20th Century Fox bought a comedy pitch back in February called Diplomats. Tim Story (Ride Along) was to direct a script written by Jonathan Abrams and inspired by NBA Hall-of-Famer Dennis Rodman’s “diplomatic” basketball trips to North Korea. Rodman is, by his own account, close friends with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. He made four separate trips to North Korea, each time as a guest of Jong-un–so there is ample material. Diplomats was proposed as a sort of buddy pic–or a “two-hander” in Hollywood jargon. Just the sight gag of the diminutive Jong-un and the 6’7″ Rodman was probably enough to sell it.
How’s that going, we wonder? Is there any way–given what’s happened to Sony–that Fox continues down the path to producing Diplomats? Is stopping now just smart business? Or is ditching the project a way of giving into a terrorist threat that hasn’t even been made yet? It’s got to be very difficult for Abrams to write the script with the spectre of Jong-un looming over him. Imagine writing a successful comedy when you’re constantly wondering is that joke a little too insensitive? Or: might this slapstick scene inspire a hack that will bring down the studio? Writing comedy is already harder, supposedly, than dying. And when comedians bomb, it’s meant figuratively. We’re in new territory here. Will Fox just scuttle Diplomats? Guess how the shareholders will vote.