Seth Rogen recalls the controversy surrounding The Interview and details some of the major fallout from the movie in Hollywood. Released in 2014, The Interview stars Rogen and James Franco as two central figures behind “Skylark Tonight,” a celebrity tabloid show. The host and producer duo travel to North Korea to interview Kim Jong-un (Randall Park), a big fan of the show, and are subsequently recruited by the CIA to assassinate him. The Interview stirred up a large amount of controversy upon its announcement and premiere and the film’s wide release was eventually canceled.
In a recent interview with skateboarding personalities Tony Hawke and Jason Ellis on the Hawk vs. Wolf Podcast, Rogen reflects on the major backlash The Interview caused.
The actor recalls that the fallout from the movie resulted in a number of executives being fired, including former Sony Pictures head Amy Pascal. In addition to changing the actor’s perception of what “controversy” really means in the context of Hollywood, he suggests that the movie’s unique release strategy may have had some big repercussions that persist to this day. Check out Rogen’s full comment below:
“At the time, it seemed really bad and really catastrophic. People we knew were getting fired from it. The head of the studio [Sony Pictures Chairperson 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 actually kind of showed the success a movie could have in some ways if it has a full theatrical campaign and then goes directly 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’s wild.
“And it really re-calibrated what I consider to be controversial, which I think is good. A lot people like to think they’re embroiled in some kind of controversy. 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.”
The Interview Controversy & Fallout Explained
Before The Interview was even released, it was making headlines for its absurd premise and potential resulting international repercussions. Sony delayed the movie from its original release date so that further edits could be made to soften the film’s portrayal of North Korea and Kim Jong-un’s graphic death scene was cut down from how it was originally depicted. About a month before The Interview was set to release in theaters, Sony Pictures Entertainment’s computer network was hacked by an anonymous group who called themselves the “Guardians of Peace,” who leaked internal records, emails, and unreleased films as part of an effort to cancel the film’s release.
North Korea denied any involvement with the hack, but the Guardians of Peace continued to release information and even threatened to attack the film’s New York City premiere. Sony subsequently pulled ads for the film, and both Franco and Rogen canceled their planned publicity appearances. While The Interview did ultimately have its premiere in Los Angeles, Sony canceled the movie’s wide release, which earned considerable backlash.
Despite some executives being fired, Rogen’s successful Hollywood career didn’t seem to take too much of a hit due to The Interview. The actor has since kept busy in Hollywood, appearing in movies like The Night Before, The Disaster Artist, and The Fabelmans and executive producing a host of projects, including Prime Video’s hit show, The Boys. Franco, however, has been less active in Hollywood of late due to entirely separate circumstances involving sexual misconduct allegations.
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Source: Hawk vs. Wolf Podcast