Canada avoids wrath of North Korea over B.C.-made ‘The Interview’
ABOVE: Nicole Bogart reports on speculation The Interview may be released online.
TORONTO — The satirical comedy The Interview put the U.S. firmly in the crosshairs of the North Korean regime and sparked a cyber-attack on California-based Sony Pictures and threats of terrorism on U.S. soil.
But what Kim Jong-un has seemingly overlooked — or chosen to ignore — is the fact that Canada is largely responsible for The Interview.
That’s right: Blame Canada.
The controversial comedy about a plot to assassinate the leader of North Korea was made in Canada by Canadians with the help of Canadian tax credits.
On Sunday, North Korea issued a statement that warned of strikes against the White House, Pentagon and “the whole U.S. mainland” because president Barack Obama is “recklessly” blaming North Korea for the cyber-attack on Sony Pictures.
North Korea accused the U.S. government of being “deeply involved” in the making of the movie.
Canada’s name has not come up in any of the statements from North Korea or the hackers, Guardians of Peace.
BELOW: The U.S. State Department calls on North Korea to compensate Sony Pictures.
The Interview was co-produced by Point Grey Pictures, a company founded by Vancouver natives Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg (and named for the Vancouver high school at which they became friends).
Among the film’s executive producers are Canadians Shawn Williamson and Ariel Shaffir.
Rogen and Goldberg came up with the idea for The Interview (with screenwriter Dan Sterling) and co-directed it in and around their hometown using largely local crews, dozens of local extras, and a supporting cast of Canadians like Reese Alexander, Diana Bang, Geoff Gustafson and Dominique Lalonde.
The comedy was filmed entirely in British Columbia from October to December.
BELOW: Canada’s Minister of Foreign Affairs John Baird talks about Sony’s decision to cancel release of The Interview.
Reportedly made on a budget of $44 million, The Interview was eligible for provincial tax credits of up to 33 per cent and federal tax credits of 16 per cent — in other words, millions of dollars in refunds from Canadian taxpayers.
The production also benefitted from a favourable exchange rate on Canadian dollars.
Much of The Interview was made on a soundstage at Bridge Studios in Burnaby, B.C. but downtown Vancouver was used for the film’s New York City scenes and the surrounding mountains doubled as both China and North Korea.
For several days in late November, Vancouver’s Robson Square was transformed into the North Korean capital — complete with a giant statue of Kim Jong-un.
Scenes in which James Franco’s character hosts Skylark Tonight were shot in a studio at the CBC Vancouver Broadcast Centre.
Other locations include the Vancouver Art Gallery on Hornby St., The Ascot Lounge on West Pender St., the corner of West Hastings and Hornby streets, and a stretch of West 1st Ave. near the Burrard Bridge.
READ MORE: How the Sony hacking scandal unfolded.
Among the film’s many Canadian workers were art director James Steuart, costume designer Carla Hetland, stunt coordinator Scott J. Ateah, Rogen’s wig maker Stacey Butterworth and Franco’s stunt double Matthew Mylrea.
Vancouver’s Andrea Manchur, key makeup artist on The Interview, told Global News she is disappointed Sony Pictures shelved the movie.
“We all worked very hard on the project and take great pride in our work,” she said. “I was very much looking forward to seeing my work on screen.
“It’s always fun to see the completed project after several months of hard work.”
BELOW: Watch the trailer for The Interview.
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