For months now, North Korea has been complaining about the upcoming film from Sony Pictures, “The Interview.” Repeated anonymous threats against theaters have resulted in its distribution being cancelled until further notice.
But, according to internal emails leaked by hackers earlier this year, Sony went to the US government for advice on how to handle the subject matter, and what the government told them may have caused the whole mess we have now.
You would expect the State Department to advise against the use of an actual foreign leader in a movie involving an assassination. Instead, the State Department, appears to have given their blessing, even on the gruesome details of North Korean’s spiritual leader, Kim Jong-un’s death as depicted in the film.
The hacking of Sony Pictures, the film’s distributor, was not done by any people affiliated with the reclusive Asian nation according to some official sources. This claim was countered by anonymous US officials who claimed that North Korea ordered the hack in order to prevent the films release.
Regardless of the truth, the hack, performed by a group calling itself the “Guardians of Peace,” did reveal a plethora of confidential emails and information from Sony.
These leaked emails reveal that shortly after the initial voice of concern was given by North Korea, Sony went to Bruce Bennett, from the RAND Corporation (a think tank funded by the US government), to see how serious the concern was. He appears to have dismissed the notion out of hand, telling Sony,
I also thought a bunch more about the ending. I have to admit that the only resolution I can see to the North Korean nuclear and other threats is for the North Korean regime to eventually go away.
In fact, when I have briefed my book on ‘preparing for the possibility of a North Korean collapse’ [Sept 2013], I have been clear that the assassination of Kim Jong-Un is the most likely path to a collapse of the North Korean government. Thus while toning down the ending may reduce the North Korean response, I believe that a story that talks about the removal of the Kim family regime and the creation of a new government by the North Korean people (well, at least the elites) will start some real thinking in South Korea and, I believe, in the North once the DVD leaks into the North (which it almost certainly will). So from a personal perspective, I would personally prefer to leave the ending alone.
The State Department admitted to the email conversations with Sony but played down the content of it. But the email is clear, they wished the movie to stay “as is,” and were hoping to see its use in a wave of anti-Kim propaganda with the intent of having the leader of North Korea, Kim Jong-un assassinated – just as North Koreans had claimed.
The movie did not originally feature North Korea. It was originally going to use a generic nation much like “The Dictator,” so as to make its satirical points and deliver its humor without causing an international incident.
After all, it may appear to be hypocritical when North Korea releases statements about attacking the US by nuclear strike, that the United States is always quick to denounce them.
And typically, they resort to generalized bluster, while this movie was very specific, very real, about its target. Encouraged by the US State Department, the filmmakers created something to-order, something which, as presented in the emails, could be used for propaganda purposes.
It is not hard to see how the despotic nation could view this movie as an effort to eliminate the leadership of the nation, and the implant a more friendly puppet.