‘Interview’ premier calm despite political storm, Sony hacking scandal
All was calm on Thursday at the Los Angeles premiere of Sony Pictures’ parody film “The Interview,” which had been in the spotlight for sparking tension with North Korea and potentially prompting a major cyber hack on the company.
Stars Seth Rogen and James Franco posed on a small red carpet restricted to photographers as Sony reined in media access after the film made headlines following a devastating security breach that leaked films, data and emails.
“I’m not getting involved in all of that,” the film’s co-writer and co-director Evan Goldberg said with a laugh, when asked about the film’s international impact.
He said he and Rogen are already busy working on their next projects, including a TV show and an animated comedy film, and would host a few press opportunities in New York next week for “The Interview.”
Sony Pictures Entertainment, a unit of Japan’s Sony Corp, was the target of a massive cyber attack that became public on Nov. 24, when unidentified hackers released a trove of internal company data and emails.
People close to the investigation have told Reuters that North Korea is a principal suspect in the hack, but a North Korean diplomat has denied his nation was involved. Pyongyang condemned the film in June.
Goldberg, Rogen and Franco mingled with guests at the pre-screening party. Sony Pictures Co-Chairman Amy Pascal, who apologized on Thursday for racially insensitive remarks about President Barack Obama in leaked emails, said at the premiere she was “doing good,” and hugged Goldberg.
In interviews with industry publications, including Deadline Hollywood, Pascal defended the studio’s decision to make Rogen and Goldberg’s comedy.
“No one will tell us what movies to release, ever,” she said. “Nobody should be able to intimidate a company.”
According to emails dating from August through October and obtained by Reuters, Sony Corp. Chief Executive Kazuo Hirai ordered Pascal to tone down the film after Pyongyang denounced it for depicting the assassination of Kim Jong Un.
Rogen agreed to small changes, but objected to requests to modify the death scene, feeling that would diminish the humor and also be viewed as censorship and hurt sales.
“This is now a story of Americans changing their movie to make North Koreans happy,” he said in an Aug. 15 email. “That is a very damning story.”
(Reporting by Piya Sinha-Roy; Editing by Curtis Skinner and Clarence Fernandez)