“The Disaster Artist” celebrates the joys of bad cinema


James Franco and friends are at it again. Known for a slew of off-the-wall movies including “Pineapple Express” and “This is the End,” the group has assembled once more to bring to life one of cinema’s strangest and most unlikely stories. The plot of their newest film “The Disaster Artist” revolves around enigmatic Tommy Wiseau, the driving force behind the cult classic film “The Room,” which has confused and delighted audiences since its release in 2003.

The film centers around the chance meeting of Wiseau and a man named Greg Sestero, who find each other in the same acting class in San Francisco in the late 90s. Despite Wiseau being heavily criticized by the acting teacher, Sestero begins to respect his fearlessness on stage. When Wiseau suggests they move to Los Angeles to further their acting careers, Sestero accepts, and they begin a long and bizarre friendship together.

Eventually Wiseau concocts the script for “The Room” when Sestero complains of his inability to land acting gigs. Despite the script being incomprehensible and downright odd, Sestero decides to go along with it, eventually starring in the movie as one of the main characters, Mark. From there, the story it only gets stranger. Throughout “The Disaster Artist,” Franco and company attempt to embody the spirit of “The Room,” documenting its unlikely creation and undying popularity along the way.

The movie is based off of the book by the same name, written by Sestero himself and released in 2013 to much acclaim. It’s no surprise that the book only adds to the intrigue surrounding “The Room,” a cultural phenomenon that seems to orbit around the mysterious and contradictory Tommy Wiseau. Persistent rumors and questions about Wiseau and the film’s production, like how the $6 million dollar movie was financed, continue to be a source of delightful investigation for fans of the movie.

Other details, like how Sestero showed Wiseau the film “The Talented Mr. Ripley,” because Matt Damon’s character reminded him of Wiseau, and that the character Mark in “The Room” was based on a mishearing of Damon’s name, seem too good to be true. But that’s the way it goes with “The Room,” and why the story surrounding the movie has proven to be such great fodder for Franco and Seth Rogen, whose production company is behind “The Disaster Artist.”

To add to the mystique of the film, Franco recently answered phone calls in character as Wiseau after they posted a phone number on a billboard advertising the movie. They recently posted one of the conversations on “The Disaster Artist” twitter account. Wiseau had answered the same billboard number when “The Room” was released.

“The Disaster Artist,” after enjoying a limited release on December 1st, will be released to a wide audience starting on December 8th. The film stars James Franco as Tommy Wiseau and Dave Franco as Greg Sestero. It also features Seth Rogen as Sandy Schklair, the script supervisor that worked on “The Room.”

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