Overall, it’s not a pretty picture. Hollywood’s top stars and most powerful movie executives became victims since the attack began Nov. 24, after an anonymous group called the Guardians of Peace leaked private emails and threatened terror attacks in an ultimately successful attempt to halt the theatrical release of The Interview. Here, Us Weekly rounds up the key events since the internal messages were leaked to the public,
Since the plot of The Interview was made public, North Korea warned against possible ramifications with the release of comedy, which stars Seth Rogen and James Franco as CIA-recruited journalists deployed on a mission to assassinate Kim Jong-un, the dictator of the secluded state.
Kim Jong-un later slammed the movie via a mouthpiece in an interview with The Telegraph UK.
2. The Attack
Sony fell victim to a cyber attack on Nov. 24, resulting in the release of celebrity aliases, as well as salaries of top executives and lower-level employees (like British royal Princess Beatrice, who made just $30,300 as an intermediate coordinating producer). Additional sensitive information was pillaged and exposed by the hackers, and slowly leaked in piecemeal strikes to the public. Find out more details about the hackers.
Hotshot Hollywood producer Scott Rudin had some harsh words about Brad Pitt‘s wife in an email exchange published Dec. 9. Rudin (Captain Phillips, Moneyball) and Sony Pictures chair Amy Pascal are not seeing eye to eye on an issue involving Jolie and director David Fincher.
“I’m not destroying my career over a minimally talented spoiled brat who thought nothing of shoving this off her plate for eighteen months so she could go direct a movie [Unbroken],” Rudin wrote. Two days after the emails were leaked, Jolie was snapped staring down an animated Pascal at a breakfast.
An incendiary email exchange between Amy Pascal and Scott Rudin, joking about President Barack Obama‘s race, was posted on Dec. 10. In the messages, Pascal asked Rudin for suggestions about what she should discuss with the President at a “stupid” fundraising breakfast hosted in November 2013. The Hollywood power players had to later issue apologies for their remarks.
Oscar-winning writer and producer Aaron Sorkin, known for shows like The West Wing and The Newsroom, became a victim of the company-wide hacking when leaked emails between him and Pascal revealed his actual sentiments about Oscar-nominated actor Michael Fassbender.
“I don’t know who Michael Fassbender is and the rest of the world isn’t going to care,” Sorkin wrote of the star. Meanwhile, another producer Michael De Luca commented about Fassbender’s bodily claim to fame. “He just makes you feel bad to have normal-sized genitalia,” the Captain Phillips producer wrote about the actor, who went full-frontal nude in the 2011 drama Shame.
You think he’s mad? After Sony execs Michael Lynton, Clint Culpepper, and Amy Pascal dissed Kevin Hart in a leaked email exchange, the actor took to his Instagram on Dec. 11 to defend himself.
“I’m not saying he’s a whore, but he’s a whore,” Culpepper wrote after Hart requested to be paid for a promotional tweet. “It’s not as if we paid him 3 [million] and 4 [million] respectively for his last 2 films thinking he might be nominated.”
Hart’s response? “Knowing your self worth is extremely important people…I worked very hard to get where I am today,” the Philly-bred comedian wrote.
This was very very meta. While top executives dealt with the fallout over the Sony hacks, George Clooney appeared to be prepared for the gross invasion of privacy, as it was revealed in an email published by Gizmodo on Dec. 11.
Clooney predicted the hacks in a September email to Pascal, starting with his subject line: “Knowing this email is being hacked.” In the body, the actor wrote: “And for those of you listening in… “I’m the son of a news man…” wrote the Oscar winner, whose father is broadcast journalist Nick Clooney.
Billionaire investor Mark Cuban threw a fit over his compensation on ABC’s Shark Tank, in an email exchange revealed by Business Insider on Dec. 12. Cuban Companies general counsel Robert Hart was in negotiations with Pascal and Sony Pictures TV president Steve Mosko to discuss Cuban’s contract for his role on the popular entrepreneurial reality show. Cuban was told he would make $30,000 per episode to appear on season 5 of Shark Tank, which would go up to $31,200 in season 6 and $32,488 in season 7.
“Seriously?” Cuban retorted. “No chance… this is beyond an insult and it shows no one cares about the investments I have made or the entrepreneurs. now it’s really business.. ”
In emails obtained by The Daily Beast on Dec. 13, it was revealed that Pascal had some less-than-favorable thoughts about the seasoned actor after DiCaprio pulled out of the Steve Jobs biopic.
“Was this about the deal… or did he just change his mind?” Mark Gordon, the producer of the Aaron Sorkin-penned film, wrote to the Sony Pictures head.
“The latter,” Pascal wrote, before Gordon responded, “Horrible behavior.”
“Actually despicable,” Pascal added.
Hollywood born-and-bred teens Willow and Jaden Smith — ages 14 and 16 — were mocked by TriStar exec Tom Rothman, who sent an email to Pascal with a link to a fascinating interview that the kids conducted with The New York Times.
“1. Read this,” Rothman wrote to Pascal. “2. they r home schooled: don’t let this family date your movies!!!”
The actor’s 22 Jump Street costarring Jonah Hill brought in $331 million worldwide, which prompted Tatum to celebrate the film’s success in a ridiculous email. “F YOU TED !!!! SECOND OF ALLLL TIMMMMME BEEEOTCH!!!! COME ON JUMPSTREETERS WE GOT CATE BLANCHETT WIT DIS BOX OFFICE BITCHES!!!!!!!!” Tatum wrote, throwing shade at Mark Wahlberg’s Ted.
The jubilant actor then followed it up with a literal trail of laughter.
An email leaked and posted on Dec. 15 by Defamer revealed that Pascal was not fan of the upcoming, Untitled Cameron Crowe-directed movie starring Bradley Cooper, Emma Stone, Rachel McAdams, and Bill Murray.
“People don’t like people in movies who flirt with married people or married people who flirt,” she wrote. “The satellite makes no sense. The gate makes no sense. I’m never starting a movie again when the script is ridiculous. And we all know it.”
The longtime Jeopardy! host considered leaving the popular game show, after an unfortunate incident occurred on the show during Kids Week in early December. Trebek had to be the bearer of bad news to a young contestant, and according to leaked emails, he did not do enough to make the little one feel better.
“Alex’s intentions were good,” a producer wrote, but the segment needed to be filmed again “to appease an upset mother who could start another feeding frenzy about Alex’s perceived insensitivity.”
Trebek, unhappy with the mother’s reaction and producers, softly threatened to leave. “I want to say that for 30 years I’ve defended our show against attacks inside and out… If I’m making mistakes and saying things you don’t like, maybe it’s time for me to move on.”
Sony Pictures Entertainment announced on Dec. 17, that it was pulling the theatrical release of the comedy, after terror attack threats were made by the same group responsible for the Sony hacks.
“Those who attacked us stole our intellectual property, private emails, and sensitive and proprietary material, and sought to destroy our spirit and our morale — all apparently to thwart the release of a movie they did not like,” Sony said in its statement.
American intelligence officials told The New York Times that the North Korean government was “centrally involved” in the Sony hacking.
The FBI confirmed on Friday, Dec. 19, that North Korea was indeed behind the massive Sony hack. In a statement the organization concluded: “As a result of our investigation, and in close collaboration with other U.S. government departments and agencies, the FBI now has enough information to conclude that the North Korean government is responsible for these actions.”
President Barack Obama called out Sony Pictures Entertainment on Friday, Dec. 19, saying it was a “mistake” to have pulled the theatrical release of The Interview: “They should have called me,” he said. Plus, he flubbed James Franco’s name.
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