James Franco says "The Interview" saga 'caught people off guard'

January 26th, 2015

James Franco admits the controversy surrounding 'The Interview' caught people ''off guard''.

The 36-year-old star appears alongside Seth Rogen in the much-discussed comedy film - which initially saw its release pulled because of terrorist threats - and Franco admits the movie industry was unprepared for what unfolded.

He explained: ''A lot of people were taken off guard by what happened. Even the industry press had some very strange reactions to it.''

According to Franco, the film - which features North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, played by Randall Park - raises questions about how best to protect ''artistic freedom''.

However, the actor has thanked US President Barack Obama for supporting the release of the film, even though he mistakenly called him ''James Flacco'' during a recent news conference.

Franco told The Hollywood Reporter: ''It's still up in the air about how this should be dealt with and how we deal with it in a responsible way, in a way that protects artistic freedom.

''Everybody agrees that that is something we all value, and we should protect, but how we do that is what's in question, how we do that best. But I'm glad the president has James Flacco's back.''