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Saturday 16 December 2017

North Korea not keen on Matt Cooper's movie

Matt Cooper as former NBA basketball star Dennis Rodman, third left, and his entourage arrive at the international airport in Pyongyang, North Korea, Monday, Jan. 6, 2014.
Matt Cooper as former NBA basketball star Dennis Rodman, third left, and his entourage arrive at the international airport in Pyongyang, North Korea, Monday, Jan. 6, 2014.

THE Matt Cooper-narrated documentary film about US basketball legend Dennis Rodman's trip to North Korea may be gathering rave reviews in Hollywood, but it's not going down so well in Pyongyang.

"My understanding is that the North Koreans don't particularly like it, but we think it's fair," said Matt.

The documentary, Dennis Rodman's Big Bang in Pyongyang, saw the Today FM host travel to the secretive communist state in January last year with the retired NBA star.

While there they attended a basketball game to celebrate the birthday of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

"It's not an expose of their prison camps or anything like it because we couldn't get into them - we were only able to see what they showed us," said Matt, "but even that was illuminating."

The documentary has had a screening in the US where it was praised in showbiz dailies Variety and the Hollywood Reporter.

Its arrival on the cinema festival circuit came after cyber attacks forced Sony to pull the general release of The Interview, a comedy caper about US journalists recruited to assassinate Kim.

"The thing about The Interview has created even more interest in it," Matt said, "though in some respects this story is even more bizarre than The Interview was."

The Cork-born presenter spent four "surreal" days in North Korea and admitted he felt intimidated.

"There was paranoia. We couldn't even walk out of the hotel or we'd be almost dragged back in," he said.

The documentary is being shown at the Jameson Dublin International Film Festival, which will run from March 19 to 29.

hnews@hnews.ie

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