‘The Interview’ Filmmakers on President Obama: ‘His Rant on Free Speech Got the Movie Released’ (Video)

North Korea comedy’s cinematographer, Brandon Trost, talks the turbulent past weeks and terror threats

Last Updated: January 23, 2015 @ 7:02 PM

The filmmakers behind Sony Pictures’ “The Interview” credit President Barack Obama with getting the movie released, after terrorist threats saw it pulled from U.S. theaters in December.

“Interview” director of photography Brandon Trost opened up about the “domino effect” that began with the November hack of Sony and led to the eventual, innovative release of the film.

“We shot the movie a year before all this went down, and when we made it we were like, ‘It’ll be great! It’s funny! What if we started World War III?'” Trost said in an interview with his alma mater, The Los Angeles Film School.

No one was laughing a year later, when threats from a group claiming to be the Guardians of Peace promised an attack on par with 9/11 to any movie house showing the Seth Rogen-James Franco buddy comedy.

“When we found out about it, I was actually in New York prepping some reshoots for another Seth Rogen movie. I was actually with all the guys, the same producers. We’re all the same team,” he explained. “Everything had like a domino effect. We were out there and once they made a bomb threat, it became real. They canceled the release, Seth and Franco pulled all their publicity. It was a whole chain of events that was like –the wind was knocked out of us for sure.”

As studio co-CEOs Amy Pascal and Michael Lynton eventually canceled the release, President Obama held a Dec. 19 press conference calling the decision a mistake.

“We were on a scout and we stopped for lunch just to watch the President give his address,” said Trost. “When he came on and basically said that he thought that Sony, you know, Sony had made a mistake for pulling it, we all looked at each other in shock.

“We expected him to say, ‘We don’t have enough information to speak at this [time],’ but he went into it. It honestly was the President’s rant on freedom of speech in his address that ultimately got the movie released,” Trost said.

“It’s crazy to say that about a movie, that the President helped you get your movie released,” he concluded.

And released it was: theatrical, video-on-demand and streaming revenues have earned the film over $40 million to date.  The movie will be available for streaming to Netflix subscribers on Saturday.

Watch the video.