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'The Interview' comes to Forest Grove after Sony releases controversial film

Photo Credit: NEWS-TIMES PHOTO: JOHN SCHRAG - 'The Interview,' Sony Pictures film that prompted an international controversy, will screen at the Forest Theater in Forest Grove beginning Christmas Day.When Sony Pictures Entertainment announced Tuesday it was reversing its decision not to release “The Interview” due to not-so-veiled political threats from North Korea, Robert Perkins was ready.

The owner of the Forest Theater in Forest Grove and Cornelius 9 Cinemas in Cornelius jumped at the opportunity to “play a first-run movie on [winter] break” — and scheduled “The Interview” to open Thursday, Dec. 25, for eight consecutive days.

Around mid-day Tuesday Perkins got a call from his booking agent.

“She said, ‘Do you want to play it’?” he recounted. “I said ‘absolutely.’”

Eschewing the idea he should think twice before screening the controversial comedy, Perkins said instead he was “excited” to showcase the movie in Forest Grove. “I do not think politics and entertainment should be intertwined."

Sony’s pending release of "The Interview" last week sparked an international incident with North Korea, where some lambasted it as disrespectful to Kim Jong-un, supreme leader of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

After first pulling the film from its release list, company executives announced they would allow the movie’s “limited theatrical release” across the U.S.

Starring Seth Rogan and James Franco, the R-rated film features an assassination plot against Kim Jong-un.

In Forest Grove, “The Interview will play at 4:30, 7 and 9:30 p.m. starting Christmas Day and running through Jan. 1 “to begin with,” Perkins said.

It pre-empts “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1,” which was cancelled at the 400-seat Forest Theater. But Cornelius 9 will show "Mockingjay,” which is rated PG-13, at 5:10 p.m. Friday, Dec. 26 through Thursday, Jan. 1.

“The Interview” will not play at Cornelius 9, where Perkins picked up the option for “Wild,” the screen adaptation of Portland author Cheryl Strayed’s novel about walking the Pacific Crest Trail to deal with the specter of her mother’s death.

For Perkins, it’s the best of both worlds. After news about Sony’s reversal broke online Dec. 23, “a whole lot more traffic” came across his theaters’ Facebook pages.

“We had already had numerous contacts by customers wanting to see ‘The Interview,’” he said. “And we always try to accommodate our customers.”

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