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Seth Rogen surprised that North Korea is angry at his new film due in October

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MONTREAL - Seth Rogen breaks into his trademark laugh when he's asked if he's sought Dennis Rodman's help in smoothing things over with North Korea because of his latest film.

"No, I've stayed away from him," he said during a red carpet ceremony at the Just for Laughs Awards on Friday where he was the co-winner of the comedy directors of the year prize.

Earlier this year, Rodman and other retired NBA players visited North Korea for an exhibition game. Rodman appeared friendly with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and was widely mocked in North America after he sang "Happy Birthday" to him.

The basketball player later apologized and said he wouldn't go back to the North.

The North Koreans have gone so far as to lodge a complaint with the United Nations over Rogen's upcoming film "The Interview."

In the film, which is set for release in October, Rogen and James Franco portray television journalists who get an interview with Kim Jong Un and are enlisted by the Central Intelligence Agency to assassinate him.

The North Koreans, in a letter to the UN dated June 27 and quoted by the Los Angeles Times, accused the United States of "sponsoring terrorism as well as an act of war" in allowing the movie to be made and distributed.

The Canadian-born Rogen, who is known for such fare as the comedies "This Is the End," "Pineapple Express," "Superbad" and "Freaks and Geeks" is baffled by the country's reaction.

"It's kind of shocking," he said. "I can't even believe that they even know it exists at this point. We thought it would happen once it came out. I wonder what they'll say when they see it."

However, being threatened with war by a state with nuclear weapons does have its advantages, it seems.

"I think as far as getting the movie out there, it's been helpful," the bearded TV and film star said laughing.

"It lends itself to the whole premise of the movie which is that it's a kind of a ridiculous situation going on over there and as bad as it is, it's bizarre at the same time and I think is worthy of mockery."

Rogen shared the comedy directing award with his frequent collaborator and fellow Vancouverite Evan Goldberg.

"They talk big over there," Goldberg said of the North Koreans with a smile. "They say crazy stuff all the time."

Rogen had a few reasons to attend the comedy festival.

He's also hosting a gala show on Saturday evening to benefit the "Hilarity for Charity" fund started by him and his wife Lauren Miller.

The fund, which is part of the National Alzheimer’s Association, raises money for families struggling with Alzheimer’s care. It also benefits support groups and research into the disease.

"Mostly it's trying to raise awareness among young people, that it's something that needs a lot more attention," Rogen said.

The actor explained he had a personal reason for taking up the cause.

"My mother-in-law was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer's."

He appreciated the help of the comedy festival, which will donate part of the proceeds from the show to the fund.

"I don't know the exact split but it's nice for the charity," he said.

Rogen is also grateful for the comedy director award.

"It's nice whenever someone wants to give you an award for anything," he said. "It feels great. I don't know who votes on it or where it came from. I know very little about it. Anytime you get an award — which doesn't happen often — it's very exciting."

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