Taking a Closer Look at the 'The Interview': What Moviegoers Are Missing
Before the movie's Dec. 25 release was canceled, the film was greeted with a lot of laughs at its Los Angeles premiere
Now that Sony Pictures has canceled its plans for the Dec. 25th release of The Interview, the comedy that Seth Rogen co-directed with Evan Goldberg, the movie could become one of Hollywood's most notorious unseen movies. What will moviegoers be missing? On Dec. 11, Sony held a Los Angeles premiere for the film at the Ace Hotel Theater in Los Angeles. Here's how the movie went down:
1) Seth Rogen gets chased by a wild North Korean beast in The Interview, but he was more scared of reporters at the premiere. When a THR reporter got past the policemen guarding the screening and asked Rogen if he felt secure, Rogen replied, "Not from you! This is the first time I've felt insecure in months. I'm just getting drunk! I'm just getting drunk!" Then he retreated from THR's microphone, gutterally guffawing, and added, "You do what you gotta do."
2) The audience liked it way more than critics did -- possibly because they had been drinking. The Interview has a 54 percent approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and THR film critic Todd McCarthy called it "wild and wildly uneven," but the premiere audience laughed loud and often, perhaps because the Ace has a bar. "Hi everybody, what's happening?" Rogen said, introducing the film onstage. "Thanks so much for coming to out movie. We did it! ... And all you random kids from USC [a big cheer erupted], you better be f—ed up! I'd like to thank Amy Pascal for having the balls to make this movie."
3) Eminem and Rob Lowe's cameos got big applause. The audience loved it when James Franco's dumb, crass TV host character (Rogen plays his Columbia Journalism School-trained producer) interviews the stars on their secret shames. Eminem played himself confessing that his rap lyrics reveal that he's been "playing gay peekaboo ... I've pretty much been leaving a breadcrumb trail of gayness.” Lowe played himself, confessing that he's "secretly bald," doffing a hairpiece and revealing a few sparse, long strands of hair. "His head looks like somebody’s taint," says one producer in the film, getting a laugh from the premiere audience. "You barely look different," Franco's character tells Lowe, grimacing. "Thanks, man," says Lowe.
4) Even terrible jokes got laughs. Satirizing bad entertainment TV, Timothy Simons' producer character exclaims, "Guys, guys! Some pictures just came out where it looks like Matthew McConaughey’s f—in' a goat." "Get him, get him, get the goat," says Franco. "I’ve got some questions for that goat." When a CIA agent with protuberant breasts and a half-buttoned blouse (Lizzy Caplan) comes to give the order to kill North Korea's dictator Kim Jong Un, Franco's character doesn't notice she's at the door, and embarrassingly announces to Rogen's character, "Yo, Aaron, I don’t know who I f—ed last night, but I’ve got some stink dick. Whoo. Yo Aaaron, does your dick stink? So weird how you want to keep smellin' it though." The audience howled.
5) Some of the silliest lines are true. "You are entering into the most dangerous country on earth," says Caplan's CIA agent. "Kim Jong Un's people believe everything he tells them, including that he can speak to dolphins, or he doesn’t urinate or defecate." Says Franco, "Wait wait, you’re telling me our man doesn't pee or poop?" Says Rogen, "Everybody pees and poops. Where would it go? Otherwise, he’d explode." North Korean propaganda chief Sook (Diana Bang) says, "He does not have a butthole; he has no need for one." In fact, Kim Jong Un's father, dictator Kim Jong Il, did claim not to excrete, and also claimed to have invented the hamburger. More ominously, he told South Korea's president in 2007, "I'm an Internet expert, too." As in The Interview, Kim Jong Il did ridicule his son Kim Jong Un for being effeminate.
6) The assassination scene looks more cartoony than gory. When a shell hits Kim Jong Un (Randall Park), he explodes in slow motion, but Rogen, who in leaked Sony emails agreed to "reduce the flaming hair by 50 percent" and "play with the color of the head chunks to try to make them less gross," wound up with one of the less scary villain death scenes in recent action picture history. The comic scene of Rogen's character getting his fingers bitten off is gorier. Though the film was canceled, the assassination scene has leaked online.
7) There is a South Park connection to The Interview. Dan Sterling, who wrote The Interview screenplay, started out as a writer on South Park, including the 1997 episode "Mr. Hanky, the Christmas Poo," whose poo humor clearly influenced The Interview. Like Cartman in the first episode of South Park, Rogen's character gets a mechanical device up his rectum, making Franco's character say, "Dude, you got f—ed by Robocop." In one scene, as Sterling said in an interview, "Seth Rogen [was] completely naked except for a sock around his penis, and he had a bunch of salami tucked between his buttocks that a German shepherd was eating out of because the scene involved him being sniffed by a bomb-sniffing dog." The audience in L.A. laughed enthusiastically at this scene. The Interview is Sterling's first produced feature, though he is a WGA prize-winning writer and producer with credits on The Daily Show, Girls, The Sarah Silverman Program, The Office and King of the Hill.