Just when you thought the saga surrounding The Interview couldn’t get any weirder… balloons.
A North Korean defector plans to airdrop 100,000 copies of the controversial movie on DVDs and USB sticks. The comedy, which features Seth Rogen and James Franco as US journalists tasked with assassinating Kim Jong Un, will be used in an attempt to make the dictator a figure of fun.
"North Korea's absolute leadership will crumble if the idolisation of leader Kim breaks down," Park Sang-hak explained to the Associated Press.
Park defected from the hermit nation to South Korea and now campaigns against the leadership, airdropping pro-democracy leaflets, DVDs and transistor radios from helium balloons. The activist previously worked in Pyongyang’s propaganda department before swimming across the border to China and making his way to South Korea. His activities have angered the North Korean ruling regime, and border guards previously opened fire on the airborne balloons. He has been the target of at least one assassination attempt, in which an agent allegedly planned to prick him with poison tipped needles.
Intriguingly the Human Rights Foundation, which teamed up with Park in this propaganda exercise, appeared to suggest they were in discussions with executives behind the film.
“HRF does not engage in nor does it encourage the violation of copyright or intellectual property rights,” they said in a statement to Gawker. “In the specific case of The Interview, we were approached by an executive from the company involved in the electronic distribution of this film and are currently in useful communications to explore the options available to make distributing this film in North Korea a reality.
"Mr Park is the head of Fighters for a Free North Korea, one of several defector organisations that we will be working with," HRF's director of institutional affairs Alex Gladstein confirmed.
The Interview was at the centre of the unprecedented hack of Sony Pictures in December, which the FBI have since claimed originated in North Korea. The film was eventually released online and in a small number of theatres on Christmas Day, and has gone on to be a reasonable success.