blame on this movie.  If a YouTube video can cause an US ambassador to be killed a Seth Rogen film may be enough to excuse accidentally plunging the country into war.

    • #8
  9. Roberto Inactive

    Nothing new under the sun. 

    It calls to mind an article I read years ago in the Washington Post of all places of how the PRC spreads money in academia as well in the press in order to gain favorable coverage and  to silence critics.

    • #9
  10. AIG Inactive

    Similar thing happened with the “Red Dawn” remake. The Chinese invaders were substituted at the last minute for NK invaders, due to Chinese protest. Although, I’m not sure why that would have been the case. I’m sure Chinese ultra-nationalistic audiences would have enjoyed watching their armies invade the US. 

    Fortunately, that was one of the worst movies ever made anyway, so it didn’t matter much.

    • #10
  11. user_494971 Contributor

    Clicked through the link, reading the news stories, looking for a good junction of poor translation and puffed up claims to mock. Then I came across this from the new years address:

    In the seething period of the effort for building a thriving country last year we took the resolute measure of removing the factionalists lurking in the Party. As our Party detected and purged the anti-Party, counterrevolutionary factionalists at an opportune time and with a correct decision, the Party and revolutionary ranks were further consolidated and our single-hearted unity was solidified to the maximum.

    It’s not funny any more. They are sending people to the gulag. They are murdering dissenters and bragging about it. This silly little basket case of a country is evil, and the world should have blown them up years ago.

    • #11
  12. ctlaw Coolidge

    I knew it was too good to be true when I first saw the trailer.

    Note to Sony, here’s how to edit the film to make it friendly to international audiences.

    Have our heroes discover that Israel replaced Kim Jong Un with a double in order to give the Iranians defective bomb plans. Our heroes free the real Kim and get the functioning bomb plans to the Iranians.

    The movie can end with the NK army driving the US forces into the Sea of Japan and Iranian Revolutionary Guard troops parachuting into the ruins of Tel Aviv machine gunning survivors as they land.

    International box office will be at least 5 billion CNY (dollars no longer having value by the time the movie is released).

    • #12
  13. user_1830 Coolidge

    Good points yourself Gary. I do hope when the DVD emerges in 2015 that there’s a deleted scenes track. The trailer (available in the first link above) shows excellent casting. That’s one unbelievably spot-on KJU. As an aside, Rob Long must be busy looking for a fair-trade latte or PBR on his trek eastward.

    • #13
  14. user_2505 Contributor

    PBR? If he’s taking the Rico-friendly southern route, he’s travelling through some states so dry he’ll be lucky to get a PBJ! Good post, HerrForce1.

    ctlaw, copyright your idea at once and get a lawyer to contact the producers of this film series. You’ll end up feeling evil but rich. So when has that ever stopped us?  (I kid, I kid).

    • #14
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