They say that life imitates art, but sometimes, it's clear that it's the other way around. And so it is for Diplomats, inspired by Dennis Rodman's recent trips to North Korea. The comedy, to be directed by Ride Along's Tim Story, is said to be inspired by the basketball legend's "hoops diplomacy" missions to the isolated country, in which he elicited controversy by palling around with dictator Kim Jong-un.
Diplomats will be produced by Peter Chernin, the New Girl exec who was also behind last summer's blockbuster comedy, The Heat. The film's exact plot is unknown, but it's confirmed that Rodman's highly-publicized North Korean antics will provide the source material. The athlete has visited the country three times, most recently in January, where he played basketball and sang "Happy Birthday" to Jong-un.
It's clear why producers were inspired by Rodman's actions; the idea of a 6'7" basketball legend who moonlights as a Razzie-winning actor striking up a friendship with the reviled leader of the world's most isolated nation is dream movie material. Whatever route Diplomats takes, there's no question its filmmakers have more than enough material to work with.
There's one problem, though: Diplomats has some competition. Last March, it was announced that Seth Rogen would direct, produce, and star in The Interview, a North Korean-set film about a talk show producer (Rogen) and his host (James Franco) who attempt to assassinate the prime minister of North Korea. Sure, the plots of the two films are as different as can be, but they're both set in the isolated country. Seeing as how few, if any, movies have been made about the nation in the past few decades, two North Korean-based films in one year is a lot to handle.
If it comes to a competition, The Interview is already in the lead. Rogen co-wrote the script with This is the End partner Evan Goldberg, and any movie that reunites three members of the Freaks and Geeks cast is automatically a win in our book. If Diplomats wants a fighting chance against The Interview, it better step up its game. We only have so much room for North Korea-set movies in our lives, and if it's Rodman against Rogen, there's no question where we stand.