Promoting the October release of their movie The Interview, Seth Rogen and James Franco spoke from backstage at the Tonight Show about the inspiration behind their parody of Kanye West’s “Bound 2” video with Kim Kardashian. Explaining the aftermath and Kanye West’s own reaction to their version, Rogen and Franco detailed an offer from West to perform the parody at his wedding.
“The way I remember is, one night, you sent me an email, I think the video had just dropped,” James Franco said of the origins of the parody. “You said, ‘Check this out. Can you memorize some of these lyrics? I wanna do something with it tomorrow.’ And originally I think I was gonna play him…You had that great idea and then the other great idea of switching it. But then I think we weren’t gonna do the whole video. I think that was my contribution to this: ‘Let’s do all of it and do it shot-for-shot.’”
“It became an obsession almost, we were just like, ‘We have to get it exactly right,’” Rogen added.
“It took us like three hours to do it,” he continued. “Which means that it probably took them less time. Well, I actually know it took them less time. So, we make the video, the odyssey continues. We release it. And then, you know, I’m a big fan of Kanye West so I was obviously a little worried about what would happen when it came out. I was here in New York, actually to do this show, when it premiered, the first episode. I came out and did a joke where I gave him like a $100 bill. I was at my hotel in the lobby, and I heard like, ‘Yo!’
“So, I saw him in the hotel and I instantly was super apologetic. He said that he thought it was funny, thank God. I was like, ‘Man, it was funny, it took us like three hours to make that.’ He was like, ‘Man, you guys spent more time working on it than we did.’ [Laughs] Which, I bet they spent more money on it though. I would imagine. Kanye’s take on it when he talked to me was that it was supposed to be bad. That it was bad for the purpose. I don’t hate it. I love the song. The video, it’s a little crazy. It’s not bad though. It’s entertaining. We’re talking about it still.”
Recalling a phone call from West after that initial response, both actors detailed the phone call they received shortly after.
“We got a call that Kanye West wanted to talk to me and James and we didn’t know what it was about,” Seth Rogen said. “He gets on the phone with us…He was gonna get married and he talked about how maybe wanted us to perform.”
“He was almost shy,” Franco said. “He’s like, ‘I got this idea. I don’t know, but maybe you could come out and do the “Bound” thing. I have the motorcycle and you guys could do it live.’ There was kind of silence for a second after. And then, Seth was like—Seth’s really good. I mean, I’m sure Seth’s heard like a billion pitches of different things so Seth’s good at it. So, he was like, ‘Okay.’ And then Kanye was like, ‘Now that I hear that coming out of my mouth I think maybe it’s not the best idea. Maybe it’d be funny for the first fifteen seconds and then everybody would sit there awkwardly.’ I was game for something. But it seemed like it just wasn’t gonna happen. It was just like, we can just enjoy this phone call.”