A North Korean Foreign Ministry spokesman told the country's state-run news agency that "The enemies have gone beyond the tolerance limit in their despicable moves to dare hurt the dignity of the supreme leadership."
In The Interview, directed by Evan Goldberg and Seth Rogen, Franco and Rogen play two celebrity tabloid journalists who travel to Pyongyang for an exclusive interview with North Korean dictator, Kim Jong-un, prompting the CIA to recruit the pair to assassinate the leader.
"Making and releasing a movie on a plot to hurt our top-level leadership is the most blatant act of terrorism and war and will absolutely not be tolerated," the North Korean spokesman raged, saying it would bring "merciless counter-measures," BBC News reported.
North Korea's threats don't come lightly—evidence has showed that the isolated country has apparently been further developing its nuclear weapons program, which have been used to threaten neighboring countries, according to CNN. Earlier this year, the United Nations released a detailed list of crimes North Korea has committed against its own people in prison camps, including torture, murder, sexual violence, and mass starvation.
The trailer draws on many North Korean stereotypes, calling it the "most dangerous country on Earth," briefing the two journalists that North Koreans will believe anything their leader tells them—including that he can speak to dolphins and doesn't urinate or defecate.
"Wanna go kill Kim Jung-un?"
"Totally, I'd love to assassinate Kim Jong-un. It's a date!"
Rogen comedically took to Twitter on Wednesday in response to the backlash his film produced:
Rogen told Yahoo Movies that the film's plot sprang from a legitimate premise, stating, "People have the hypothetical discussion about how journalists have access to the world's most dangerous people, and they hypothetically would be in a good situation to assassinate them."
Comedic shots at the North Korean leadership is nothing new—the 2004 film, Team America: World Police, depicted Kim Jon-il as an insecure madman puppet.
Of course, no one wants to be the target of a fictional assassination, but North Korea is notorious for its thin skin when it comes to comedy, or anything negative against it or its leader, for that matter. In recent news, a London hair salon provoked Korean backlash by displaying a photo of Kim Jong-un with "Bad hair day?" to advertise a 15 percent discount on men's haircuts throughout April.
The 2002 James Bond film Die Another Day also caught the attention of North Korea, which attacked the film for "insulting the Korean nation." In the film, James Bond is taken prisoner in North Korea and tortured for 14 months, emerging as a darker, semi-renegade man.
"The U.S. should stop at once the dirty and cursed burlesque aims to slander," the North Korea's official KCNA news agency told The New York Times in December 2002. The news agency also said the film was evidence that the United States is "the root cause of all disasters and misfortune of the Korean nation" and is the "real empire of evil."
The Interview is expected to be in theaters in October.
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