While it seems like everyone from Hollywood to the White House has voiced their opinion on the controversial, North Korea-infuriating comedy The Interview, the film’s star James Franco has stayed mostly mum on the whole situation; the actor even showed up extremely late for Seth Rogen’s scheduled live-tweet of the film after it hit video-on-demand. However, the Daily Beast caught up with Franco at Sundance, where the actor finally opened up about the Sony cyber-attack and the rallying cry The Interview created.
Because of the uproar around the film, The Interview, according to Franco, was painted as a world-changing work of art instead of what it actually was: a stoner comedy with a semi-serious message. “It’s a genuinely funny movie, but the older crowd also had these weird expectations that it would be Zero Dark Thirty or something, when I think what Seth and [Co-writer and co-director] Evan [Goldberg] did – which was great – was blend their normal, genuinely funny comedy with a subject that is pretty serious,” Franco told the Daily Beast. “It felt like there was some resentment from people that Seth Rogen, the lovable stoner, would dare take on such a subject.”
Franco also admits that he was amazed that the film became a beacon for free speech after Sony Pictures announced they would withdraw The Interview from its December 25th theatrical date after hacker threats. Politicians from both sides of the aisle, including President Barack Obama, criticized Sony for pulling the film, even though skittish major movie theater chains subsequently received most of the blame.
“At first, it was as if all of Hollywood was under attack and we’re representing Hollywood,” Franco said, “and then you have these right-wingers coming out and saying, ‘Go see this movie!’ Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney are saying, ‘Go see this movie!’ without having even seen it themselves, just because.”
Franco, who was at Sundance to promote his role of gay rights activist-turned-born-again Christian Michael Glatze in the film I Am Michael, also commented briefly on a North Korean refugee’s plan to balloon-drop copies of The Interview into Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un’s domain. “I heard they were going to do that,” Franco said. “I don’t even know if [North Koreans] have DVD players, though.”