Seth Rogen joined Tony Hawk and Jason Ellis on a recent episode of their “Hawk vs. Wolf” podcast and reflected on the “catastrophic” fallout from his 2014 Sony-backed comedy “The Interview.” The film, which starred Rogen and James Franco as Americans tasked by the CIA with assassinating North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un, infamously played a role in the Sony hack, in which data and emails from Sony employees were leaked online. The hackers demanded Sony withdraw “The Interview’s” theatrical release. The studio also faced threats from North Korea, so it opted to skip a nationwide release and debut the film via online digital rentals and purchases.
“At the time, it was really bad and really catastrophic,” Rogen said of the fallout (via The Playlist). “People we knew were getting fired from it. The head of the studio [Sony Pictures head Amy Pascal] was essentially fired from it. It really caused seismic shifts in Hollywood at the time, and I think how business was done in some ways…It kind of showed the success a movie could have in some ways if it has a full theatrical campaign and then immediately go to streaming. It streamed on Google, and I think it’s still the biggest movie that’s ever streamed on Google, which is crazy. Students come up to me and say they’re teaching it in their university class. It was wild.”
Rogen said the fallout also “re-calibrated what I think is controversial,” adding, “After that, I was like, now I know what it’s like. Unless the president is giving news conferences about it, that’s controversy. If someone is getting mad about it on social media, that’s not controversy. Having like the U.N. have to make a statement about it, that’s a controversy.”
“What’s crazy is now it’s on television,” Rogen concluded. “It’s on FX at 2 p.m. It was at one point the most controversial thing in the world, and now I’ll be flipping channels on a Sunday afternoon, and it’s just playing. I was worried maybe it would cause some longer-lasting fallout than it did.”
Rogen has been making the press rounds for months now in support of his role in Steven Spielberg’s “The Fabelmans,” which is nominated for seven Academy Awards.