MediaPost: You guys took a lot of heat before, during and after “Codename: The Interview.” Were there any points where you felt it might not be worth it, that the risks outweighed the reward?
James Franco: Well, when we were first approached about the project, even we were like, “Whaaaat, you want us to play ourselves in a movie that will never actually be made or released?” I mean, we’ve played a lot of weird roles in our time -- even played ourselves in movies -- but to play ourselves pretending to make a movie just to flush out some cyberterrorists, well, that was a lot for even us to process.
Seth Rogen: Yeah (mimicking Sam Elliott’s “The Stranger” character in “The Big Lebowski”), sometimes you wag the dog, and sometimes the dog wags you.”
Franco: Don’t you mean eat the dog?
Rogen: Jimmy, seriously? “Eat the dog?” North Korea. Think about it.
Franco: Oh, yeah. (Laughter)
MediaPost: We understand much of this is still classified, but what can you tell us about the way it came together, how you were approached and why you agreed to do it?
Rogen: Well, it happened near the end of “This is the End.” We were just about to wrap when the team from Sony approached us and said, “We have another project for you.”
Franco: (Rolls his eyes) I looked at Seth and said, “I’m a little over-committed right now, but you can talk to my agent.”
Rogen: That’s when they said, “No, you don’t understand, it’s not that kind of a project. It involves agents, but not those kind.”
Franco: That’s when we met The Agency.
MediaPost: Can you describe the pitch meeting?
Franco: They pitched it as “Pineapple Express meets Homeland.” Basically, they wanted us to play ourselves playing ourselves.
Rogen: I think I said, “We can do that, but what’s our motivation?” (Giggles.) Honestly, we thought they were kidding at first -- that maybe we were being punked. I started looking around the set to see if there were any hidden cameras.
Franco: There probably were.
MediaPost: What was your motivation? What convinced you to take on the roles?
Franco: We are not at liberty to disclose what they shared with us, but lets just say we were convinced that there was a lot more at stake here than some box office receipts -- that there was a plausible enough threat and that if we didn’t do our part, a lot of people could be hurt.
Rogen: Basically, they convinced us this was the most important role we might ever play.
MediaPost: How do you know it worked?
Franco: We’re still here, aren’t we?
MediaPost: How much footage was actually shot for “The Interview?”
Rogen: Just enough for the trailers, some talk show plugs, and the YouTube video.
Franco: The hard part wasn’t the production, it was getting all the distributors to agree to pull the film before it was ever screened? I think there’s maybe 10-minutes total.
MediaPost: How does it feel to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom for an acting role?
Rogen: Honestly, we’ve been nominated for Oscars…
Franco: What do you mean, “we,” Seth…
Rogen: ...Okay, well, Mother Teressa was never nominated for an Oscar either, but to be in the company of people like her, well that means a lot more to us than any golden statues ever will.
MediaPost: Thank you for your service to our country, and the world.Franco & Rogen: We are just glad we could do our part.