The 2014 Sony hack, one of the most devastating cyberattacks in U.S. history, will be addressed in a currently untitled documentary from Jehane Noujaim and Karim Amer, the team behind 2013’s Oscar-nominated Netflix doc The Square.
The attack, which was first detected on November 24 of last year, saw over 100 terabytes of data stolen from Sony Pictures Entertainment by a group known as the Guardians of Peace, which demanded the cancellation of controversial comedy The Interview. The film in question depicted the assassination of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un by two American journalists (Seth Rogen and James Franco) operating on orders from the CIA. North Korea was eventually labeled as the perpetrator of the hack by President Barack Obama and the FBI following an investigation, but the rogue nation refutes the claims.
The hack’s impact on Sony was devastating. High-quality versions of yet-to-be-released titles including Brad Pitt’s WWII actioner Fury, musical remake Annie and awards contender Still Alice were leaked onto the Internet and downloaded thousands of times, while many emails were made public from the accounts of then-co-chairmen Amy Pascal and Michael Lynton, as well as producer Scott Rudin. Some of the content of those emails was damaging, and Pascal was particularly burned by the hack, stepping down from her position at the company this past February after fielding accusations of unprofessional, even racist conduct.
Noujaim, who will direct the documentary, and Amer, who will produce, are expected to address alternate theories about the culprit behind the hack in their film, which will be one of the first full accounts of the crippling hack. Cybersecurity professionals have expressed skepticism about North Korea’s involvement, with some calling the hack an inside job, especially given that the hackers demonstrated considerable knowledge of Sony’s servers, something that would have been difficult for the isolated country to possess. Additionally, the hackers spread leaked information to specific outlets in order to maximize the damage, which suggests careful planning and knowledge of Hollywood’s top journalistic platforms.
Amer didn’t go into specifics about the film but said, “The Sony story is an important chapter in this larger issue” of cyber aggression in the modern era. Amer and Noujaim had been planning to make a movie about cyberattacks even before the Sony hack but decided to use that event as a specific jumping-off point. “The analysts and experts we speak to see it as the 9/11 of cyberattacks, and the implications will be felt for years to come,” he said.