North Korea has denounced a new Hollywood comedy about an assassination bid on leader Kim Jong-un as a "wanton act of terrorism" and warned of a "merciless response" unless the US authorities banned the film.

In a statement carried by North Korea's official KCNA news agency on Wednesday, a foreign ministry spokesman said the film was the work of "gangster moviemakers" and should never be shown.

"The act of making and screening such a movie that portrays the attack on our top leadership ... is a most wanton act of terror and act of war, and is absolutely intolerable," the spokesman said.

In his statement, he called on the Obama administration to ban the film and warned that failure to do so would trigger a "resolute and merciless response".

The Interview stars Seth Rogen and James Franco as two celebrity journalists who land an interview with Kim and are then tasked by the CIA with killing him.

The film is due to be released in the US on October 14.

It is not the first time Hollywood has poked fun at a North Korean leader. In the 2004 satirical action comedy Team America, Kim's father Kim Jong-Il was portrayed as a speech-impaired, isolated despot.

Source: AFP