ABOVE: Watch the trailer for The Interview.
TORONTO — Canadian actor Seth Rogen deserves a “stern punishment” for his made-in-Canada movie The Interview, North Korean officials declared Friday.
In a statement posted on government-controlled website Uriminzokkiri, the Vancouver-shot comedy about a plot to assassinate North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un is described as an “evil act of provocation.”
Rogen stars with James Franco and also co-wrote and co-directed the comedy (with fellow B.C. native Evan Goldberg), which opens Christmas Day.
When Rogen’s Aaron Rapoport and Franco’s Dave Skylark are granted an interview with the North Korean leader, the CIA recruits them to kill him.
Friday’s condemnation accuses the film of “utter distortions of the truth and absurd imaginations” and calls it “an evil act of provocation against our highly dignified republic and an insult against our righteous people.”
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The statement reads: “The trashy filmmakers … have compromised the dignity and conscience of filmmaking and dared to produce and direct such a film. They must be subject to our stern punishment.
“How pitiful the U.S. is, desperately scrambling to tear down the authority of our republic that grows mightier by the day, with a shabby movie, now that no pressure or threat has worked.”
In June, Kim Myong-chol of The Centre for North Korea-US Peace said: “A film about the assassination of a foreign leader mirrors what the US has done in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and Ukraine. And let us not forget who killed Kennedy — Americans.”
A few days later, North Korean officials called The Interview “the most undisguised terrorism and a war action” and vowed there “will invite a strong and merciless countermeasure.”
In July, North Korea’s ambassador to the UN, Ja Song Nam, urged the U.S. to ban the release of the film.
“To allow the production and distribution of such a film on the assassination of an incumbent head of a sovereign state should be regarded as the most undisguised sponsoring of terrorism as well as an act of war,” he wrote in a letter to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.
Rogen has taken all the declarations with a grain of salt.
“People don’t usually wanna kill me for one of my movies until after they’ve paid 12 bucks for it,” he tweeted in June.