Seth Rogen and James Franco are going for laughs with their new film, "The Interview," about a TV journalist and his producer recruited by the CIA to try to kill Kim Jong-un, but they may get a lot more than that.
The North Korean government is calling the film an "act of war" and has promised a "merciless" retaliation against the United States if the film is released. In a statement by North Korea's Foreign Ministry, a spokesman said "The Interview" is the work of "gangster filmmaker[s]" that is triggering "a gust of hatred and rage," according to The Associated Press.
Rogen responded with his typical humor. "People don't usually wanna kill me for one of my movies until after they've paid 12 bucks for it. Hiyooooo!!!" he wrote Wednesday on Twitter.
An unofficial spokesman for the communist nation's supreme leader told the Daily Telegraph last week that the film represented the "desperation of the U.S. government and American society" but that Kim Jong-un still planned to watch it.
This prompted a tweet from Rogen: "I hope he likes it!!"
Rogen, 32, who co-wrote and co-directed the movie, told ABC News' "Nightline" that the idea came from "the thought that these big journalists are face-to-face with the world's worst people and it kind of became a running conversational joke: 'Why don't they kill them?'"
The film brings Rogen and Franco, 36, together again. Friends since appearing together in the cult TV hit "Freaks and Geeks," they also starred in "Pineapple Express" and "This Is the End," as well as the viral video parody of Kanye West's "Bound 2? video.
Their latest film could be their most controversial yet.
"It's a tough subject matter," Rogen told "Nightline." "But I think the best comedies deal with what on the surface might be a tough thing to make light of."