News came to light recently that the Seth Rogen film The Interview – centred around an assassination plot of North Korean leader King Jong-Un – was going to be pulled by Sony, with many movie theatres unwilling to show it and hackers declaring their vested interests.
The planned release was cancelled after suspected North Korean hackers infiltrated Sony and even threatened to carry out attacks on cinema-goers where the film was screened. It wasn’t all their choice as the big theatre companies had stated their unwillingness to even risk the threats being a reality, forcing Sony’s hand to sideline it.
It would have been a bitter pill to swallow for the corporation, with deadline estimating a 70 million dollar investment in the project. Even worse, though, would have been playing the game of roulette with potential terrorists, of whom you have no real knowledge of their actual intention or ability to launch an assault.
That doesn’t mean the world has taken it lightly. Seth Rogen maintained that he thought the film was ‘really funny’. There’s been Hollywood actors and even the likes of Mitt Romney weighing in, with Romney stating his opinion that the release should go ahead so as not to appease those making threats.
Such a scandal, as is usually the case, will likely ignite the internet masses and make them want to see it even more. Sony have said they have no intention of releasing it in any format, though, and look set to brace up and take the loss on the chin.
Attempts at political satire of infamous world leaders have been a successful part of Western cinema in the past, look at The Dictator and Team America: World Police, for example (though the latter also looks under threat). But this one directly bringing Kim Jong-Un into the limelight as an assassination target means The Interview hasn’t been able to make it past the first hurdle.
It will ask a lot of questions about the freedom of speech and expression in a time when the world is reeling against many threats. It also sets a precedent for those making the demands that they can get what they want. For now it’s one film, but where does it lead us?
Possibly nowhere, but giving them that inch could allow them to push more. It’s about more than people not getting to see a comedy film now, it’s about principle.
“Everyone caved, the hackers won,” said Rob Lowe, and he’s right.