Sony Pictures is pushing ahead with plans to debut “The Interview” on Christmas Day despite the possibility that the hacking attack that has devastated the studio’s operations might have been launched in retaliation for the comedy’s release.
The political satire centers on a talkshow host who is recruited by the CIA to assassinate North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un. A Re/Code report Wednesday said that the hackers who have leaked the company’s internal documents and five of its films online have been working in conjunction with North Korea. Earlier this week, a spokesman for the country’s United Nations delegation did not deny its involvement in the attack.
Despite those reports, investigators are also looking into the possibility that Sony has been targeted by a disgruntled former employee and other scenarios.
Regardless of the culprit, Sony is plunging ahead with its promotional plans for “The Interview,” according to an individual with knowledge of the rollout. The film will not be altered to tone down jabs at North Korea, nor will its marketing materials be amended. They currently boast the film is from “The Western Capitalist Pigs Who Brought You ‘Neighbors’ and ‘This Is the End.'” It will retain its Dec. 25 release date.
Star Seth Rogen has already begun doing press for the picture, and he was in Boston this week to plug the movie and to appear on a panel about politics and humor at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. He’s also hosted five screenings across the country in cities like San Francisco and Denver and plans to do more public events.
A spokesman for the actor could not immediately be reached for comment, but CBS Boston reports that Rogen told the crowd at Harvard that he wasn’t worried about North Korea’s threats that it would retaliate, saying, “I would hope they have better things to do.”
Sony is not concerned about needing to offer additional security at events for the film, but remains in touch with the FBI and other law enforcement agencies about any possible threats. North Korea has not attempted to attack someone on U.S. soil, and if it did, it would prompt a major diplomatic incident. Sony has fielded other politically charged movies in the past, such as “Zero Dark Thirty,” so the situation is not alien to the company.
Though several unreleased Sony films such as “Annie” and “Still Alice” were pirated last week as part of the attack, “The Interview” was not among them. The reason for its exclusion is that those films were being held in the studio’s cloud-based DAX system so that they could be accessed in order to make trailers and other promotional items, the individual said. “The Interview” was not being worked on at the time of the attack.