Obama Administration Denies Advising on Move to Pull 'The Interview'
In addition, a source close to the Administration took issue with any suggestion that it advised Sony on the film's release.
CNN anchor Candy Crowley nabbed the interview with Obama, which will be shown in full Sunday for the final installment of her series "State of the Union." Appearing on the network Friday to promote the interview, she recounted that Obama told her no one in the White House talked with Sony about yanking the film.
"They called about the hacking," Crowley, who announced she was leaving the network earlier this month, said on air Obama told her. "There was not discussions about distributing or not distributing."
Obama also told Crowley that had he been approached by Sony he would have personally talked to the movie theater chains about sticking with the Dec. 25 release date.
A senior Administration official who spoke to Variety on condition of anonymity, said, "There was a meeting, and they did present to the government their issue. But to say that we instructed them, or made them to believe that we endorsed the idea of them pulling the film is categorically incorrect. The Administration, and no Administration, is in the habit of instructing businesses what to do or not do or how to conduct their business."
Lynton was responding to President Obama's statement on Friday that the studio's decision to pull the movie was "a mistake." "I wish they had spoken to me first," Obama said, referring to Sony, in a press conference. "I would have told them do not get into a pattern in which you're intimidated by these kinds of criminal attacks."
A rep for Sony did not respond to a request for comment.