'Axis of Evil,' North Korea ripped from the headlines

4:00 AM PST 11/02/2006 by Thomas K. Arnold, AP

DVD sequel's plot close to reality

All eyes are on North Korea with the revelation that the communist country has gone nuclear. The U.S. president is furious and rallies his insiders to contain the threat.

They are real-life headlines — as well as the plot of "Behind Enemy Lines: Axis of Evil," a new direct-to-DVD movie recently released by 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment.

"Life is imitating what I wrote," writer-director James Dodson said. "We wanted to make a movie with a real country, and that can be ballsy because you're bound by history and real events that happened there. So we decided on North Korea, which has long been such a great enemy."

Dodson said he did a lot of research, reading 15 books on North Korea, "and I discovered it was pretty commonly accepted in intelligence circles that North Korea had nukes."

The movie, a sequel to the 2001 theatrical hit starring Gene Hackman and Owen Wilson, takes current events a stage further with the discovery that North Korea also has missiles aimed at major American cities, leading the U.S. government to dispatch Navy SEALs to take out the missile site.

"The next question was, how could they deploy them? And we discovered through research that the North Koreans also are great missile builders," Dodson said. "So we put the nukes we already assumed they had on missiles and basically came up with this modern-day version of the Cuban missile crisis."

Is Dodson surprised that North Korea's nuclear testing was discovered just a week before his movie was shipped to stores?

"I actually expected this to happen," he said. "In fact, I told people in September to look for it. That guy, (North Korean leader) Kim Jong Il, is a real saber-rattler — although someone suggested his nukes are only capable of knocking him off his platform shoes."

"Axis of Evil," which stars Peter Coyote as the president, is the latest in a series of direct-to-DVD sequels to major theatrical hits produced by the big studios in the hopes of boosting DVD sales.
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