The last we heard from North Korea regarding the upcoming Seth Rogen/James Franco “let’s kill Kim Jong-un” comedy The Interview, the nation was demanding that the United States prevent the movie’s release, and threatening “a resolute and merciless response” if The Interview came out on October 10, as intended. Since then, Sony Pictures has bumped The Interview from October—but to Christmas Day, which is actually a more desirable release date. But North Korea may have won at least one small victory. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Sony is having the film digitally altered to remove some elements that the North Korean government might find offensive. Specifically, the studio is changing some medals and buttons so that they won’t resemble what’s actually worn by the North Korean military. Sony is also apparently considering cutting a scene in which a North Korean character’s face “is melted off graphically in slow motion,” but they’re still “trying to gauge whether it’s funny.”
One thing Sony is not changing—because it’d be impossible—is the plot of The Interview, which still sees Rogen and Franco playing shallow TV entertainment reporters who get drafted by the CIA to assassinate Kim. And I suspect that the North Koreans might still take issue with that particular aspect of the film. But after This Is The End, which had Franco and Rogen as “themselves,” facing the apocalypse, it should be clear that their particular style of movie comedy—produced in collaboration with Rogen’s writing/directing partner Evan Goldberg—twists real life until it’s strange and ridiculous. In other words, it’s unlikely that The Interview will actually be advocating, with a straight face, the killing of Kim Jong-un. But we’ll have to wait until Christmas—and until Sony’s through with its digital scribbling—to find out.