Support for LAist comes from
We Explain L.A.
Stay Connected

Share This

This is an archival story that predates current editorial management.

This archival content was written, edited, and published prior to LAist's acquisition by its current owner, Southern California Public Radio ("SCPR"). Content, such as language choice and subject matter, in archival articles therefore may not align with SCPR's current editorial standards. To learn more about those standards and why we make this distinction, please click here.

Arts and Entertainment

Watch The Kim Jong-un Death Scene Too Hot For Your Local Multiplex

Before you
Dear reader, we're asking you to help us keep local news available for all. Your financial support keeps our stories free to read, instead of hidden behind paywalls. We believe when reliable local reporting is widely available, the entire community benefits. Thank you for investing in your neighborhood.

The most controversial scene from "The Interview" has leaked: it shows North Korean leader Kim Jong-un getting taken out by a tank shell in a slow-mo explosion. You see a shell hurtling toward the helicopter where Kim is and then his face in close-up as the flames and embers from the explosion approach and consume him. All of this is set to a slowed-down version of Katy Perry's "Firework" (get it???)—a song that Kim and Franco's character bond over earlier in the film.

"The Interview" has since been pulled from a theatrical release, and U.S. officials are saying that North Korean leaders are in fact behind the Sony leaks as well as threats against movie theaters showing the buddy comedy. This scene was the subject of quite a bit of scrutiny from Sony Entertainment heads as well as defense analysts and even the state department, according to The Daily Beast.

North Korea first objected to the movie and called it an "act of war" back in June. And because of all those leaked e-mails we know exactly how Sony responded. The first threat worried execs enough to give this death scene a second look. CEO Michael Lynton wrote, "Yeah we cannot be cute here. What we really want is no melting face and actually not seeing him die. A look of horror as the fire approaches is probably what we need."

Seth Rogen offered to make it less gruesome while fighting for the right to make sure it was obvious that Kim was a goner:

Support for LAist comes from
“We will make it less gory. There are currently four burn marks on his face. We will take out three of them, leaving only one. We reduce the flaming hair by 50%… The head explosion can’t be more obscured than it is because we honestly feel that if it’s any more obscured you won’t be able to tell its exploding and the joke won’t work. Do you think this will help? Is it enough?”

The studio gave this toned-down version the okay, though they planned to cut the scene outside the states. Bruce Bennett, a senior defense analyst at the RAND Corporation with a specialty in North Korea, consulted on the film after initial threats from North Korea. He said that while it's hard to know exactly how the country's leadership would react but he also approved of the movie's message that the only way to solve North Korea's problems is "for the North Korean regime to eventually go away." CEO Michael Lynton showed a rough cut to U.S. government officials, and they backed Bennett's assessment: "Bruce - Spoke to someone very senior in State (confidentially). He agreed with everything you have been saying. Everything. I will fill you in when we speak."

Here's the final scene (a couple versions—watch them before they're taken down!):

The Interview clip - Kim Jong-un death scene... by boxofficeinternational