Late last year, Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg’s comedy The Interview caused quite a ruckus. The action centers around two bumbling journalists on a mission to kill North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, which, you can imagine, rubbed a few people the wrong way. It might be the only instance of a movie this heavy on dick jokes almost provoking an international incident. After threats that terrorists would attack theaters showing the film, the Christmas Day release was scrapped, and the movie hit VOD. But now, months later, there are warnings that the film could still incite war.
The Interview is widely available in the U.S. through outlets like Netflix, but a group called Fighters for a Free North Korea wants give the people access to the film by floating balloons over the heavily militarized border and dropping in thousands of DVD copies. According to Business Insider, the North Korean military has threatened to blow up any such balloons they encounter, and said that they consider any such action a declaration of war.
March 26 is the rough date activists targeted for their plan, which also includes papering the countryside with 500,000 leaflets. As Thursday approaches, tension is, understandably, escalating. North Korea has made it abundantly clear that they will use whatever means necessary, including all of their frontline firepower, to shoot down any of these balloons. For their part, South Korea has said that they will retaliate in kind if their neighbors to the North open fire. Not to be outdone, the North promised, “merciless retaliatory strikes,” should the South fire on them.
These aren’t just idle, chest thumping threats either. Back in October 2014, forces from the Korean People’s Army in the North attempted to shoot down some similar delivery balloons. This kicked off a brief, though heavy, exchange of gunfire from both sides.
Residents in the area have complained that this launch, which commemorates the five-year anniversary of the sinking of a South Korean warship, an event blamed on the North, will put their lives at risk. Civilians on the Southern side of the border are being advised to evacuate the region as a precautionary measure, should this launch take place.
The South Korean government has said they will take measures to prevent such action in order to keep everyone safe. While the Unification Ministry has said that these groups have the right to this kind of protest, they plead with them to consider the broader potential consequences and the general public safety.
Rogen and Goldberg were obviously trying to be shocking and controversial when they made The Interview, and thought a movie about two buffoons trying to assassinate a dictator would do the trick. And boy did they ever succeed. Their movie will be remembered far more for pissing off Kim Jong-un and its role in the Sony hack than anything that actually goes down on screen. Fighters for a Free North Korea have kept quiet about precise time and place of the launch, but they have now said they will delay their launch, saying the time is not right, but only for a few days.