A group of political activists in South Korea reportedly plans to purchase 100.000 copies of The Interview (2014) (with Korean subtitles) and drop DVDs and USB sticks containing the film with balloons over North Korean territory. It is illegal to watch this film (and other foreign media) in North Korea, but a black market exists and many citizens have private access to DVD players and other media players.
On June 25, 2014, North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency condemned the film (without naming it), promising a "merciless" retaliation if the film is released. "Making and releasing a film on a plot to hurt our top-level leadership is the most blatant act of terrorism and war and will absolutely not be tolerated," KCNA said, citing a government spokesman.
In one interview, Seth Rogen stated that he considered, among other unnamed actors, Matt Damon for the role of Dave Skylark before James Franco was cast. Also Brad Pitt was considered for a Role but he declined.
With all the support from politicans and celebrities such as George Clooney, Sean Penn, Michael Moore and even President Barack Obama, Sony Pictures Entertainment decided to release the film on the original release date (December 25th 2014) in select theatres and VOD.
In late 2014, Sony Pictures was the victim of a major hack of their computer systems in which confidential corporate information and several unreleased complete movies were posted for public consumption. Among reams of other information, the budget for this movie was released, revealing (among other things) the film's total cost ($44 million) and the salaries of its stars (including $8.4 million for co-writer, co-director, and co-star Seth Rogen; $6.5 million for co-star James Franco; and $5,000 for Kevin Federline, who made a cameo appearance). There were also line items in the budget for $74,000 for two tigers, their handlers, and special "tiger accommodations," as well as $250 for a "table of weed, coke, pills and panties" (although only $241 of that was spent). The FBI announced it had credible evidence the hack was orchestrated by North Korea in retaliation for the film's storyline, which involves a plot to kill the real North Korean leader, a claim that was quickly denied by the North Korean government.
On December 17, 2014, the film was threatened by a group that calls themselves GOP (Guardians of Peace), the ones behind the Sony hacks. The threat mentioned attacks to any movie theaters that played this film. They also referenced 9/11 in their email. Theater chains like AMC and Regal pulled the film from release, in concern that their customers would not be safe. The next day, December 18, 2014, Sony Pictures announced they would not show the film, and pulled the film from its Christmas wide release date. Sony added they did not have plans to release the film on VOD or DVD. The movie was ultimately released to select theaters and bootleg websites on December 25th.
On December 23, 2014 Seth Rogen announced on Twitter that the film will be released, saying "The people have spoken! Freedom has prevailed! Sony didn't give up! The Interview will be shown at theaters willing to play it on Xmas day!"
Two days after Sony announced the cancelation of The Interview (2014), it was announced that it will eventually be released on different platforms. Bittorrent has been expressing that they would love to be the one that distributes the film as a form of freedom of speech.
When Skylark leaves the restaurant in Pyongyang after Kim's threats, a large, triangular building is visible in the background. This is the Ryugyong Hotel. Construction began in 1987, but was halted with the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, and the hotel remained incomplete and was branded "the worst building in the world". In recent years the exterior has been completed, and the opening is mooted.
For a short while, this was rated with a perfect 10 out of 10. This was due to a number of online petitions to inflate the movie's rating as a protest to those who wished to censor it. However, this rating would not be enough to get it into the IMDb top 250 because the algorithm to calculate this takes many factors into account. After the theatrical and internet release the score dropped significantly.
"The Interview" has been described as the first U.S.-made film dealing with an assassination attempt against a real-life world leader who was in power when the movie was made. It is not. In 1941 Fritz Lang, who had fled the Nazis when they took power in Germany, made "Man Hunt," about a British hunter (Walter Pidgeon) who attempts to assassinate Adolf Hitler. When that film was made the U.S. was not yet at war with Hitler's Germany.
The movie features a tank that was a gift to Kim Il Sung from Stalin. In fact, the Soviet T-34 tanks that were used to defeat the Japanese in northern Korea in World War Two became Kim Il Sung's property when Soviet troops left. They gave the Communists a decisive edge when war broke out, allowing the North to overrun most of the South.
During the scene where Aaron and Dave are leaving North Korea the song "Winds of Change" by the German group The Scorpions is playing. This song was recorded in 1990 and was influenced by the anti communist revolution and the fall of the Berlin Wall in November of 1989.
The scene, where the kids are playing their guitars, show a strong reference to a YouTube-video, where North Korean kids are playing almost the same way: too big guitars, smiles, excellent techniques and even the dress up. Kids are trained to perform for their Leader in an early age.
The Jeeps used by the Korean People's Army near the end of the movie are Volkswagen Type 183 'Iltis', a vehicle which used to be in service with the armed forces of Belgium, Canada and Germany during the 1980's.
The second exterior shot of the supposedly Chinese train shows a Swiss train: The livery of both engine and cars is clearly the same and the large double arrow logotype of the Swiss federal railways can also be recognized on the side of the engine despite the motion blur.
The aircraft (21.9 years old Boeing 747-400) Aaron flew to China for the first time carries a fictional livery which is similar with "Air China". Maybe the producers didn't get the permission to use Air China's image. They used the fictional "Zhangzhou Air" airliner name which is a misspell of "ZhengZhou Air". Zhengzhou is the city where Foxconn assemble iPhone for Apple.
The finale of the movie is completely foreshadowed by Dave Skylark (James Franco) early in the film when he's discussing his vision of how the assassination would go. He predicted that he would take a bullet in his bullet proof vest, they would escape into a secret tunnel, and eventually be brought home by "Seal team 6" on a zodiac, wrapped up in blankets. James Franco does the same thing in The End.