We've managed to get hold of what will surely be one of the most talked about and controversial movie scenes of the decade! You're about to watch what North Korea never wanted you to see - what most likely caused the recent 9/11-esque terror threats and the current onslaught of hacker attacks mounted against Sony Pictures.
A particularly graphic scene from the now banned film, The Interview, has leaked online, showing the North Korean leader's head violently exploding in a fiery inferno.
Up until now, the public had only been able to speculate as to what exact World War 3-provoking content the movie contained. Well, speculate no more, because here it is!
I have to warn you, it's pretty graphic:
Woah! Now I have an idea of why the Koreans were so enraged...
An 'Act of War'
Seth Rogan and James Franco's satirical comedy has sparked massive controversy around the world, prompting the unpredictable, nuclear-armed nation North Korea to threaten a “resolute and merciless response” to what they view as an "act of war."
Sony Pictures has had a nightmarish few weeks in their battle with a terrorist hacking group calling themselves the Guardians of Peace. Although North Korea has claimed to have no affiliation with the group, the GoP has recently been linked to the secretive state's dictator, Kim Jong Un.
Appalled by the movie's content, the cyber-terrorists issued a serious - if slightly awkwardly phrased - warning, stating:
The world will be full of fear. Remember the 11th of September 2001. We recommend you to keep yourself distant from the places at that time... All the world will denounce the SONY.
But what prompted this alarming response?
Well, a murdered prophet. Kim Jong Un is treated as a godly figure in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, so it's not all that surprising they would find this clip pretty offensive.
Remember, the death of his predecessor and father, Kim Jong-il, caused mass hysteria and nation-wide grief in the country.
However, pulling the movie could set a dangerous precedent for giving into terrorist demands.
Buckling Under the Terrorist's Pressure
Responding to the announcement from major cinema chains stating they would not screen the movie, Sony took extreme action by canceling the film's New York premiere:
We respect and understand our partners’ decision and, of course, completely share their paramount interest in the safety of employees and theater-goers.
Many prominent industry figures, including Judd Apatow and Ben Stiller, have since criticized the corporation's acquiescence to the criminal organization's threats:
While I agree that the safety of civilians must come first, deciding not to screen the film threatens our very right to free expression! Our beloved film industry should not bow down to criminal bullies.
Censorship is a drastic step that only brings us closer to the restrictive freedoms North Korea itself is known for.
Sony Break a 25-Year Long Tradition
Kazuo Hirai, President and CEO of Sony, pleaded with the filmmakers to tone down the depiction of Jong Un's murder, prior to The Interview's release.
Mr. Hirai broke the company's 25-year long tradition by intervening with the usually autonomous Hollywood studio, Sony Pictures.
A series of leaked emails released by the GoP show that Amy Pascal, co-chairwoman of Sony Pictures, repeatedly asked co-director Seth Rogen to edit the assassination scene after hearing Mr. Hirai's concerns:
You have to appreciate the fact that we haven’t just dictated to you what it had to be... Given that I have never gotten one note on anything from our parent company in the entire 25 years that I have worked for them.
It seems Kazuo Hirai predicted the inflammatory response that the controversial scene would provoke. Though in my opinion, even if the scene was edited, the GoP would have still raised objections.
Never Before, Never Again
The unprecedented events of the past few weeks have thrown Sony - and the film industry, more widely - into a tailspin, raising arguments about terrorist appeasement and freedom of expression.
What do you make of the leaked assassination scene? Did it warrant the GoP's outrage? Should have Sony pulled the film from theaters? Are we entering into a new era of political censorship?
Tell us your opinion in the comments!