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North Korea: 'The Interview,' starring James Franco and Seth Rogen, should not be released

Seth Rogen (left) and Evan Goldberg promote their

Seth Rogen (left) and Evan Goldberg promote their film "The Interview" at the Hotel Mandarin on June 18, 2014, in Barcelona, Spain. Credit: Getty Images / Robert Marquardt

Seth Rogen and James Franco have teamed up for another comedy, but that's not the headline fall's "The Interview" has grabbed. North Korea wants the United States to block its distribution, as releasing the comedy would be an "act of war."

Though the film isn't mentioned by name, a spokesman for North Korea's Foreign Ministry Wednesday made clear that the plot about TV journalists recruited by the CIA to assassinate North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un isn't being read as satire. "The enemies have gone beyond the tolerance limit in their despicable moves to dare hurt the dignity of the supreme leadership," the unnamed spokesman said via the country's official news agency.

Co-directed by Rogen and Evan Goldberg ("This is the End"), referred to as "gangster" filmmakers, "The Interview" follows producer Aaron Rappaport (Rogen) and TV personality David Skylark (Franco) as they prepare to head to Pyongyang after landing a sit-down with Kim Jong-un, played by a paunchy Randall Park ("Veep"). In the film's official trailer, our protagonists couch the assassination in bromance terms, making "a date" to do the deed.

Hollywood of course cycles through its villains as political and economic times dictate, with the Russians front and center during the Cold War, Germans throughout both World Wars and on. And though cyber terrorists of all nationalities have been the black-hat wearers of choice in blockbusters including "Captain America: The Winter Soldier" and Michael Mann's forthcoming "Cyber," North Korean characters tap into their share of American anxieties in such fare as the "Red Dawn" remake and "Olympus Has Fallen." In 2004, "Team America: World Police" wrapped Kim Jong-il in its marionette strings.

In the trailer for "The Interview," agent Lacey (Lizzy Caplan) tells Skylark and Rappaport that Kim Jong-un's "people believe anything he tells them, including that he can speak to dolphins or he doesn't urinate or defacate." As challenging as those tasks seem, it's certain he can at least keep North Koreans from seeing the movie when it is inevitably born Oct. 10.

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