It seems that Sony is now taking North Korea’s strenuous objections over the upcoming Seth Rogen and James Franco comedy “The Interview,” which is said to feature a faux assassination of the country’s leader, Kim Jong Un, quite seriously. With the nation calling for the movie to banned, stating that the release of the movie is akin to “sponsoring terrorism,” moves are being made to appease North Korean concerns.
THR reports that Sony —which recently pushed back the release date of the film from October to Christmas Day— will be digitally altering scenes from ‘The Interview.’ First, buttons worn by soldiers in the movie honoring Kim Jong Un and Kim Jong Il will be altered, as such images are potentially “blasphemous” to North Koreans. But that change would small potatoes to what may be the biggest edit.
A sequence in which Kim Jong Un’s (Randall Park) face is melted in graphic slow motion may be cut altogether. The studio claims that “the filmmakers are just trying to gauge whether it’s funny,” and that no pressure is coming from Sony Japan, which has an interest in keeping relations with North Korea nominally copacetic, but…c’mon.
Of course, this isn’t the first time Hollywood has gone back to the editing room to prevent offense in different marketplaces overseas. Somewhat ironically, MGM changed the villains in their “Red Dawn” remake to North Koreans from Chinese a few years back, as they feared alienating audiences in the latter country, a global economic powerhouse.
So we’ll see if these cosmetic makeovers will appease North Korea. But clearly the bigger issue is the entire premise of the movie, which minor edits are unlikely to change.