If there’s anybody who can offer some perspective on the cancelation of The Interview, who better than perhaps the smoothest talker alive?
George Clooney recently sent the following petition letter out to “basically the heads of every place” in Hollywood, imploring them to unite behind Sony and stand against the hackers who sought to take down the movie:
On November 24 of this year, Sony Pictures was notified that it was the victim of a cyber attack, the effects of which is the most chilling and devastating of any cyber attack in the history of our country. Personal information including Social Security numbers, email addresses, home addresses, phone numbers and the full texts of emails of tens of thousands of Sony employees was leaked online in an effort to scare and terrorize these workers. The hackers have made both demands and threats. The demand that Sony halt the release of its upcoming comedy The Interview, a satirical film about North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un. Their threats vary from personal—you better behave wisely—to threatening physical harm—not only you but your family is in danger. North Korea has not claimed credit for the attack but has praised the act, calling it a righteous deed and promising merciless measures if the film is released. Meanwhile the hackers insist in their statement that what they’ve done so far is only a small part of our further plan. This is not just an attack on Sony. It involves every studio, every network, every business and every individual in this country. That is why we fully support Sony’s decision not to submit to these hackers’ demands. 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. We hope these hackers are brought to justice but until they are, we will not stand in fear. We will stand together.
However, despite his best efforts, the actor says that “nobody signed the letter” and that the press covering the hacks “abdicated its real duty.”
“People are still talking about dumb emails,” he told Deadline. “The world just changed on your watch, and you weren’t even paying attention.”
Clooney cited the common argument critics of Sony’s decision have made; chiefly, that caving to this seemingly baseless threat sets a precedent that any movie about a touchy subject can’t go forward. Studios simply won’t fund or distribute them, and important stories will thus never be told.
Clooney really sums up the situation best at the end of the interview, when he says “Somehow, we have allowed North Korea to dictate content, and that is just insane.”