Los Angeles: Studio bosses behind an upcoming Steve Carell movie set in North Korea have decided to cancel the project in the wake of the cyberattack on Sony in retaliation for their North Korea assassination comedy 'The Interview'.
Last month, a group of activists calling themselves Guardians of Peace infiltrated the Sony database and leaked whole movies, celebrities' salaries, and stars' personal information on the Internet, threatening more hacks unless studio executives scrapped plans to release the Seth Rogen film, about two Americans who set out on a mission to assassinate North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.
They subsequently threatened "9/11 style attacks" on movie theatres that screen 'The Interview' if the release went ahead as planned, prompting officials to scrap the film's New York premiere.
Executives at New Regency and distributor Fox subsequently decided not to risk a similar fate, and announced that they would not be moving forward with production on their movie, 'Pyongyang', about Canadian author Guy Delisle's real-life experience of spending two months in North Korea's capital and his struggles of working in the totalitarian state, according to Hollywood Reporter.
Carell was cast as the lead in the film, with 'Pirates of the Caribbean' director Gore Verbinski at the helm. Production had been slated to begin in March next year.
Verbinski has since released his own statement about the executives' decision, which read: "I have been told in no uncertain words that based on the situation at Sony, Fox has now decided to not distribute the film.
Without a distributor, New Regency was forced to shut the film down. "My thoughts: I find it ironic that fear is eliminating the possibility to tell stories that depict our ability to overcome fear."
Also on Wednesday, Sony chiefs bowed to pressure from hackers and completely cancelled 'The Interview's Christmas Day release. Carell took to Twitter to express his distress over the situation, and wrote, "Sad day for creative expression. #feareatsthesoul".