“The Interview” Sparks Controversy

Just weeks before the scheduled release date of Sony Pictures’ “The Interview,” a fictional tale following two journalists who land an interview with North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Un, Sony’s network was reportedly hacked.
The FBI believes the incident to have been led by an anonymous group identified as the “Guardians of Peace,” which is thought to have strong ties to North Korea, according to an online Nextgov article.

Several Boston Globe articles have said multiple threats have been reported. The first was in June 2014 when North Korea threatened “merciless” action against Columbia Pictures. The prompted the release to be moved from Oct. 12 to Dec. 25, with edited content thought to be less offensive to the North Korean government.

In Nov., the Sony Network was hacked and information previously collected from servers was leaked on the web. Though rumors soon surfaced of the possibility that Sony hacked their own network to ensure more publicity toward the movie, it is currently believed North Korea was behind it.

The film, now available for purchase online and On Demand, features the Hollywood stars James Franco and Seth Rogen. It is the second work of Evan Goldberg and Rogen, following the release of “This is the End” in 2013.

The movie is a comedy which follows Dave Skylark (Franco) and Aaron Rapoport (Rogen) in their CIA-sponsored trip to North Korea after getting permission to conduct an interview with Kim for their talk show “Skylark Tonight.” After learning the two will have direct contact with Kim, the CIA asks them to assassinate him in order to prevent the government from launching nuclear warheads.

Once Skylark and Rapoport arrive in North Korea, Skylark becomes fast-friends with Kim. The CIA warns him by saying Kim is “a master at manipulating the media,” which Skylark immediately excuses.

According to history teacher Debbie Brown, the North Korean government reacted too harshly to the production of the movie.

“We live in a country where you find people disrespecting our own president on ‘Saturday Night Live.’ Any person is up for public ridicule,” Brown said. “I feel like they are trying to bully the American country and I don’t think we should let them do that.”

Senior Katherine Alcober watched the film after hearing about the controversy and said she thinks many others did the same.

“I wanted to watch it because it was banned and that caught my attention,” Alcober said. “It has sparked up a lot of controversy.”

According to Alcober, the movie, though intended to be a comedy, had several parts which revealed a perspective often covered up by the media.

“It was kind of insightful,” Alcober said. “I think they had every right to be mad.”

According to Brown, there was some debate about whether Sony was going to release the film. The film was released as planned, but many theaters refused to show it, taking precautions against proposed attack.

“I realize I don’t know everything that happened, but by not showing it, it proved to the Koreans that they can cyber-attack us,” Brown said. “It does show weakness in a way.”

According to The Los Angeles Times, “The Interview” made over $15 million in sales within the first four days of its release, making it Sony’s most successful online movie.

“I think they [the North Korean government] were ridiculous,” Brown said. “What they did makes me want everyone to go see it, just to spite North Korea.”