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The Interview (2014) Poster

(II) (2014)

Trivia

Jump to: Cameo (1)  | Spoilers (6)
A group of political activists in South Korea, reportedly planned to purchase one hundred thousand copies of The Interview (2014) (with Korean subtitles) and drop DVDs and U.S.B. sticks containing the film, with balloons over North Korea. It is illegal to watch this film (and other foreign media, except from China and Vietnam) in North Korea, but a black market exists, and many citizens have private access to DVD players and other media.
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The line above the movie title translates as "Please do not believe these ignorant dishonorable Americans!"
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Kim Jong-un speaks English conversationally, as portrayed in the film, having attended English-language schools in Switzerland for several years while a teenager.
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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 of December 25, 2014 in select theaters and Video-On-Demand.
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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.
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The mine shaft, used in the movie, is located in Vancouver, British Columbia, and is where Seth Rogen's father used to take him as a kid on weekends.
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Randall Park gained fifteen pounds, and had his hair cut like Kim Jong-un, in preparation for the role.
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This film marks the sixth collaboration between Seth Rogen and James Franco.
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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 (forty-four million dollars) and the salaries of its stars (including 8.4 million dollars for co-Writer, co-Director, and co-star Seth Rogen; 6.5 million dollars for co-star James Franco; and five thousand dollars for Kevin Federline, who made a cameo appearance). There were also line items in the budget for seventy-four thousand dollars for two tigers, their handlers, and special "tiger accommodations", as well as two hundred fifty dollars for a "table of weed, coke, pills, and panties" (although only two hundred forty-one dollars of that was spent). The F.B.I. 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.
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During the "Eat the Steak" scene, Dave Skylark (James Franco) is intentionally dressed like The Joker from Batman comics.
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The opening logo for this film is not the usual, present Columbia Pictures logo, instead it's the 1960s Columbia that was used.
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The puppy is a Cavalier King Charles spaniel. Seth Rogen's dog Zelda plays the grown up version at the end.
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Seth Rogen and James Franco shot a parody of Kanye West's "Bound 2" music video on-set during filming.
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Eminem wrote his own lyrics for the rap in his interview.
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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 e-mail. 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, Video-On-Demand, and bootleg websites on December 25, 2014.
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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.
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This 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 (1941), 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 Germany.
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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!"
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When Sony was faced with an enormous backlash over their decision to cancel any release of the film after the hack and threats from North Korea, the first call that the company's leadership made, was to Google. The reason was that they wanted to find a platform to re-start the release that would not be susceptible to cyber-attacks, and felt Google could fit that bill. The Internet giant immediately agreed to put the film on their streaming services, and ignored angry North Korean threats. Soon afterwards, many other major online providers did the same thing, and the film began doing serious business right away.
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On December 19, 2014, the F.B.I. officially named the North Korean government as being responsible for the Sony hack a few weeks earlier.
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Evan Goldberg came up with the idea back when Jong-Il Kim ran the country.
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The Russian text on the tank ("Pan ili propal") literally means "Lord or doomed", a Slavic saying with the meaning "All or Nothing".
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The song playing, while Aaron Rapaport (Seth Rogen) travels to China, is by Taiwanese singer and actor Jay Chou, who acted alongside Rogen in The Green Hornet (2011).
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When Skylark leaves the restaurant in Pyongyang, North Korea, 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.
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Two days after Sony announced the cancellation of this movie, 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.
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The movie features a tank that was a gift to Kim Il-sung from Joseph Stalin. In fact, the Soviet T-34 tanks that were used to defeat the Japanese in North Korea, in World War II, 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.
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The end credits song is a jazzy version of the song the kids are playing on the guitars earlier in the film, written by Lyle Workman.
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For a short while, this was rated with a perfect ten out of ten. This was due to several 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.
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The film was originally about Jong-Il Kim, but the project was put on hold until he died, and the film was about his son, Kim Jong-un, who was chosen when Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg realized that he was closer to their age.
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The scene, where the kids are playing their guitars, shows 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.
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The character of Dave Skylark was partially based on the way Franco's character was originally written for This Is the End (2013).
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Randall Park was the first to audition for the role of Kim, and got the part immediately. Before filming began, Park gained fifteen pounds and cut his hair to resemble Jong-un's crew cut.
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Starting on December 24, 2014, the film became available on Google Play, YouTube Movies, Microsoft's Xbox Video, and the website seetheinterview.com.
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Leaked memos from Sony, reveal that the studio was extremely antsy about the film, claiming the movie was "Desperately unfunny". The executives also felt that the plot was inflammatory and inappropriate, and that the frequent use of violence would be off-putting for most audiences. There was also the fact that very few foreign markets wanted to touch the movie, with reasons ranging from the touchy subject matter, to the fact that Seth Rogen apparently has very little appeal outside of the United States.
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According to co-Writer Dan Sterling, there was a scene involving Aaron (Seth Rogen) getting his rectum inspected by guards and dogs, having the supply container replaced with salami.
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Rob Lowe and Eminem both make cameos in this film. Ben Schwartz who plays Eminem's Producer, also worked with Rob Lowe in Parks and Recreation (2009).
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During the scene where Aaron and Dave are leaving North Korea, the song "Winds of Change" by 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 1989.
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Seth Meyers' cameo was shot during post-production, since his talk show debuted a few months after this movie's principal photography.
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The battle scene toward the end (referred to as the "Hitler in a bunker" scene by cast in crew) was shot in one day. "It was very complicated," according to Seth Rogen.
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In the scene where the young afroed Air Force pilot sits down to fly the drone, he has a paused video game on the screen along with Vivid's website.
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Seth Rogen predicted that the film would make its way to North Korea, stating that "we were told one of the reasons they're so against the movie, is that they're afraid it'll actually get into North Korea. They do have bootlegs and stuff. Maybe the tapes will make their way to North Korea and cause a revolution."
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The basic idea for the movie came about from reading articles about people like Mike Wallace interviewing Osama bin Laden, and hearing that Saddam Hussein was a fan of Western movies.
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James Franco says "mangiare, mangiare mangiare",which means "eat" in Italian. This is a reference to the movie Salò, or the 120 Days of Sodom (1975).
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Initially, Dan Sterling wrote the script based on a fake dictator from a fake country, but Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg, and Sony executives asked him to re-write the script, focusing on Kim Jong-un.
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In Pineapple Express (2008), James Franco throws Seth Rogen's cell phone at a tree in an attempt to break it. He is successful in doing so in this film.
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On December 23, Alamo Drafthouse Cinemas and Sony Pictures confirmed that they will be releasing the movie on Christmas day as planned, threats or no threats.
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The crew came up with the storage closet joke on the spot as they were about to film.
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The utility vehicles 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 1980s.
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There are hundreds of visual effects in the film; a crowd scene at the Pyongyang airport, for example, was digitally manipulated with a shot from 22 Jump Street (2014).
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The team behind the film arranged a licensing deal with Vice (2013), so that they could use the B-roll footage the outlet accumulated while in North Korea working on their HBO series, Vice (2013).
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Seth Rogen's character, in the film, is named Aaron. In real-life, Rogen's middle name is Aaron.
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The film became available to stream on Netflix before the film was released on DVD and Blu-ray.
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Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg came up with the idea for the movie before the friendship between Dennis Rodman and Kim Jong-un developed.
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Kim Jong-nam, Kim Jong-un's older half-brother, was assassinated in February 2017. Preliminary autopsy shows death due to a chemical weapon, one that is passed through the skin, as the one used in this movie. VX is an odorless substance that can exist as liquid or gas. It was believed it was administered by two women touching his face at Kuala Lumpur International Airport. He died before arriving at the hospital.
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The fiasco caused a FOX subsidiary to cancel plans to adapt Pyongyang, a French-Canadian graphic novel based on Guy Delisle's experiences in North Korea, starring Steve Carell and directed by Gore Verbinski. Pyongyang most likely would not have warranted a response from this level from North Korea, but the film was still cancelled as a precaution. Now that this has been film released, it's possible Pyongyang may re-enter production at some point in the future.
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The name of the puppy that Kim Jong-un gave to Dave, named Digby, was a reference to Digby, the Biggest Dog in the World (1973), the story of a giant sheepdog.
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Lizzy Caplan played a small role in television show Freaks and Geeks (1999), alongside James Franco and Seth Rogen.
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The second film directed by Evan Goldberg and Seth Rogen.
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According to documents, Jay Z and Beyoncé were reportedly paid ten thousand dollars each to cameo, but do not appear in the final cut.
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Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg researched meticulously, by reading non-fiction books and watching video footage about North Korea. The script was later reviewed by an employee in the State Department.
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The aircraft (twenty-two year 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.
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Certain elements of the film were edited in post-production, to be less offensive to North Korea, such as the removal of certain attributes to their military uniform, and Kim Jong-un's death being somewhat censored.
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Lizzy Caplan and James Franco also appeared in 127 Hours (2010).
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Seth Rogen describes the character of Dave Skylark as "Oprah Winfrey meets Ryan Seacrest, but amped up fuc-king crazy."
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Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg wrote the script for places they knew existed in Vancouver, having grown up there, using locations as stand-ins for Beijing, China, Pyongyang, North Korea, and New York City.
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Randall Park (Kim Jong-un) is the actor from the Verizon commercial "Always There". He also had a small role in Neighbors (2014), also starring Seth Rogen.
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In this movie, these twenty-two real-life stars, celebrities and historical figures are mentioned: Eminem, Rob Lowe, Bill Maher, Spike Lee, Adolf Hitler, Osama bin Laden, Matthew McConaughey, Katy Perry, Ron Howard, Kim Jong-un, Jong-Il Kim, John Kerry, Richard Nixon, David Frost, Nicki Minaj, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Joseph Stalin, former President Barack Obama, Sylvester Stallone, Miley Cyrus, Michael Jordan, Emma Stone and Ellen DeGeneres.
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On December 24, 2014, the movie was released (for a fee) via YouTube, Google Play, Xbox Live, and a Sony website, as well as in movie theaters nationwide, despite the controversy concerning the release of the movie and its story.
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Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg started seriously talking about making the movie during the making of This Is the End (2013).
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Kim Jong-un (Randall Park) isn't introduced until around the fifty minute mark.
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On December 25, 2014, this movie was released on Google Play for rental ($5.99) and purchase ($14.99).
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Dan Sterling was hired to write the final screenplay, as opposed to having Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg writing it themselves. Sterling brought a lot of research to the film, and also created a parallel between the characters of Skylark and Kim Jong-un.
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The Alamo Drafthouse independent theater chain in Texas announced they were going to air Team America: World Police (2004) in their theaters (for free) in place of the movie's premiere being cancelled. Then Paramount Pictures pulled the plug on that. Said theater announced showings of this film shortly after Sony agreed on the release.
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On December 10th, Sony Pictures Entertainment Japan announced that the film would not be released in Japan, as live-action comedies do not often perform well in the market. In the Asia-Pacific region, the film would be released only in Australia and New Zealand.
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This movie was planned to have a Christmas 2014 release for theaters, which got cancelled. Instead, it got a theatrical release that was severely limited, that occurred simultaneously with a digital release.
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James Franco's character's name is Dave Skylark. In real-life, James has a younger brother named Dave, who has also had a successful acting career.
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Kim Jong-un's favorite show was The Big Bang Theory (2007), besides Dave's show.
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American Humane Association monitored the animal action. No animals were harmed ®. (AHAD 04470)
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The film is based more on political thrillers than action comedies, with Seth Rogen citing Ridley Scott and Michael Mann movies as influences.
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The film has two Academy Award winners: Eminem and Emma Stone; and one Academy Award nominee: James Franco.
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Lizzy Caplan appeared with James Franco's brother, Dave, in Now You See Me 2 (2016).
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Scenes for Hong Kong filmed in Squamish, British Columbia, feature The Chief and the Howe Sound.
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Cameo 

Joseph Gordon-Levitt: In the scene with all the puppies.
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Spoilers 

The trivia items below may give away important plot points.

Skylark's bonding with Kim Jong-un, is based on former basketball player Dennis Rodman, who traveled to North Korea to host basketball exhibitions, and befriended Kim.
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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 S.E.A.L. Team Six on a zodiac, wrapped up in blankets. James Franco's character in This Is the End (2013) did the same thing, where he gave away the ending earlier in the movie.
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At the end of the movie, Dave names his tell-all book "An Unexpected Journey". This is an homage to his love of The Hobbit and The Lord Of The Rings.
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When Kim Jong-un is cursing in Korean after being told Skylark is alive, he says the Korean word for "girl" (nyun) rather than the word for "boy" (nom).
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When Kim Jong-un's helicopter blows up in slow motion, it's a reference to Katy Perry's music video "Firework", the song, of which Dave and Kim listened, in the tank.
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The story is, more or less, the plot that James Franco and Seth Rogen discuss for a Pineapple Express (2008) sequel in This Is the End (2013). In that proposed idea, Red hires Dale and Saul to kill Woody Harrelson, because he's hurting Red's drug trade. In both movies, Franco's character correctly guesses his fate.
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See also

Goofs | Crazy Credits | Quotes | Alternate Versions | Connections | Soundtracks

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