Head explosion scene edited in Sony film The Interview following concerns

James Franco stars in Sony Pictures film The Interview.  -- PHOTO: SCREENGRAB FROM YOUTUBE
James Franco stars in Sony Pictures film The Interview.  -- PHOTO: SCREENGRAB FROM YOUTUBE

LOS ANGELES - A scene in which North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's head explodes in the film The Interview was edited following Sony top management's worries about it.

North Korea had raised objections to the Sony Pictures film, a spoof about a plot to kill Mr Kim that could have led to the recent cyberattack on the studio's computers.

Citing inter-company emails posted online this week by the hackers following the cyberattack, Bloomberg News reported that Sony Corp chief executive officer Kazuo Hirai personally approved the edited scene.

In a Sept 29 email, he also told Sony Pictures Entertainment co-chairman Amy Pascal to make sure that the scene #337 did not appear in versions of the film released outside the United States.

Emailing him earlier, Ms Pascal had assured him that in the shot, "there is no face melting, less fire in the hair, fewer embers on the face, and the head explosion has been considerably obscured by the fire, as well as darkened to look less like flesh."

She also says that, in getting it edited, she had to cajole and faced resistance from the film-makers, including comedian Seth Rogen who co-produced, stars in and co-directed it.

She confided in Rogen in a Sept 25 email that the Sony headquarters had never before intervened in her work in her career as head of Sony's film production unit.

She writes, "As embarrassing as this has been from my point of view, you have to appreciate the fact that we haven't just dictated to you what it had to be.

"Given that I have never gotten one note on anything from our parent company in the entire 25 years that I have worked for them."

The Interview is due to open on Dec 25.

It stars Rogen as a producer and James Franco as host of a celebrity tabloid show.

They land an interview with Mr Kim, upon which the CIA recruits them to kill the leader.