George Clooney Reacts To 'Interview' Cancellation: We Need to Stand Up Against This

by Jackie Willis 2:57 AM PST, December 19, 2014
Photo: Getty Images

George Clooney might think The Interview is a "silly comedy," but he still thinks it has a right to be released.

Sony Pictures pulled Seth Rogen and James Franco's movie about attempting to assassinate North Korea's dictator Kim Jong-Un after hackers who call themselves The Guardians of Peace leaked embarrassing executive emails, full-length movies and threatened Americans in theaters with 9/11-like attacks if they went to see the film. As many suspected, U.S. officials confirmed this week that North Korea was in fact behind the attack.

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"Here, we're talking about an actual country deciding what content we're going to have. This affects not just movies, this affects every part of business that we have," Clooney told Deadline of Sony's decision. "That's the truth. What happens if a newsroom decides to go with a story, and a country or an individual or corporation decides they don't like it. Forget the hacking part of it."

That being said, Clooney does seem to understand Sony's reasons for canceling the release of The Interview. "Sony didn't pull the movie because they were scared. They pulled the movie because all the theaters said they were not going to run it," he said. "And they said they were not going to run it because they talked to their lawyers and those lawyers said, if somebody dies in one of these, then you're going to be responsible."

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The 53-year-old Oscar winner still believes it's time to take a stand. "We have a responsibility to stand up against this. That's not just Sony, but all of us, including my good friends in the press who have the responsibility to be asking themselves, what was important, what was the important story to be covering here," he continued.

"The hacking is terrible because of the damage they did to all those people. Their medical records, that is a horrible thing, their Social Security numbers," he told Deadline. "Then, to turn around and threaten to blow people up and kill people, and just by that threat alone we change what we do for a living, that's the actual definition of terrorism."

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Clooney, along with his agent Bryan Lourd, also tried to take matters into their own hands and attempt to have high-level executives stand behind Sony and the release of The Interview by signing a petition. "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," the petition reads. "We hope these hackers are brought to justice but until they are, we will not stand in fear. We will stand together."

However, when he brought the petition forward, not one person would sign it. "I don't know what the answer is, but what happened here is part of a much larger deal," Clooney said. "A huge deal. And people are still talking about dumb emails. Understand what is going on right now, because the world just changed on your watch, and you weren't even paying attention."

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The actor added, "We cannot be told we can’t see something by Kim Jong-un, of all f**king people."