Tags: Emerging Threats | north korea | china | hollywood | villains | clooney

After 'Interview,' Hollywood Scrambling for a Safe Villain

By    |   Friday, 19 Dec 2014 01:33 PM

Hollywood has a history of skewering America's overseas adversaries from Nazi Germany to communist Russia and, until recently, Middle East terrorists, but the decision by Sony Pictures to pull "The Interview" has many wondering whether there are any acceptable villains left.

After Sony decided to pull "The Interview," some theater owners decided to replace it with "Team America," another film that skewered North Korea's leaders.

That was until Paramount Pictures, which owns the rights to the movie featuring puppets mocking the late dictator Kim Jong Il, refused to grant permission for it to be shown, reports Variety.

Then came news that New Regency has decided to shelve the development of a yet untitled thriller set in North Korea starring Steve Carell, the trade magazine Deadline reported.

"You can expect more risky scripts that are critical of governments and politicians to be adjusted and even rejected outright," crisis communications expert Gene Grabowski tells Fox News.

"This will almost certainly have a chilling effect on all political movies for the foreseeable future," Grabowski says.

In 2011, MGM had planned to set remake the anti-Russian movie "Red Dawn" in China, but the studio was worried about offending the second-largest movie market in the world. When the film was released in 2012, it was North Korea that was cast as the "bad guy" state, reports The Los Angeles Times.

University of Southern California professor Stanley Rosen told The Times that after "China was ruled out, North Korea was the last place left."

And radical Islamic terrorists were removed from the list following the backlash to the Kiefer Sutherland television thriller "24."

"When 24 had the temerity to suggest that Muslim terrorists might provide a greater terror risk to the United States than, say, white Europeans, the Council on American-Islamic Relations made such a stink that star Kiefer Sutherland had to disown the Muslim terrorist storyline in a public service announcement for the show," said Breitbart News' Ben Shapiro.

The extent of the danger that Sony's reaction to the hacking scandal poses to freedom of speech is a concern to actor George Clooney.

"What’s going to happen is, you’re going to have trouble finding distribution. In general, when you’re doing films like that, the ones that are critical, those aren’t going to be studio films anyway," Clooney told Deadline.

"Most of the movies that got us in trouble, we started out by raising the money independently. But to distribute, you’ve got to go to a studio, because they’re the ones that distribute movies.

"The truth is, you’re going to have a much harder time finding distribution now. And that’s a chilling effect," Clooney said. "We should be in the position right now of going on offense with this."

In part what inspired Clooney to speak out was the tepid response he received from fellow actors and filmmakers to a petition condemning the hacking that he circulated.

In the petition, Clooney wrote, "We know that to give in to these criminals now will open the door for any group that would threaten freedom of expression, privacy and personal liberty."

But few would even put their name to it.

As Hollywood was backing away from saying or doing anything to offend North Korea, the FBI delivered its first official statement linking Pyongyang to the hacking.

"As a result of our investigation, and in close collaboration with other U.S. government departments and agencies, the FBI now has enough information to conclude that the North Korean government is responsible for these actions," read the FBI statement issued on Friday.

The FBI said that the agency had multiple piece of evidence that led to its determination North Korea was involved, including technical analysis that determined the data deletion malware used has been used by North Korean actors, and that the FBI "observed significant overlap" between the infrastructure used and other malicious cyberactivity linked directly to Pyongyang.

The tools used, the FBI said, "have similarities to a cyber attack in March of last year against South Korean banks and media outlets, which was carried out by North Korea."

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Hollywood has a history of skewering overseas adversaries from Nazi Germany to communist Russia and, until recently, Middle East terrorists, but the decision by Sony Pictures to pull "The Interview" has many wondering whether there are any acceptable villains left.
north korea, china, hollywood, villains, clooney
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2014-33-19
Friday, 19 Dec 2014 01:33 PM
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