In the wake of the massive hack of Sony as the studio prepares to open its controversial comedy The Interview, star and co-writer Seth Rogen said he’s wondering how much he should “try to insert something that is a little bit above garbage” into his movies.
This in response to a question from George Stephanopoulos as to whether he, like the talk show producer he plays in the movie, is thinking about doing something “more serious” in the wake of the controversy that’s erupted over The Interview.
A group calling itself Guardians of Peace has claimed responsibility for the hack, which it says is in retaliation for Rogen’s movie about a talk show host (James Franco) and his producer who are asked by the CIA to assassinate North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un. The group claims to have stolen 100 terabytes of data from Sony servers (10 terabytes can hold the entire printed collection of the Library of Congress). Among the embarrassing emails, Sony exec Amy Pascal and producer Scott Rudin have apologized for remarks they made about President Obama.
Rogen told Stephanopoulos he does not regret making the movie and that it’s the responsibility of others “who are much smarter than me” to have analyzed the possible blowback. His job, he said in the interview ABC ran this morning on Good Morning America, is to make people laugh.
That said, his movie character closely reflects his current thinking. When asked, “How close are you to this producer” and if he was now thinking about doing “something more serious,” Rogen responded:
“The conversation our characters are having in the movie is the conversation me and the people I work with do have — which is, although the public clearly has an appetite for garbage, how much of that garbage should you provide them with? And how much should you try to insert something that is a little bit above garbage in your garbage?”
Last night, web site Gawker posted video of the death scene that has Sony honchos’ undies in a bunch — and, reportedly, those of North Korean officials. The video clip is among the information the GOP hackers have released to the public via BitTorrent.
Rogen said he wished more North Koreans could see the movie.
“It would be really interesting. I wonder what a north Korean citizen would think of the movie. And, they are not bad. They are the victims of horrible situations. Part of me thinks they themselves would really enjoy the movie.”
The interview airs one day after Aaron Sorkin — writer of several Rudin-produced projects including HBO’s just-concluded series The Newsroom, the film Social Network and a planned Steve Jobs movie — published an Op-Ed column in the New York Times accusing journalists of abetting criminals in disseminating stolen information. It also comes a day after Sony, via litigator David Boies, sent a letter to news organizations — including ABC News — demanding they delete any stolen information they have been given by the hackers and warning against continued use of stolen information.
“I don’t know if the hacking honestly is because of our movie, definitively or not,” Rogen hedged in the interview, explaining his movie is “very silly and wasn’t meant to be controversial in any way” and insisting he never could have forecast this kind of reaction. He made those comments two weeks after the Los Angeles Times published an interview in which he said “there was a lot of high-fiving” and “it was exciting” at his office the day a spokesman for North Korea’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs declared the film tantamount to “an act of war” and threatened “a decisive and merciless countermeasure” if the U.S. government allowed it to hit theaters.
(North Korean officials have said their government is not responsible for the hacking, though one top official has called it “a righteous deed of the supporters and sympathizers with” North Korea.)
“At this point, it’s too late to have any [second thoughts],” Rogen told Stephanopoulos of the movie. “I mean, no, I think again, I like the movie. I can’t in my head over connect everything surrounding it with the movie itself. “