The salary paid to James Franco for his co-starring role in the upcoming film comedy The Interview was nearly $2 million less than his co-star Seth Rogen. The is according to documents leaked by computer hackers who have infiltrated Sony Pictures internal network, and have been exposing sensitive internal information from the company on to the internet.
The hackers apparently infiltrated the Sony system with a type of "malware" — that is, software designed to damage another computer — that was too sophisticated for Sony's cyber security system to detect. Experts suspect that the hacker group, calling itself "Guardians of Peace," is linked to the North Korean government.
The farcical plot of The Interview involves a talk show host and TV producer, played by Franco and Rogen respectively, who obtain an exclusive interview with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un. But before they travel to Pyongyang, they are recruited by the CIA to assassinate Kim.
North Korea has protested the film, and investigators suspect that the government there staged the attack on Sony Pictures as retalitiation.
The cyber-attack crippled many of Sony's internal computer systems, and plundered confidential information. Last week, the hackers obtained digital copies of the Brad Pitt war movie Fury and the upcoming film adaptation of the stage musical Annie, releasing them on to file sharing networks where anyone could download them for free.
The hackers also leaked sensitive information, such as the salary of Sony Pictures boss Amy Pascal, who apparently earns $12 million per year.
The considerably less-impressive salary of another recent Sony hire was also leaked, along with financial information on thousands of other employees. Britain's Princess Beatrice, daughter of Prince Andrew and his ex-wife Sarah Ferguson, has been employed through Sony's London office since January as a low-level "coordinating producer" with an annual paycheck of $30,300, according to the leaked documents.
For their roles in The Interview, James Franco, 36, was paid $6.5 million, while Seth Rogen, 32, collected a check for $8.4 million plus a share of the profits on the film. Rogen also co-wrote and co-directed the movie, with his longtime collaborator Evan Goldberg.
Randall Park, the 40-year-old Korean-American actor who portrays the North Korean dictator in the film, was paid $100,000 for 11 days of shooting on The Interview, according to leaked documents.
James Franco has a reported net worth of $22 million, while Seth Rogen has a net worth estimated at $45 million. The pair, who got their first major exposure as co-stars of the cult-favorite 1999 TV series Freaks and Geeks, have also appeared together in the films Pineapple Express and This Is The End.