Nashville’s independent movie theater will be showing the film that has garnered everything from terrorism threats to presidential support in recent days. “The Interview,” a comedy about a plot to assassinate North Korea’s leader, will be screening at the Belcourt starting Christmas Day.
Sony Pictures had cancelled the movie’s release after anonymous hackers threatened to attack movie theaters playing the film. President Obama called Sony’s decision “a mistake,” and the company announced Tuesday it’s releasing the film as planned.
Belcourt executive director Stephanie Silverman says the theater wasn’t originally interested in the movie — it was geared toward multiplex theaters, not independent cinemas — but she started to take notice after its cancellation.
“This is the kind of thing we do,” she says. “We show films that maybe not everyone loves, that certainly provoke conversation and discussion and sometimes are controversial.”
Silverman compared the situation to Charlie Chaplin’s 1940 satire “The Great Dictator,” which condemned and mimicked Adolf Hitler.
“There were people who tried to shut that film down,” she says. “In this country, we allow those kinds of films to screen and provoke the kind of conversation that they are meant to provoke.”
Silverman says the Belcourt is taking the broad threats seriously, by alerting the Nashville police department and beefing up its own security team. But it’s not overly alarmed, she says — no theater that she knows of has gotten a specific threat.
Update, 5:43 p.m.: According to various news reports, the Premiere 6 in Murfreesboro and the Franklin Theatre will also be screening the film.