Trump, Kim star in mock movie trailer produced by White House
'Two men, two leaders, one destiny,' narrator proclaims
When U.S. President Donald Trump sat down to make the case for peace to North Korean leader Kim Jong-un on Tuesday, he rolled out what amounted to a movie trailer starring the two leaders.
Trump said he urged Kim and other North Korean officials to watch a four-minute video produced before the Singapore summit. Trump said Kim and other senior members of the North Korean delegation huddled around an iPad to watch the video, which appeared to draw more from the hype of Hollywood than the careful language of diplomacy.
"I think he loved it," Trump said, referring to Kim, adding that he gave the North Koreans their own copy.
Kim's late father and predecessor, Kim Jong-il, was a Hollywood film buff, with a special affection for director Steven Spielberg and actress Elizabeth Taylor and an extensive video library to match, according to defectors and intelligence agencies.
White House officials also arranged for the video to be played for reporters at Trump's post-summit news conference.
The video was produced by the U.S. government to help persuade Kim to make a deal, a White House official said. "An audience of one," the official said.
The video mixes both Hollywood cliches and propaganda film tropes that play over a pulsing orchestral score. It appears to be composed almost entirely of generic stock footage and old news clips, including images of Trump and Kim smiling.
There is an English-language version and one in Korean, the narrator having a South Korean accent.
At one point, it features a montage with babies and car factories, suggesting what a more prosperous future for North Korea could look like if it agreed to give up its nuclear arsenal. To illustrate the point, ballistic missiles are shown in reverse motion, pulling back into their launch silos.
"The past doesn't have to be the future," a narrator says as the video showed the demilitarized zone that has separated North and South Korea since the end of the Korean War in 1953.
Then later, the narrator says, "a new world can begin today," as an animated sequence suggests what the impoverished North Korea could look like from space if it was as brightly lit up at night as the far more prosperous South Korea.
Trump and Kim reached a broad agreement, short on details, that North Korea would move toward denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula, while the United States committed to providing security guarantees and suspending joint military exercises with longtime ally South Korea — a major irritant to the North but one which the U.S. and South Korea have always said was necessary.
The credit on the video said it was produced by Destiny Pictures, which disrupted the morning of Mark Castaldo, who owns a Los Angeles-based production company with the same name, albeit with a different logo than the one in the video.
"We had nothing to do with that film," Castaldo said in a telephone interview, adding he had awoken to a deluge of calls and emails from journalists around the world. "Propaganda, all that stuff, that's not something we'd get involved in."
At times, the video appeared to address Kim directly, suggesting he could make a choice that would open North Korea to new investment and step into a starring role in a moment in history with Trump.
"Featuring President Donald Trump and Chairman Kim Jong-un in a meeting to remake history, to shine in the sun," the narrator says. "One moment. One choice. What if?"
While Trump hailed the Singapore summit as a great success, U.S. lawmakers expressed skepticism, saying they wanted more details about what exactly was discussed. Some also questioned whether Trump gave away too much in promising to halt joint U.S.-South Korea military exercises.
In statements relayed by North Korea's state-run news agency, Kim called for Pyongyang and Washington to end "irritating and hostile military actions" against each other. But it made no mention of North Korea giving up its nuclear weapons program.
If the United States takes genuine measures to build trust with North Korea, the North will take additional goodwill measures, Kim said, according to a Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) report on Wednesday.
The two leaders also accepted invitations to visit one another.
"Kim Jong-un invited Trump to visit Pyongyang at a convenient time, and Trump invited Kim Jong-un to visit the U.S. The two top leaders gladly accepted each other's invitation," KCNA said.