It looks like Hollywood will be staying out of North Korea for the foreseeable future. The Sony cyber attack that compromised terabytes of sensitive documents for the company and led to the cancellation of its controversial comedy The Interview has claimed another victim – New Regency and Fox have quietly scrapped plans to distribute Pyongyang, a thriller set in the rogue nation.
The thriller, set up as a star vehicle for Foxcatcher actor Steve Carell by Pirates of the Caribbean director Gore Verbinski, would have explored the paranoia of life inside North Korea. Though New Regency was apparently a big fan of the project, insiders have revealed that the studio simply didn’t feel comfortable proceeding with it in the current cultural climate.
Pyongyang‘s cancellation has made less headlines than Sony’s decision not to go ahead with the December 25th release of The Interview, but both are indicative of the dawn of a chilling new age in Hollywood. Suddenly, filmmakers’ freedom of speech, once held up as an inalienable right in the United States, has been compromised. Bowing to threats from cyber terrorism group Guardians of Peace, which threatened to blow up any theaters that showed The Interview, sets a horrifying precedent.
North Korea, for its part, has denied involvement in the hacking attacks, but U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded that the country was “centrally involved” in the attacks by following the hackers’ web trail. Seemingly in response to the threats against moviegoers, President Barack Obama recently urged Americans to “go to the movies,” but sadly, after the top five major theater chains opted against showing The Interview, that won’t be one of the titles on offer over the holiday break. And with Sony stating that it has “no further plans” to release The Interview, it’s unclear when, or if, we’ll ever get to see the troubled film.
We Got This Covered’s sympathies lie with all those who were involved with The Interview, which Sony and movie theaters betrayed in a cowardly act, and Pyongyang, which never even made it into production.
You can take a look at Verbinski’s statement in response to New Regency and its distributor Fox’s actions, below:
Getting the facts straight:
Yesterday, I was told by New Regency and Fox that Fox will no longer be distributing the film. Prior to that, the film was green lit and fully funded by New Regency with Fox distributing. I have been told in no uncertain words that based on the situation at Sony, Fox has now decided to not distribute the film. Without a distributor, New Regency was forced to shut the film down.
I find it ironic that fear is eliminating the possibility to tell stories that depict our ability to overcome fear.