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]spe.sony.com>, "Wolfson, Aimee"
<Aimee_Wolfson[at]spe.sony.com>, "Kaplan, Todd"
<Todd_Kaplan[at]spe.sony.com>, "Sheridan, Alexa"
<Alexa_Sheridan[at]spe.sony.com>, "Weaver, Keith"
we should run these by michael, amy and nicole, as well.
On Jun 25, 2014, at 5:38 PM, Weil, Leah
See comments from me & Aimee below - call if you have any questions
Sent: Wednesday, June
25, 2014 4:04 PM
To: Weil, Leah; Wolfson,
Cc: Sipkins, Charles;
Kaplan, Todd; Sheridan, Alexa; Weaver, Keith
Subject: The Interview
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
· Its as much
a skewering of the media and US society as it is of current events or North
· This is a different
kind of movie for us. Its 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
Its a comedy about two woefully unprepared guys who land the interview
of a lifetime. Ones 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
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
Why focus on Kim Jong-un?
Its a situation ripe for comedy.
Randall, describe the Kim Jong-un
In the movie its Kim
Jong-un, but I think everybody is
also going to realize
right away that its a movie character its 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. Hes a 31-year-old guy our age
of a country
and hes this mysterious figure that we only see
bits and pieces of. Well, thats a great start for a
Are you worried about repercussions
on the world stage?
You give us too much credit. We did want it to be provocative
but its also a
studio comedy thats 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.
Thats what were trying to do here. Whether
its 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,
can still be great fodder for comedy
the laughs didnt 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
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
Is this film racist?
No. Were calling out the absurdity of jingoism. When the
characters say stupid, racist things, I think its pretty clear that
were 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 whats the point of being
Ultimately, thats what the movie is about how dumb and unevolved
these two guys are. Its not clear in the movie if the CIA thinks
theyre expendable or if this plan is just so crazy that it just might
work and it turns out, theyre perfect for the job, because they
dont care about anybody just their own success.
Are you releasing this film in
Youll 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
Youll 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.)
Senior Vice President, Media Relations
Sony Pictures Entertainment
10202 W Washington Blvd/Jimmy Stewart 111D