Actor's Kim Jong Un role turns more bizarre in TV news coverage

Reuters News
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Posted: Jan 14, 2015 7:55 PM

By Alex Dobuzinskis

PASADENA, Calif. (Reuters) - In the midst of the international imbroglio over his role as North Korea's leader in the screwball comedy "The Interview," nothing was quite so jarring for Randall Park as seeing his face on television as newscasters talked about Kim Jong Un.

"It was crazy to turn on the news and to see my face, yeah on CNN," said Park in his first public remarks since the film's release at the Television Critics Association gathering on Wednesday.

"And they'd be talking about Kim Jong Un, but they'd show my face. And I'm like, that's not Kim Jong Un. That's me."

The 40-year-old Korean American landed the most high-profile role of his acting career in "The Interview," the Sony Pictures film that angered North Korea with its fictional assassination of Kim and triggered a devastating cyberattack on the studio.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation determined the North Korean government was behind the cyberattack on Sony Pictures, which North Korea has denied.

Park, known for playing an ambitious governor on the HBO political comedy "Veep," said he has not fully pieced together what the experience meant to him. But his safety was never an issue, even after hackers made threats of violence to stop the distribution of the comedy.

The hackers who attacked Sony last month invoked the Sept. 11, 2001, hijacked plane attacks on the United States in an online warning telling people to stay away from cinemas showing the film.

"I was never worried for my safety or for getting hacked or any of that during that whole process," said Park, at a presentation of his new ABC comedy about Asian Americans "Fresh Off the Boat."

Sony said last week "The Interview" had earned more than $31 million from online, cable and telecom sales since its December release. It has made nearly $6 million at U.S. and Canada theaters.

Many critics lambasted "The Interview," which stars Seth Rogen and was co-directed by him, as hopelessly unsophisticated.

But Park described his portrayal of Kim as the most layered character he has ever played in a major film.

The only drawback, he said, was the haircut. Kim has his hair buzzed on the sides, and Park went in for the same treatment.

"I felt horrible about it, and I had to walk around like that for a few months, so I wore a beanie everywhere I went," he said.

(Editing by Mary Milliken and Diane Craft)