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21 December 2014

THE INTERVIEW Talking Points


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

To: Weil, Leah, Sony Counsel
From: "Sipkins, Charles", Formerly Sony PR Chief
Subject: Re: The Interview Talking Points
Wed, 25 Jun 2014 17:48:08 -0700
CC: "Guerin, Jean" <Jean_Guerin[at]>, "Wolfson, Aimee" <Aimee_Wolfson[at]>, "Kaplan, Todd" <Todd_Kaplan[at]>, "Sheridan, Alexa" <Alexa_Sheridan[at]>, "Weaver, Keith" <Keith_Weaver[at]>

we should run these by michael, amy and nicole, as well.  

On Jun 25, 2014, at 5:38 PM, Weil, Leah <Leah_Weil[at]> wrote:

See comments from me & Aimee below -  call if you have any questions

From: Guerin, Jean
Sent: Wednesday, June 25, 2014 4:04 PM
To: Weil, Leah; Wolfson, Aimee
Cc: Sipkins, Charles; Kaplan, Todd; Sheridan, Alexa; Weaver, Keith
Subject: The Interview Talking Points

Hi Leah, Aimee,

Given the news cycle out of North Korea on The Interview, we wanted your thoughts on the talking points that were developed for our filmmakers on their first round of interviews.  

Thank you, Jean



In the action-comedy The Interview, Dave Skylark (James Franco) and his producer Aaron Rapoport (Seth Rogen) run the popular celebrity tabloid TV show “Skylark Tonight.” When they discover that North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un is a fan of the show, they land an interview with him in an attempt to legitimize themselves as journalists. As Dave and Aaron prepare to travel to Pyongyang, their plans change when the CIA recruits them, perhaps the two least-qualified men imaginable, to assassinate Kim Jong-un.


·         The film is first and foremost, a comedy

·         It’s as much a skewering of the media and US society as it is of current events or North Korea

·         This is a different kind of movie for us.  It’s definitely an all-out comedy, but we wanted to make a movie that was more sophisticated and smarter

·         Kim Jong-un is such a mysterious figure that he makes an ideal movie character – we could make him anything we wanted


How would you describe this movie?

It’s a comedy about two woefully unprepared guys who land the interview of a lifetime.  One’s the earnest and self-important host of a celebutainment interview show; the other is his loyal and trusted producer who, despite his prestigious journalism degree, yearns to do more meaningful and important journalism.  They get an interview with one of the most dangerous controversial men on Earth and then get recruited by the CIA to assassinate him.  They are maybe the least qualified men on earth to pull off regime change.

Why focus on Kim Jong-un?

It’s a situation ripe for comedy.

Randall, describe the Kim Jong-un you play.

In the movie it’s Kim Jong-un, but I think everybody is also going to realize right away that it’s a movie character – it’s our hilarious imagination of Kim Jong-un.  It had to be that way because nobody in the world knows much anything about the real Kim.  He’s a 31-year-old guy – our age… the leader of a country… and he’s this mysterious figure that we only see bits and pieces of.  Well, that’s a great start for a character! 

Are you worried about repercussions on the world stage?

You give us too much credit.  We did want it to be provocative – but it’s also a big studio comedy that’s designed to make people laugh. 

The situation is North Korea is deadly serious.  Why make a comedy about that?

We have a proud history of using comedy to shine a light on wrongdoing/ tragedy.   That’s what we’re trying to do here.  Whether it’s movies from the past, like Dr. Strangelove or Team America – or current comedies like The Daily Show and Colbert and Veep or what the cast of Saturday Night Live does every week – these are serious subjects, but they’re  can still be great fodder for comedy hilarious.  And the laughs didn’t undermine the seriousness of those subjects.   

What do you hope people take away from this movie?

First, I hope they laugh.  Second, that comedy can be serious business – and that comedy is a perfectly valid way to convey social commentary about on the world, on North Korea, US society, the media, politics – all of these layers.  Third, that these guys Seth Rogen and James Franco should not be in charge of assassinating anybody.

Is this film racist?

No.  We’re calling out the absurdity of jingoism.  When the characters say stupid, racist things, I think it’s pretty clear that we’re not making fun of how other people speak – the joke is how incredibly dumb these two guys are.  And that joke pays off when they get in over their heads in this plot.

But what’s the point of being so offensive?

Ultimately, that’s what the movie is about – how dumb and unevolved these two guys are.  It’s not clear in the movie if the CIA thinks they’re expendable or if this plan is just so crazy that it just might work – and it turns out, they’re perfect for the job, because they don’t care about anybody – just their own success.

Are you releasing this film in Korea/Japan/Asia?

You’ll have to ask the studio about that.

Are there any concerns about the fact that Sony is a Japanese company?  Any pushback from Tokyo on this movie?

You’ll have to ask the studio about that.  (Sony executives talking point: This is a Columbia Pictures release and our parent company has little to no involvement in the creative direction taken.)

Jean Guerin
Senior Vice President, Media Relations
Sony Pictures Entertainment
10202 W Washington Blvd/Jimmy Stewart 111D