The film, in which Rogen and James Franco play a pair of journalists who are sent to assassinate North Korea’s leader, has been called “an act of war” by North Korean authorities, AFP reports. The North Korean regime threatens a “resolute and merciless response”, if the film is not banned.
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Could Seth Rogen and James Franco start a war between North Korea and the US? That’s what Kim Jong-un’s regime seems to imply in a recent statement, calling the duo’s upcoming film an “act of war.”
The trailer for “The Interview” makes the plot pretty clear within about 30 seconds: “This fall James Franco and Seth Rogen will attempt to assassinate Kim Jong-un.”
The film, slated for release in October, stars Rogen and Franco as a lightweight TV host and his producer who are invited to interview the North Korean leader, and are subsequently recruited by the CIA to assassinate him.
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“Wanna go kill Kim Jong-un?” Franco’s character asks in the trailer. “Totally. I’d love to assassinate Kim Jong-un – it’s a date, ” Rogen’s character replies.
But while Americans might find the funnymen’s irreverent humor entertaining, Pyongyang isn’t laughing. In a statement carried by North Korea’s official KCNA news agency and cited by AFP, the regime has gone as far as promising “a merciless” retaliation against the United States if the film is released.
“The act of making and screening such a movie that portrays the attack on our top leadership is the most blatant act of terrorism and war and will absolutely not be tolerated”, a North Korean foreign ministry spokesman was quoted as saying.
“If the US administration allows and defends the showing of the film, a resolute and merciless counter-measure will be taken, ” he reportedly added.
The response comes days after Kim Myong Chol, executive director of The Centre for North Korea-U.S. Peace and an “unofficial spokesman” for the regime, also denounced the film.
“There is a special irony in this storyline as it shows the desperation of the U.S. government and American society, ” Kim Myong Chol said. “A film about the assassination of a foreign leader mirrors what the U.S. has done in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and Ukraine. And let us not forget who killed Kennedy — Americans. In fact, President Obama should be careful in case the U.S. military wants to kill him as well.”
He also said North Korea’s leader would probably see the film, leading to this response from Rogen on Twitter: “Apparently Kim Jong Un plans on watching #TheInterview. I hope he likes it!!”
Yesterday, after hearing the official North Korean statement, Rogen, who is also one of the directors of “The Interview”, again took to Twitter and wrote: “People don’t usually wanna kill me for one of my movies until after they’ve paid 12 bucks for it.”
The film is set to be released on October 13.
Seth Rogen began a career in entertainment as a teenager, performing as a stand-up comedian, and eventually winning the Vancouver Amateur Comedy Contest in 1998.
Rogen left his native Vancouver to move to Los Angeles, where – after working on a few ill-fated TV series (including Judd Apatow’s “Freaks and Geeks”, which has since earned a cult following) – he began to pick up jobs as a staff writer, with his first major Hollywood success being nominated with other staff writers for an Emmy award for their work on the final season of the “Da Ali G Show”.
Apart from his attributes as an actor and screenwriter, Rogen is also a particularly talented voice actor, having worked on the films “Horton Hears a Who!”, “Kung Fu Panda”, “Monsters vs. Aliens” and “Paul”.
James Franco‘s first prominent role was the lead part of Daniel Desario, on the short-lived cult teen comedy-drama series “Freaks and Geeks”, alongside fellow-newcomer Seth Rogen. He achieved recognition in 2001, with his portrayal of James Dean in a made for TV biopic on the life of the actor, a role for which he was awarded a Golden Globe. Franco’s television career continued with him landing a long-running role on “General Hospital”, one of ABC’s most successful soap operas.
Franco made a successful transition to the big screen, starring as Harry Osborn in the Spider-Man trilogy between the years 2002–2007. He went on to appear in a number of box office successes, including “Pineapple Express” and “Milk”, both of which were released in 2008, “127 Hours” the following year, “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” in 2011, with 2013 proving to be his busiest year to date, appearing in three movies – “Oz the Great and Powerful”, “Spring Breakers”, and Rogen & Goldberg’s “This Is the End”.