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Film / The Interview

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This movie is not approved by the Glorious Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

"Making and releasing a film on a plot to hurt our top-level leadership is the most blatant act of terrorism and war and will absolutely not be tolerated."
(North) Korean Central News Agency

The Interview is an action/comedy/political satire film that was scheduled for a Christmas 2014 release. The backlash to the movie's controversial premise garnered much more attention to the movie than itself.

It started with a simple concept: Talk Show host Dave Skylark (James Franco) and his producer Aaron Rapaport (Seth Rogen) are approaching the thousandth episode of their show, and are looking for the perfect Milestone Celebration for the show after being criticized for running too many fluff pieces. Eventually, they find out that Kim Jong-un (Randall Park), the notorious dictator of North Korea, is a big fan of theirs. Aaron meets Sook (Diana Bang), an extremely sexy North Korean propagandist working for Kim and both sides immediately schedule an interview. Shortly before the duo disembark to the country, they are approached by CIA Agent Lacey (Lizzy Caplan), who gives them a new directive: to assassinate the "glorious leader". Unfortunately, the duo seemingly aren't particularly smart or savvy enough to operate as spies, and Hilarity Ensues during their attempt to carry the mission out.


The aforementioned backlash led to a cyber-attack on Sony possibly orchestrated by the North Korean government itself, resulting in a great deal of leaked data and threats of a worse attack. In reaction to the threats, several film chains pulled support for the initial Christmas release of the movie. Columbia Pictures followed suit and pulled the film completely, with no immediate plans to release the film on any format. However, after so much protest over the cancellation (such as an IMDb stunt involving the film being the highest-rated on the site and even a call-out from President Barack Obama), Columbia eventually changed their minds and announced that the film would be available to watch on YouTube HERE, and would premiere the film as a limited release at independent movie theaters on Christmas Day. It eventually was released on Netflix in late January.


Not to be confused with the 2003 Dutch film Interview directed by Theo Van Gogh, or its 2007 American remake directed by Steve Buscemi (which Franco also appeared in).

Shove these tropes up your ass!

  • Actor Allusion: Skylark pointing out that Aaron's a Jew, just like Aaron's actor Seth Rogen.
  • Action Girl: Sook proves to be skilled with an RPD Light Machine gun as evidenced by her shooting out numerous North Korean soldiers when they try to get into the control room.
  • Advertising by Association: Advertisements said it was "From the Western capitalist pigs who brought you Neighbors and This Is the End".
  • Affectionate Parody: The final plan to embarrass and humanize Kim Jong-un on live television becomes a silly version of Frost/Nixon.
  • Alas, Poor Villain: Kim Jong-un's death is portrayed rather melancholically, to the tune of "Firework" by Katy Perry.
  • Aluminum Christmas Trees: Played with. It is certainly odd for Kim to have a Sikorsky Sea King in his arsenal, but North Korea did secretly take in 87 MD 500 helicopters for use as light attack craft.
  • All for Nothing: A large part of the film is dedicated to replacing poison strips Dave and Aaron lost. Both replacements are lost also.
  • Ambiguously Bi: Dave seems omni-sexual, judging from his obvious attraction to women like the CIA agent, as well as other weird things he says (apparently he watches gay porn). He did kiss Aaron and Kim at one point.
  • Answer Cut: Kim shows Dave his T-34 tank. Dave asks "Does this thing still run?" Cut to Dave and Kim, joyriding across the plain in a tank.
  • Arc Words: A lyric from Katy Perry's "Firework":
    Do you ever feel like a plastic bag. Drifting through the wind. Wanting to start again?
  • Armoured Closet Gay: Eminem, of all people, comes out as gay in his interview. The irony being that in-universe, he's apparently been living in a Transparent Closet and is honestly surprised no one's figured it out yet.
  • Armor-Piercing Question: Skylark appears to be sticking to the approved script for his interview with Kim Jong-un, until he decides to ask why Kim Jong-un spends so much money on nuclear weapons instead of feeding his own people. After stammering for a short bit in response, Kim replies with several of his own regarding America. And then, later in the same conversation, Skylark drops the Arc Words on Kim Jong-un, leading directly to his Villainous Breakdown.
  • Artistic License:
    • Artistic License – Economics: The decoy grocery store. While North Korea is infamous for such decoys, we know from direct observation (much less reports from defectors) that Pyongyang itself has widely available food, even more so since the generally-held end of the famine more than ten years before the film was made (as a matter of direct government policy). While such things certainly exist elsewhere in the country, it'd be completely unnecessary in the comparatively extravagant capital (and exceedingly hard to find), and it does serve a relevant example, as noted below.
    • Artistic License – Military: The film's main conflict is based upon the pretense that it's 2014 and Kim Jong-un already has made missiles capable of flying into and detonating the United States. Kim is still, and hopefully always will be far behind on being able to make rockets that powerful and advanced. North Korea has always tried building functional nuclear rockets since 1994, although they are too hindered in scientific knowledge, money and physical resources to do so.
  • Asian Speekee Engrish: Dave makes a racist joke that North Koreans must talk like this, but it turns out Kim and a few of his generals can speak at least moderate-level English. Kim in real life learned English at a Swiss school.
  • As Himself: Rob Lowe, Eminem, Bill Maher, Seth Meyers, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and Nicki Minaj (in a deleted scene.)
  • Asshole Victim: Discussed and played straight in the case of one of Kim's bodyguards who accidentally took the poison they meant to give to him. Remember, he was helping to keep a tyrannical dictator in power.
  • Ass Pull: Parodied with Dave surviving being shot by Kim due to his wearing a bulletproof vest. The film Lampshades this by having Agent Lacy remark that she has no idea where he got that vest, but that she's glad he has it.
  • Ass Shove: To keep guards from finding it, Aaron is forced to shove a package the size of a Coke bottle up his butt. While instructing Aaron to hide the package there, Lacey subtly implies having anal experience.
    Lacey: The tip is the worst part. Take my word for it.
  • Bad Liar: Kim Jong-un is this during the interview. At first, he tried to lie to Dave that North Korea benefits from a great bounty of food, but Dave points out that the grocery store was fake. This causes Kim to begin his Villainous Breakdown and even then Kim doesn't stop lying. Kim still says that his people are well-nourished despite United States sanctions, which isn't true given that they're all starving.
  • Big Bad: Kim Jong-un
  • Big Damn Heroes: An un-named North Korean soldier guns down a group of troops that had Skylark, Rapoport, and Sook cornered, and helps them make their escape.
  • Big, Stupid Doodoo-Head:
    • "The Hero Sucks" Song at the beginning is full of these kinds of taunts and insults against America.
    • During Kim's Villainous Breakdown near the end, a henchman points out the irony of Dave "honeydicking" him when he was trying to do the same to Dave. Kim's reaction? To shoot said henchman in the ass and scream, "Your butthole is ironic!"
  • Bilingual Bonus: The poster for the movie has the phrase, "Don't trust these ignorant American bastards" in Korean under the title, while the missiles on the poster read "The war will be started." Also, the Russian-made tank in one of the final scenes has "Hit or Miss" in Russian on the side and Kim Jong-Un's helicopter appears to have the phrase "Let's raise our hands against the Americans" in Korean painted on the side.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Kim Jong-un is very good at duping others (especially Dave) into thinking he's a sympathetic, down-to-earth guy.
  • Black Comedy: The entire premise of the film revolves around planning and carrying out an assassination attempt of a political leader - while the real-life counterpart to said leader is still alive and in power - and playing it completely for laughs.
  • Bloody Hilarious: Some quite graphic violence obviously meant as over-the-top humor, like when a North Korean soldier is accidentally shot in the head and everyone is splattered with Pink Mist.
  • Bring My Brown Pants: The CIA reports that North Koreans believe Kim Jong-un is a god and that he doesn't defecate. Being humiliated causes him to shit himself on live television around the world.
  • Brick Joke:
    • Dave's ridiculous plan to escape after shooting Kim on screen, including the bulletproof vest, convenient escape tunnel just outside the compound, and SEAL team 6 extracting them and bring them back to America using an inflatable motorboat all happen at the end.
    • Agent Lacy warns Aaron and Dave beforehand that there are Tigers in North Korea. Guess what shows up later?
  • Broken Pedestal: Throughout the film, Skylark and Kim bond quite a bit. Skylark then finds out the well-stocked grocery is fake, and begins to take the assassination mission more seriously.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Dave is an idiot. He parties too recklessly, acts like a fool, and is easily distracted by puppies. But he is a master manipulator that can get any celebrity to admit to their darkest secrets on live television.
  • Bulletproof Vest: After Kim Jong-un realizes Skylark is trying to humiliate him in front of the nation during his speech, he shoots him in the chest. Luckily he is saved by one of these... exactly as he hoped.
  • The Bully: Kim Jong-un. He uses nuclear weapons to intimidate other countries into submitting loyalty to him just like his brainwashed citizens. Even so, a lot of Kim's higher-ranking generals are hostile towards Aaron and Skylark for being Americans.
  • Butt-Monkey:
    • A lot of bad things happen to Aaron over the course of the movie.
    • The North Korean villagers, they've gone malnourished their entire lives from food shortages and are forced to listen to music and radio propaganda on a daily basis.
  • The Caligula: Kim either can't or won't solve the hunger problem in his country, and is such a volatile and insecure leader that he is willing to nuke the whole world just to prove himself. Unfortunately, this is somewhat Truth in Television given the suffering and humans rights violations that have occurred under his regime.
  • Call-Back: As Eminem admits his sexuality on live TV, his publicist bursts into the control room and tries to kill the feed, causing random starwipes to appear onscreen and the camera angles to skew. During the climactic struggle in the control room in North Korea, the starwipe button is hit when Aaron and the tech bite each other's fingers off, and the camera angle skews when the tech is... uh... impaled on a joystick.
  • The Cameo: Song Kang-ho, then a huge star in Korean cinema who later became famous worldwide when he starred in Parasite, has a wordless cameo as a North Korean soldier watching the interview.
  • Catchphrase:
    • "This is Dave Skylark, signing off."
    • "They hate us cuz they ain't us" is sort of one for the movie itself.
  • Celebrity Casualty: Kim Jong-un's helicopter is shot down, resulting in both his death and a ton of controversy at the time of the film's release.
  • Chekhov's Gag: Skylark's completely idiotic plan on how he's going to kill Kim is exactly how the end of the movie goes. He also does end up writing a tell all about the events, minus the CIA's involvement.
    • Before that, there's a running gag over how Skylark is constantly Honeypotted/Honeydicked. Skylark himself does this to Kim during his interview.
  • Chekhov's Armory: Katy Perry's "Firework" lyric, the tank from Kim Jong-un's collection.
  • Comically Missing the Point: When Agent Lacy states that the tiger who sees Aaron has night vision, Skylark asks, "That tiger has night vision goggles?!"
  • The Comically Serious:
    • Several government officials in both the US and North Korea, in particular the fact that both groups end up discussing the possibility of Aaron hiding something in his butt.
    • Most of the humor in the Eminem interview comes from how casually serious the rapper is while coming out, contrasted with the abject shock of everyone else in the scene.
  • Concealment Equals Cover: Subverted when Sook shoots the soldiers straight through the solid door.
  • Crapsaccharine World: North Korea is presented as this to the interviewers (which is standard North Korean protocol for international meetings) even though they're aware of how bad life in that country is.
  • Deadly Euphemism: Agent Lacy's request to "take [Kim Jong-un] out" goes over the heads of both Skylark and Rapoport at first.
  • Defrosting Ice Queen: Sook. Also, Agent Lacy, to a minimal extent.
  • Didn't Think This Through:
    • As it turns out, Skylark really is not the type of journalist that is capable of conducting a serious political interview. He starts off well, asking Kim about North Korea's concentration camps and famine. However, after the initial shock wears off Kim parries brilliantly, citing the US economic embargo and American incarceration rates, leaving Dave unable to answer. Dave finally gets Kim not by being a hard-hitting journalist but by being what he is, a celebrity schmoozer who gets Kim to cry on the air.note 
    • Humiliating a violent dictator on live television is a good way to invite his murderous wrath upon you.
  • Disney Death: Skylark briefly appears to have been killed when Kim Jong-un shoots him, even to the point of gasping out last words and collapsing on the floor, until he pops back up to open his shirt for the reveal of the Bulletproof Vest.
  • The Ditz: Although Dave means well, he is quite the himbo, and is easily manipulated by both the CIA and, until the Motive Rant, Kim Jong-un. He really isn't sure whether or not to believe the rumors that Kim doesn't pee or poo.
  • Double Take: After Eminem casually admits that he's gay, everyone involved with the show has one.
  • Dude, Where's My Respect?: After Dave announces to the world that Kim Jong-un will be interviewed on Skylark Tonight, every other news outlet takes the opportunity to mock the idea due to the show's normal content; Dave asserts that it's because "They hate us 'cause they ain't us."
  • Dumbass Has a Point: Dave was probably right that Kim would suspect something if he showed up with the specialized CIA bag instead of a more fashionable one.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: North Korea returns to democracy, becomes more integrated with the rest of the world, and the possibility of re-unification with South Korea is now on the table. Meanwhile, Skylark and Rappaport enjoy their positions as respected journalists.
  • 11th-Hour Superpower: The climax involves the protagonists taking on Kim Jong-un from within the latter's tank.
  • Embarrassing Nickname: Dave gets the code-name 'Dung Beetle' from Agent Lacy. Possibly invoked given her exasperation towards him during the briefing.
  • Enemy Civil War: One breaks out in North Korea at the film's climax.
  • Establishing Character Moment: Sook and Aaron's first meeting is this: Aaron is haggard and thirsty from traversing the Chinese countryside to meet her, and she acts unfeeling towards his suffering and seems to ignore his requests for water... Until a bottled water drops to him as her helicopter flies away.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Kim Jong-un takes the death of his two bodyguards very badly. It was mentioned earlier that they had been with him since childhood.
  • Event Title
  • Evil Counterpart: Kim to Skylark. Both have some very similar issues regarding their fathers, share some common interests in pop culture, and generally aren't so different.
  • Facial Horror: Kim Jong Un's face melts as it is engulfed in flames (but only in the uncensored cut, which wasn't released to the public).
  • Fake Food: While Dave is stepping outside to think about his "friend" Kim's Motive Rant, he comes across the "supermarket" from earlier and finds that not only are the "aisles" just a wallpaper, but the food inside is fake.
  • Fake-Hair Drama: In his interview, Rob Lowe is encouraged to take off his wig on-camera. The result... is less than appealing.
  • Fake Town: Played with with the apparently nice and well stocked supermarket in Pyongyang. Later in the movie, when Dave is stepping outside alone, he comes across it again and realizes that the "aisles" are merely wallpapers and the "food" in the basket is fake, made of plaster.
  • Fan Disservice:
    • Seth Rogen and James Franco naked. Again. Okay, maybe less James Franco but of course the camera focuses on Rogen. Unless you're into that sort of thing.
    • A very unflattering shot of Randall Park (or maybe a chubbier body double?) in the nude.
  • Fanservice Extra: All the sexy Korean ladies that Kim brings in to his party with Dave.
  • Fat Bastard: This is how starving North Koreans perceive Americans and how many perceive Kim Jong-un.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Kim Jong-un tries this as a way of getting Skylark to trust him, making it seem that his dictator persona was just an act. It's after his Villainous Breakdown that he gives up all semblance of being friendly.
  • Fingore: During the fight to hold the control room Rapoport gets a finger bitten off by a technician, he bites the tech's finger off, then the tech bites yet another finger off of Rapoport.
  • Foreign-Language Tirade: Kim mostly talks in English throughout the movie, but after Dave humiliates him with the interview exposing him as a bully, a liar, a thief and overall, a cruel dictator, Kim switches to Korean.
  • Foreshadowing: Dave spells out how the entire last half-hour of the movie will go in the first twenty minutes: When Dave and Aaron are told how to kill Kim, Dave thinks it would be better to just shoot him Gangsta Style on camera rather than with a simple ricin strip, and when asked how he would expect to escape after that, he says he'd be wearing a bullet-proof vest & he would escape through the forest into a secret tunnel to the coast where Seal Team Six would arrive to escort Dave & Aaron to safety on an inflatable motorboat. In the climax, this is exactly how Dave & Aaron escape and whilst Kim doesn't die in the way Dave proposed, he does die in a glorious slow-motion explosion from a tank shell, courtesy of Dave; and whilst someone is shot Gangsta Style in the interview, it's Kim shooting Dave.
  • Freudian Excuse: At least some of Kim's insecurities came from his father telling him that margaritas are gay, and disapproving of his taste in music.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: The initial shot of Kim Jong-un's death had his face flat-out melt from the explosion that kills him. In the final cut the fire covers up his face just before it bursts apart.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Several unnamed North Korean soldiers decide to fight against the regime after seeing the interview.
  • Hellish Copter: Kim Jong-un's helicopter explodes after being hit with a tank shell.
  • "The Hero Sucks" Song: The song the little North Korean girl sings at the beginning is this towards America.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: Dave and Aaron have been best friends and coworkers for ten years. Dave even compares them to one of the most famous examples of the trope: Sam and Frodo.
  • High-Heel–Face Turn: Subverted with Sook - she was already hatching up a plot to bring the Kim dynasty in North Korea down, and decided to use Skylark's show to that advantage.
  • Historical Beauty Update: Randall Park is considerably less portly than the real Kim Jong-un, even after he gained 20 pounds to play the role.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard:
    • Kim Jong Un agrees to let Dave interview him, in order to broadcast his blatant lies to the whole world. The interview goes the opposite of how Kim intended and then he gets killed by Dave at the end.
    • Kim Jong-un is ultimately killed by his own tank, which he previously let Dave drive and shoot.
  • Honey Trap: Turning this into a Discussed Trope was a running gag. Despite Agent Lacey claiming she wasn't doing this, it's pretty clear she was, since she obviously dolled herself up more than usual for her first meeting with Dave, as well as wearing glasses she doesn't need, apparently a Dave turn-on. Also discussed is a hypothetical Spear Counterpart to the honeypot, the "honeydick", who gains your trust with either sexual or (in this case) bromantic favors.
  • Horrible Judge of Character: Dave, who falls for Kim Jong-un's Nice Guy act hook, line, and sinker... at first.
  • Humiliation Conga: The ultimate plan to "take out" Kim Jong-un: showing the entire world, his countrymen included, how vulnerable and human he is. It works.
  • Hypocrite:
    • Kim Jong-un. He criticizes the United States for always threatening him, but defends his nuclear weapons program and tells his generals that he plans to burn a billion humans across the planet. He also presents himself as a benevolent and caring leader when really he squanders North Korea's money on himself for parties, wine and food, and nuclear weapons leaving his people to starve.
    • Agent Lacey. After Aaron accuses Lacey of dressing a specific way in their initial meeting to honey trap Dave (which is true), she twists his words and accuses him of being sexist for saying she contributes nothing to the CIA aside from her looks.
    • The North Koreans make fat jokes about Americans all the time ("Come American, time to get even fatter!") while the man they worship is very obese himself. Not to mention that unlike in American culture, North Korean media depicts being heavier and bigger as more beautiful.
    • Kim is furious to realize that Dave was honeydicking him, but partly because he was supposed to be honeydicking Dave.
  • I Just Shot Marvin in the Face: One of Kim Jong-un's bodyguards happens to be wiping down his pistol during dinner when he suddenly begins to vomit and go into spasms from the poison he was accidentally given several scenes earlier. When the other guard runs over to help him, he ends up getting shot in the face.
  • Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy: Kim Jong-un seems to be afflicted by this during the final showdown with the protagonists, blazing away at them with his chopper's weapons and not scoring any significant hits. The heroes completely avert this by taking Kim out with a single 100mm cannon round.
  • Interrupted Intimacy: Aaron is about to have sex with Sook when Dave barges in, having had his "Eureka!" Moment about Kim.
  • Ironic Echo: Katy Perry's "Firework" is quoted twice (by two different characters) and played twice (with two different versions of the song) in the movie. The first time is while Skylark and Kim Jong-un are bonding over their common interests, with the latter during their final verbal face-off and when Skylark kills Kim Jong-un.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: While Dave argues otherwise, Aaron admits that people hate them because their show is terrible.
    • Also in the interview itself, when Kim Jong-un counters some of Dave's hard-hitting questions by pointing up things wrong with America such as having a higher death per capita than North Korea does.
  • Last-Name Basis: Kim Jong-un is referred to in this way by Dave frequently. It's always "Kim", never "Jong-un".
  • Lock-and-Load Montage: Parodied - Aaron and Sook wind up boinking in the armory instead, but they do get armed up for the final fight.
  • Logo Joke: The mid-'30s-mid-'70s version of the Columbia Pictures logo is used in this film.
  • Lyrical Dissonance: The film opens with a little North Korean girl singing a seemingly beautiful song... until the subtitles make it clear that it's actually an anti-America anthem with lines like "may they drown in their blood and feces."
  • Made of Plasticine: Aaron and the North Korean control tech bite off each other's fingers very easily.
  • Manchild: Both David Skylark and Kim Jong-un, the latter being reduced to crying and pooping in his pants during the interview much like an actual baby.
  • Miles Gloriosus: Kim acts as a god to all of Korea, but his reputation is ruined when Dave exposes his blatant lies on live tv and even makes him cry.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Skylark for switching bags to hide the ricin strip and then telling the security guards that the ricin strip is gum instead of coming up with a better lie such as a bandage.
  • Nuke 'em: When Kim Jong-un finds out about the duo's plot, he prepares to launch North Korea's nukes.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • Aaron, Dave and Agent Lacy all have one when Aaron comes face to face with a tiger.
    "It's a fucking Tiger!"
    • Skylark has one during the party when Kim (who's so drunk he's lost all control) starts ranting about how he's willing to kill millions just to show he won't be taken lightly. Skylark's face clearly shows that he realizes he just seen the real Kim, and that the man is not joking.
    • When Kim Jong-Un is about to be blown to pieces by a Tank shell, his face just screams this trope.
  • Only Sane Man: Aaron seems to be the only one who thinks the whole operation is crazy.
  • Period Piece: The story is stated to take place in 2014.
  • Please Wake Up: After his personal bodyguards Koh and Yoo end up falling victim to the ricin strip, Kim Jong-un panics and begs them this in Korean... to no avail.
  • Psychopathic Man Child: This describes Kim Jong-un to a T. He is extremely immature, volatile, and insecure (wanting to nuke the whole world just to show how manly he is), and Truth in Television is definitely implied.
  • Pre-Climax Climax: Aaron and Sook finally bonking right before the climactic interview.
  • Precious Puppy: Kim Jong-un gives Skylark a puppy right before the interview. Throughout the climax, Skylark's biggest concern is if the puppy is alright.
  • Purely Aesthetic Glasses: Agent Lacy wears a pair to manipulate Skylark into agreeing to the CIA's plan. In the very next scene, after they have agreed to the plan, she is no longer wearing glasses, and claims to have had eye surgery.
  • Real Men Wear Pink: Kim Jong-un's public persona is of a grim Perpetual Frowner, but he turns out to be a Manchild in private, loving fruity drinks, puppies, and Katy Perry songs.
  • Say My Name: Skylark and Kim Jong-un towards one another during the final battle.
  • Self-Deprecation: The opening interview with Eminem, in which he takes the piss out of all the controversy his lyrics has caused over the years. It then turns into an Overly Long Gag in which he comes out the closet.
  • Sexy Walk: Aaron is enchanted by the wiggle in Sook's hips every time she walks away from him.
  • Shameful Strip: Skylark and Aaron are made to strip naked before entering the country. Aaron tries too hard to claim he's not ashamed by badly dancing.
  • Shot in the Ass: After the aforementioned interview and Kim Jong-un's Villainous Breakdown, a North Korean soldier comments on the irony of him being "honeydicked" when he's doing the same to Skylark. Needless to say, Kim Jong-un shot him in the ass.
    Your butthole is ironic!
  • Shown Their Work:
    • The portrayal of North Korean life is actually pretty accurate.
    • Specifically the Pyongyang skyline while the little girl is singing. Even the recently renovated Ryugyong Hotel is shown with its new glass facade.
    • The hilariously fake grocery store and fat kid in front is clearly supposed to be like Kjong-Dong, the propaganda village in the DMZ and the only visible "settlement" in North Korea from the south.
    • Another subtle one is that while they're out at the restaurant notice that the electricity is out everywhere except where Kim is, and of course all pictures of him are illuminated.
    • Kim Jong-un is fluent in English in the film, as is the real Jong-un, who attended an English-speaking school in Switzerland in his teens.
    • Kim Jong-un's statement that the tank (a Soviet-made T-54) was a gift to his grandfather from Stalin isn't too far-fetched, as the T-54 entered service at the tail-end of Stalin's rule over the USSR.
    • Kim Jong-un is a known basketball fan, specifically a fan of the Michael Jordan era Chicago Bulls and has become close friends with Dennis Rodman, who served as a major inspiration for Dave Skylark.
    • The sexy party that Kim uses to seduce Dave with hot Korean girls is a clear reference to Kim Jong Il's (Kim Jong Un's father and predecessor) allegednote  sex parties with nude girls, some of whom the elder Kim may have married.
  • Slow Motion: The movie gives us a nice slo-mo of the tank shell piercing Kim Jong-un's helicopter set to the song "Firework."
  • Small Girl, Big Gun: Director of Communications Sook takes out an RPD machine gun that's roughly two-thirds as big as she is and opens up on a group of North Korean soldiers.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: Jenny Lane's cover of Katy Perry's "Firework" plays as a tank shell hits Kim Jong-un's helicopter, killing him.
  • Spiritual Successor:
    • To Team America: World Police. They occupy different genres (The Interview is a political buddy comedy, Team America is an action-movie parody) but both films have been frequently compared, as they're both about a bunch of hapless idiots ordered to assassinate the head of North Korea, the dictator is a Sissy Villain who claims he's just misunderstood, both attracted ire from North Korea (though in Team America's case it was limited just to the Czech Republic being urged to ban the film; they didn't), and in both films the Kim leaders are killed. One Texas theater even tried to make up for the canceled premiere by offering a consolation screening of Team America, but Paramount quickly squashed that.
    • Others have compared the film to The Great Dictator, another comedic satire of a then-living dictator, and one that received virtually no backlash from Adolf Hitler (who was confirmed to have personally viewed it, though his reaction is unknown).
    • And much of the plot is similar to Pineapple Express, with Franco again playing an amiable doofus and Rogen as his everyman buddy, and the two of them getting way out of their depth in a situation that ends with a violent action scene climax.
  • Take a Third Option: Skylark realizes North Korea has to be stopped but doesn't want to kill Kim Jong-un. He tries a different plan: discrediting him in front of the nation during his speech. Unfortunately, the plan fails as the dictator realizes what Skylark's doing.
  • Tank Goodness: After their attempt to discredit Kim Jong-un goes awry, the duo make an escape in a tank. Kim Jong-un pursues them in a helicopter, and they end up facing off in battle.
  • This Is Gonna Suck: "There's a fucking tiger. Guys, I'm very unhappy now."
  • Touch of Death: The initial plan is for the duo to wear transparent strips of ricin on their hands, then to shake hands with Kim Jong-un to transfer the poison to kill him. Their inability to work well with a substitute causes the CIA to go back to the drawing board.
  • This Is for Emphasis, Bitch!: Dave says "Welcome to Flavor Town, bitches." in the trailer but the scene isn't in the movie.
  • Throwing Out the Script: The final plan the heroes come up with is to sucker-punch Kim Jong-un with several hard-hitting questions once he has sat down to the interview, rather than going with the script his people prepared ahead of time.
  • Tyrannicide: What the CIA wants Dave and Aaron to do to Kim. They get their wish.
  • Undignified Death: Kim Jong-un is killed when a tank shell explodes the helicopter he's in. In most cases this would be played as epic, but it's not so epic when it has him screaming with his face rippling in slow-mo, his body catching on fire, his hair flying off from the blast, his face melting (in the uncensored cut), and the whole thing being scored with Katy Perry's "Firework".
  • Unflinching Walk: Done with a tank, as Kim Jong-un's helicopter crashes and explodes behind them.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Kim Jong-un, after his televised interview concludes with him crying, singing along to "Firework", and shitting himself, goes absolutely and ballistic and shoots Dave "dead" on live television, then shoots his underling in the ass for calling Dave's manipulation of him ironic (considering Kim thought he was the manipulator). When he finds out that Dave is still alive he then goes literally ballistic as he not only tries to kill him in his heavily armed helicopter, he actually starts launching his nuclear weapons over what amounted to a public embarrassment.
  • The Voiceless: The soldiers watching the interview, one of them played by Song Kang-ho, are completely silent.
  • Weapons Understudies: Several North Korean soldiers are seen using versions of AK-series assault rifles that are not actually used in the DPRK. The climax also has Kim Jong-Un pursuing the protagonists in a Sikorsky S-61 helicopter which is also not used in that country.
    • Averted with the tank, which appears to be a completely genuine T-54 and not a CGI model or a fake mockup.
  • "Well Done, Son!" Guy: Dave finds out that Kim Jong-un has some serious daddy issues trying to live up to the path Kim Jong-il set for him. Dave turns this to his advantage in the interview and brings it up at the perfect moment to cause his Villainous Breakdown.
  • Wham Line: Dave shifts the interview when he goes off script and asks: "Then why don't you feed them?"
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: What happened to the ricin strip that fell into a pond or fountain? If anyone ever comes in contact with that water, they're dead within 12 hours.
  • Xanatos Speed Chess: How the climax plays out - The plan is for Dave to go off-script & ask Kim Jong-un an Armor-Piercing Question, breaking the illusion held by North Koreans that he's a benevolent ruler; Kim responds by stammering for a minute, before doing the same thing to Dave about the United States' foreign policy; Dave responds by calling on his private interactions with Kim over their issues over gaining their father's approval, which leads to Kim breaking down in tears & crapping in his pants on live international television; Kim responds by just shooting Dave; Dave plays dead until Kim has left the room, at which point he reveals that he's been wearing a bullet proof vest on the off-chance Kim decided to do exactly that.
  • Your Head A-Splode: The fate of Kim Jong-un.