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20 December 2014


Source: GOP file: lweil00.ost/IPMRoot/Root - Mailbox/IPM SUBTREE/Inbox (9204)

To: Weil, Leah, Sony Counsel
From: Weaver, Keith, Executive Vice President, Sony Pictures Entertainment 
Date: 7/14/2014 5:40:47PM
Subject:  THE INTERVIEW / Set Visit Recap

Privileged and confidential

I kept hearing that Seth/Evan were insistent, but perhaps folks were not being forthright with us...


-----Original Message-----
From: Weil, Leah
Sent: Monday, July 14, 2014 2:38 PM
To: Weaver, Keith
Subject: RE: THE INTERVIEW / Set Visit Recap

Privileged and confidential

Sony said make it the real guy??????? -- first I hear of it.  Can that possibly be the case?

-----Original Message-----
From: Weaver, Keith
Sent: Monday, July 14, 2014 2:33 PM
To: Weil, Leah
Subject: FW: THE INTERVIEW / Set Visit Recap

FYI - Also, there is some interest in hiring Glover Park again...   I refrained from engaging on the other troubling areas that fall outside of govt affairs (i.e., stereotypes don't go too far if they are funny...)


-----Original Message-----
From: Weaver, Keith
Sent: Monday, July 14, 2014 2:29 PM
To: Liston, Marisa; Asnaran, Bianca; Guerin, Jean; Kaplan, Todd; Caraco, Andre; Hann, Gloria; Galgani, Angela
Subject: RE: THE INTERVIEW / Set Visit Recap

Hi Marisa,

Thanks for your email.  With respect to the "former CIA" agent and the person who worked for Hilary...  is this tied to their research and what's the exact point of saying this? Gov't types with security clearances opine that there is nothing to be concerned about with the overall film, or plausibility of the plot, or what?  Depending on how this comes up, this can go in any number of directions in terms of how it's interpreted.  

With respect to a Sony exec telling them not to use a fictitious name, I think that's problematic...  There was much discussion on this and a statement like this makes it sound very "Sony"/corp directed versus talent desire... Perhaps we (Sony) were insistent or perhaps it was a consensus, but I think it's a challenge to put the company/our parent company out there this way.

Best regards,

Keith E. Weaver
Executive Vice President, Worldwide Government Affairs Sony Pictures Entertainment
10202 W. Washington Blvd. | Culver City, CA 90232 D. 310.244.2187 | Fax 310.244.2467 | E.


-----Original Message-----
From: Liston, Marisa
Sent: Monday, July 14, 2014 1:14 PM
To: Asnaran, Bianca; Guerin, Jean; Kaplan, Todd; Weaver, Keith; Caraco, Andre; Hann, Gloria; Galgani, Angela
Subject: Re: THE INTERVIEW / Set Visit Recap

Todd and Jean and I'm adding Keith to this:

Please take a moment to read this recap - this is from our online set visit we did w a handful of press in Vancouver when the film was shooting. Most of it is fine, but there are a couple things to note:

They talk about their "extensive research" to get things right re: Korea and the korean people

They mention that it was a sony executive that told them to not use a fictitious name, but to go with kim jong-un

They mention that a former cia agent and someone who used to work for Hilary Clinton looked at the script

this might all be fine, but this is all info that the journalists have at this time.  They are sitting on this set visit coverage until we let them run it - of which we are thinking of doing the week of Aug 18th - to follow up the MTV special on the Aug 17th and the trailer launch on Aug 11th.

We will be looping in Dwight as well before we do anything just want to get everyone thoughts on this...

Additionally on this note - we had a call w Glover Park on Friday and we are hoping Seth/Evan will let us hire them on this film.  They are also in talks w a consultant named Rich Klein - but we all want GPG on this...

Let us know your thoughts on all of this when you have a moment..

----- Original Message -----
From: Asnaran, Bianca
To: Guerin, Jean; Kaplan, Todd
Cc: Liston, Marisa
Sent: Thu Jul 03 13:32:42 2014
Subject: FW: THE INTERVIEW / Set Visit Recap

Here is my recap back in December from the set visit.

-----Original Message-----
From: Asnaran, Bianca
Sent: Tuesday, July 01, 2014 9:48 AM
To: Galgani, Angela; Fradkoff, Seth; Markowitz, Lisa; Gerali, Michael; Neuhauser, Molly; Anderson, Haley; Florentino, April; Gizoni, Christina; Karapetian, Teni; Liston, Marisa

Subject: FW: THE INTERVIEW / Set Visit Recap

Merisa and I are going to bring up on the call today but we want to lift the set visit embargo the week of August 18th after the trailer launch. Here are the notes from the set visit as Randall Park and Diana Bang were interviewed.

-----Original Message-----
From: Asnaran, Bianca
Sent: Tuesday, December 10, 2013 5:02 PM
To: Balsamo, Justin; Caraco, Andre; Cohen, Jared; Crase, Vanessa; Gizoni, Christina; Kaplan, Todd; Zeidan, Ramzy; Zim, Jake; Hann, Gloria; Lovick, Katie; Liston, Marisa; McCotter, Rose; Anderson, Haley; Florentino, April; Gizoni, Christina; Karapetian, Teni; Fradkoff, Seth; Galgani, Angela; Lavie, Merisa; Zaks, Lisa; Gerali, Michael

Cc: Asnaran, Bianca
Subject: THE INTERVIEW / Set Visit Recap

We have wrapped a successful visit on the set of THE INTERVIEW for a group online journalists. We started the day at 8:30AM and headed to set which was an old bike warehouse. It's snowing in Vancouver so while it was quite cold our wonderful unit publicist Lorraine Jamison helped make it as comfortable as possible for everyone. Badges were made in advance for the them with a "Skylark Tonight" logo with their names and outlet printed (sample photo below in an instagram link).

We had a separate room away from the set with a monitor and headsets for the press to observe filming. We weren't able to observe filming directly on set as it was a tight quarters.

The scene the press viewed was between James Franco (David Skylark) and Randall Park (Kim Jong-Un) inside the tank when Kim Jong-Un is trying to seduce David by showing him his cool toys. They get into a very funny discussion about Katy Perry (whom the characters both love) with David singing "Firework" and then Kim Jong-Un asking if drinking margaritas is gay. During the scene, you could hear Seth & Evan feeding James and Randall several lines to say. When Seth mentioned "Roar," you could tell James hadn't heard of the song so couldn't riff on that. Lots of funny stuff with the press laughing out loud.

First up, the press interviewed Seth Rogen, James Franco and Evan Goldberg together. Seth answered most questions with James jumping in several times. Some of the key topics discussed:

STORY IDEA - Seth & Evan came up with the story years ago and then Dan Sterling later wrote the script. Sony Pictures gave the green light once they saw TITE and knew they could direct. They think this whole Dennis Rodman thing has made their movie seem even less far-fetched now even though the script came beforehand. You are always reading about how world leaders are into Western culture and celebrity.

CHARACTERS - James joked that he thinks his character is based on the original character in THIS IS THE END script, a guy in a suit who is selfish. Seth & Evan felt guilty about killing him in TITE so they let him come back in this film (he still thinks he should have gone to heaven by the way). They see David Skylark in the vein of Harvey Levin at TMZ. He is obsessed with celebrity culture. You could also say Oprah meets Ryan Seacrest but amped up. Seth's character Aaron as the producer is slightly smarter, more serious. They are co-dependents in the work place.

DIRECTING TOGETHER - Seth said that you often read that other directing partners trade-off with one person being more visual and the other working more with actors. That's not the case here. One is not more in tune with one over the other. When they have disagreements about what line to use, they will shoot both takes. James called their directing style is liberating, explorative.

JOKES - do they ever worry the jokes go too far and what about Asian stereotypes? They don't think the jokes go too far if they are funny. Once they screen for audiences and the laughs stop then it's not funny and they will cut it if they can. In terms of how North Koreans are represented in the film, they did a ton of research about the real culture, beliefs and behavior so those are represented fairly. Plus in the Americans are represented poorly (Seth and James are Dumb and Dumber).

VANCOUVER SHOOT - what has it been like shooting in their hometown? The film takes place in New York, China and Korea so Vancouver has been a great substitute. They shot in the Chinatown in Richmond and the mountain complexes to sub for Korea.

STYLE - compared to THIS IS THE END this will be quite different. This film from the beginning has a large scope. They are shooting it in the manner of a Ridley Scott or Michael Mann political-thriller using long lenses and tighter shots. They are abandoning how a comedy would normally work which they ultimately think will make it funnier.

POST-THIS IS THE END - when asked if they are more confident as directors now, the guys said not really since this film is so massive. TITE was contained in basically one space so any confidence they had after that film did well doesn't move over to this film since it's such a different film. They are trying to do things you haven't seen before.

Next, the press interviewed Randall Park who plays Kim Jong-Un in the film who was lovely. A few highlights.

RESEARCH - when asked what he's done to ready for the part, he said he has watched THE LAST KING OF SCOTLAND a lot. He also had to change his hair and gained 15 pounds for the role. Originally, he was told he was going to be in a prosthetic but they gave up that idea so he was forced to gain weight quickly.

CHARACTER - he is trying to play his character so he is not one-dimensional. There is a human side to him. They explore what it must be like for someone to have to follow in two generations of leaders, thrust into power. However, his real-life sins are not swept aside especially towards the end.

AUDITION - director Nick Stoller who cast him in a bit part in "Neighbors" (Seth's new movie with Zac Efron) really liked him and pushed Seth & Evan to audition him. He was given the whole script instead of sides. After auditioning, he got a call the next day that he got the part. Nick told him they didn't audition anyone else but he doesn't believe it.

KIM JONG-UN - when asked if he is worried what the real life man will think if he sees this movie and he said not too much. He remembers that Charlie Chaplin played Hitler in "The Dictator" and how Hitler supposedly loved it.

The press then interviewed James Weaver who was his usual friendly and engaging self.

DEVELOPMENT - he remembers Seth said out loud to them one day when watching an interview - why doesn't Dan Rather shoot Saddam in the face? He's right there in front of him. Evan said that was funny and could be a good idea for a movie. He thinks it was around the time of 50/50 and their production company Point Grey had just launched. They pitched the idea to writer Dan Sterling. He loved the idea and wrote the script. Seth and Evan have a story by credit and Dan has a sole writing credit. They loved the script that Dan wrote and it went from there.

STORY - it is easy to make fun of celebrity journalism. They are ripping things from the headlines but also coming up with insane things.

FRANCO - working with him is so great and a dream for comedic directors. He has no fear and will do anything asked of him. James says he loves playing this character and is taking it to the next level.

CAMEOS - James mentioned they are shooting in LA which prompted the question whether they will be shooting celeb cameos. He was coy but did say that is something they are working on.

RELEASE DATE - how did you land on October? Because there are so many R-rated comedies coming out next Summer they wanted to avoid those and open in a less crowded time.

BOUND 3 VIDEO - how did that come about? Seth saw it and they realized it was such an easy idea to copy since it was shot all on green screen. It quickly happened after that.

The press then interviewed writer Dan Sterling who was hilarious and witty (completely different from Seth & Evan). His background is in TV (Daily Show with Jon Stewart, The Office, South Park, Sarah Silverman, Girls).

BACKGROUND - the original script had a fake dictator. While on the set of "Neighbors," a Sony exec said they should make it Kim Jong-Un so they did. Franco wasn't cast when he wrote it but he knew it would be a buddy movie. While "Pineapple Express" was a nod to an '80s action film, this was a nod to a political thriller. He watched "Frost/Nixon" several times.

GREEN LIGHT - Dan was at the WGA Awards last Spring, won an award, ran into Ang Giannetti and she shouted that his movie was happening with Seth & Evan starring. Super funny the way he told it.

RESEARCH - he read the books "Nothing to Envy" and "Escape from Camp 14," the latter being about a survivor from a North Korean concentration camp. Light stuff. VICE Magazine has also been very helpful. They are in the process of licensing b-roll from the VICE TV show to use in the film. A former CIA agent looked over the script and someone who used to work for comer Secretary of State Hilary Clinton read it calling it "disturbing but funny." Dan also referenced watching "The Insider," "Broadcast News," and "Network."

CHARACTERS - both David and Kim are insecure, needing approval which is why they bond in the film.

WORKING WITH SETH & EVAN - is Dan worried that because there is so much improv on set that his words on the page won't make the film? He said that he knew going in that the guys come from the Judd Apatow school where you shoot several takes with different versions of the lines but the storyline and plot points are all there. While he has no control over the improv or final film, he is ok with that. He said Seth & Evan are great about giving credit to him.

VIOLENCE - there will be tons of violence in the film, some intense scenes. It's been weird seeing his words realized in-person.

The press took a quick tour of the sets viewing the partial tank, as well as some of Kim Jong-Un's compound with the propaganda art.

After a quick bite, they interviewed Diana Bang who plays Sook Yong-Rim. There was not much to note from her interview. It was short and sweet.

A couple of press have tweeted about the visit:

Germain Lussier @GermainLussier
Completed a successful day on the set of The Interview with Seth Rogen and James Franco.

Steve Weintraub @colliderfrosty
Laughing my ass off on the set of @sethrogen and @gravytrainevan THE INTERVIEW. Def rated R.

The press on set were:

Katie Hasty/HITFIX.COM
Germain Lussier/SLASHFILM.COM
Maria Salas/TERRA.COM
Steve Weintraub/COLLIDER.COM

Many of the press commented it was a great, efficient visit. They think it's going to be a hilarious movie next year. Please let me know if you have any questions.

Bianca Asnaran
National Publicity
Columbia Pictures / Sony Pictures Entertainment
10202 W. Washington Blvd, JS#103C / Culver City, CA 90232
310.244.8276 o / 310.779.8656 c