Sony CEO Kazuo Hirai personally approved the final scene in Seth Rogen’s The Interview in which North Korean leader Kim Jong Un dies, according to emails leaked as part of the massive security breach at the company.
The Interview, which depicts an assassination attempt against the North Korean leader, angered the rogue state and may have prompted the country to a launch the devastating cyberattack against Sony.
Hirai asked studio executives not to include Kim’s exploding face in versions of the film to be released outside of the United States, though he ultimately gave the go-ahead to the scene with Kim’s death, Bloomberg reports.
The interference of Sony Pictures Entertainment’s Tokyo-based parent company on films is extremely rare, and speaks to the sensitive nature of the film.
“I’ve given this a lot of thought and would like to go ahead with a variation of version 337,” Hirai wrote in a Sept. 29 e-mail to Sony Pictures Entertainment Co-Chairman Amy Pascal, based on the trove of leaked emails. “It would be much appreciated if you could push them a bit further as you mentioned in your e-mail. Also, please ensure that this does not make it into the international version of the release.”
Pascal said in an email to Rogen that she had never once received a note from headquarters involving the particulars of a film, but acquiesced to Hirai. “I haven’t the foggiest notion how to deal with Japanese politics as it relates to Korea so all I can do is make sure that Sony won’t be put in a bad situation and even that is subjective,” Pascal wrote to Rogen on Sept. 25 while asking for him to tone down the gore.