-- George Clooney blasted North Korea in a new interview, criticizing the country following the cyberhacking attack that drove Sony to pull “the Interview” from theaters. But Clooney also blamed Hollywood, saying entertainment figures failed to sign a petition he circulated in support of Sony.
In an exclusive interview with Deadline.com, Clooney said he’s worried the situation could cause a “chilling effect,” with studios wary of taking on controversial projects.
“We cannot be told we can’t see something by Kim Jong-un, of all f------ people,” Clooney said in the interview.
Clooney said he and his agent, CAA’s Bryan Lourd, sent a petition of support to industry executives, but no one would sign the petition.
“As we watched one group be completely vilified, nobody stood up. Nobody took that stand. Now, I say this is a situation we are going to have to come to terms with, a new paradigm and a new way of handling our business. Because this could happen to an electric company, a car company, a newsroom. It could happen to anybody,” Clooney told Deadline.com.
“This is a silly comedy, but the truth is, what it now says about us is a whole lot. We have a responsibility to stand up against this.”
Sony announced it was shelving the film Wednesday, after major movie chains such as AMC and Regal chose not to show the movie because of the threat of attacks. The attack threat followed cyberhackers stealing and leaking Sony executives’ emails. Clooney -- whose correspondence with Sony Pictures exec Amy Pascal was included in the leak -- considered the situation unprecedented.
“The truth is, it’s all new territory and nobody knows how to handle it. I don’t think anyone was prepared for it,” Clooney told Deadline.com. “So now we’ll be prepared for it, hopefully. Everybody was doing their jobs, but somehow, we have allowed North Korea to dictate content, and that is just insane.”
Sony Pictures currently has no further release plans for “The Interview” -- such as a digital or video-on-demand release, a Sony official said.
Despite pulling “The Interview” from theatrical release, Sony added in a statement that it stands by the filmmakers and “their right to free expression.”
Clooney's rep told ABC News that the actor is not planning any further public comment on the issue.