Sony Execs Reportedly Debated Risk of 'The Interview' Before Hack

Seth Rogen The Interview - H 2014
Ed Araquel/CTMG, Inc.

Seth Rogen The Interview - H 2014

The studio's parent company and Homeland Security are said to have expressed concerns about the film

Sony Pictures execs reportedly had concerns about releasing The Interview prior to the Nov. 24 cyberattack on the studio's electronic systems.

Officials from the Department of Homeland Security warned the studio that the forthcoming Seth Rogen-James Franco comedy could lead to retaliation from North Korea, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Parent company Sony Corp. is also said to have expressed concerns that the film, in which two guys are sent to assassinate Kim Jong Un, could incite furor from North Korea.

A Sony Pictures rep told the Times that the studio did not receive a warning from Homeland Security, and a Homeland Security spokesman denied knowledge of a formal warning to the studio.

Sony execs had reportedly discussed changing the film's script to make it less incendiary, but the filmmakers, including Rogen, who co-directed, co-wrote and stars in the film, were not amenable to such changes.

Ultimately, Sony chairman Amy Pascal respected the filmmakers' wishes, according to the Times

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Recode reports that Pascal and Rogen exchanged emails in September in which Pascal told him she was getting flak from Sony Corp. Rogen responded by offering to make some changes to the hostile way that the North Korean leader was treated in a key scene.

Sony releases the film on Christmas Day, with its Los Angeles premiere set for Thursday. Guardians of Peace, the hacking group that has claimed responsibility for the attack, asked the studio earlier this week to pull the film. 

North Korea has officially denied involvement in the Sony hack, although the nation's spokesperson praised the perpetrators. A cybersecurity expert told Sony that the attack, which has led to a litany of leaked Sony documents, was "unprecedented in nature" and "carried out by an organized group."

Twitter: @_RyanGajewski