North Korea has promised to “mercilessly destroy” anyone associated with an action-comedy movie that depicts an attempt to assassinate leader Kim Jong Un.
“A preview of a film on insulting and assassinating the supreme leadership of the DPRK is floating in broad daylight in the U.S., a kingpin of international terrorism and its cesspool, shocking the world community,” a Foreign Ministry spokesman said in comments carried by the official Korean Central News Agency, referring to the North by its official name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
The ministry spokesman didn’t name the film, though the plot matches “The Interview,” starring Seth Rogen and James Franco, which tells the story of two celebrity journalists who secure an interview with Kim, prompting the Central Intelligence Agency to recruit them as assassins. The film offended all North Koreans, he said.
“It is their firm determination and stamina to mercilessly destroy anyone who dares hurt or attack the supreme leadership of the country, even a bit,” the spokesman said.
Rogen, who directs the movie with Evan Goldberg, responded on Twitter, saying: “People don’t usually wanna kill me for one of my movies until after they’ve paid 12 bucks for it.”
“If the U.S. administration connives at and patronizes the screening of the film, it will invite a strong and merciless countermeasure,” the Foreign Ministry spokesman said. “The enemies have gone beyond the tolerance limit in their despicable moves to dare hurt the dignity of the supreme leadership.”
It’s not the first film to parody a North Korean leader. Kim’s father Kim Jong Il was mocked in the 2004 animated feature “Team America: World Police,” railing against the chief United Nations weapons inspector Hans Blix and singing “I’m so lonely.”
North Korean officials have previously taken offense at actions that ridicule their leader and KCNA has a history of colorful and strongly worded tirades.
A London hairdresser who put a picture of Kim’s distinctive short-back-and-sides and longer-on-the-top haircut accompanied by the words “Bad Hair Day?” in the window of his salon in a bid to attract customers, was visited by officials from the nearby North Korean Embassy who demanded the poster be removed, the Guardian newspaper reported in April.
“The Interview” is due to be released in U.S. cinemas in the fall.
(An earlier version of this story corrected the spelling of the last name of Seth Rogen throughout.)
To contact the reporter on this story: David Tweed in Hong Kong at firstname.lastname@example.org
To contact the editors responsible for this story: Rosalind Mathieson at email@example.com Neil Western, Andrew Davis