The FBI formally accused the North Korean leadership of hacking into Sony Pictures last month, but one of the few Americans to ever set foot in the isolated country thinks U.S. investigators got it totally wrong.
“If the North wanted to hack anything in the world, anything in the world, really, they are going to go hack a movie? Really?” Dennis Rodman said to the Hollywood Reporter, during a recent interview about “The Interview.”
Despite an extensive law-enforcement investigation that provided concrete evidence — including software tools and IP addresses — linking North Korea to similar cyberattacks on South Korean banks and media outlets, Rodman remained dismissive.
“How many movies have there been attacking North Korea?” he said. “And they never hacked those. North Korea is going to hack a comedy, a movie that is really nothing? I can’t see that happening. Of all the companies… really? Over a movie?”
Rodman’s comments arrived on the eve of the premiere of his documentary “Dennis Rodman’s Big Bang in Pyongyang,” a film that chronicles the former NBA champion’s effort to organize a basketball game with former NBA players for North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s 31st birthday. The movie, directed by Colin Offland, premieres today.
A profanity-laden clip of the film released ahead of time captures a rambling and distraught Rodman defending his decision to build a relationship with the North Korean regime and lamenting the death threats he receives.
“None of these people in the world that are way more famous than I am are doing what I’m doing,” he says before breaking down in tears.
Rodman goes on to note that he’s been asked by critics whether he’s aware of the regime’s link to alleged atrocities, but appears shocked by the gruesome allegations.
“‘Did you know he just killed his uncle and chopped his head off?'” Rodman says, imitating a critic. “No, I didn’t know that. What? ‘Does you know he kills people a lot?’ Do we do that in America? Yeah.”
“…I’m not Martin Luther King,” he adds.
It’s not the first time Rodman has staunchly defended to the media his decision to travel to North Korea. Last year, on CNN, Rodman said athletes were making great sacrifices by traveling to the reclusive country and making contact with North Koreans.
Asked about “The Interview,” Rodman said he was initially in favor of the film until he learned more details about the plot, according to the Reporter.
“They’re doing a movie about North Korea, and it’s a comedy,” he recalled thinking. according to the Hollywood Reporter. “And I went cool, cool, cool. The next thing you know, I’m seeing some of the pieces, and he wants to go kill this guy? That ain’t funny. That is not funny.”
Rodman told the publication that he even had an invitation from Seth Rogen’s representatives to make an appearance in the film, but by the time he responded it was too late. Had Rodman gotten the chance to speak with Rogen, he said, he would have suggested an alternative approach.
“I would have liked to have said to [Rogen], ‘Let’s go to North Korea and actually see it. See what’s really going on,” he told the Reporter. “Then make your movie.”
Even now, the invitations stands, Rodman noted.
“I would still [take Rogen] now,” he told the Reporter. “I would ask Seth and all those involved in the movie to go to North Korea with me. And then do an interview with me about the movie.”
Once you’re up close to the North Korean leadership, Rodman told the Reporter, the majesty of the regime becomes apparent.
“To see a guy like that , this 5-foot-2 or 5-foot-1 guy, have that much power, in a country like that, and see people get emotional, crying, 20 thousand of them clapping, it was so surreal,” Rodman said. “It blew my mind.”