Have you ever seen a movie SO bad you just can't stop watching? Well .. The Room (2003) written, directed by and starring Tommy Wiseau is one of those films, and is now the subject of, The Disaster Artist.
The Disaster Artist was one of my favourite films at The Toronto International Film Festival. Directed by and starring James Franco - the film is based on Greg Sestero and Tom Bissell's non-fiction book of the same name. It brilliantly chronicles the making of Tommy Wiseau's 2003 cult film The Room, widely considered one of the worst movies ever made.
The film stars James and Dave Franco as Wiseau and Sestero respectively, alongside a supporting cast featuring Seth Rogen, Alison Brie, Ari Graynor, Josh Hutcherson, Paul Scheer and Jackie Weaver.
James Franco stated The Disaster Artist was "a combination of Boogie Nights and The Master. According to Franco, Wiseau initially had hoped Johnny Depp would play him, although he later agreed to let Franco play the role. At one point the title was reported to have changed from The Disaster Artist to The Masterpiece in April 2016, though The Disaster Artist was confirmed as the official title when the film's SXSW premiere was announced.
In June 2014, James Franco's younger brother, Dave Franco, informally announced at a midnight showing of The Room that he had been cast in the co-starring role of Greg Sestero. When Wiseau was asked in a Q&A session for his thoughts about Dave Franco playing Sestero, Wiseau praised the decision.
The film marks the first collaboration of Dave with his brother James, as the younger Franco had claimed to seek different projects deliberately, stating in a recent interview that he didn't want people to think he was riding his brother's coat tails.
As studios sought to acquire The Disaster Artist in 2015, one of the film's producers and frequent Franco collaborator, Seth Rogen, was negotiating for the role of The Room's script supervisor Sandy Schklair. Schklair expressed concern over the film's portrayal of him, as Rogen did not pursue contact with him, despite his offers to sit down and discuss the film. The rest of the principal cast was revealed in the days prior to the beginning of filming in early December 2015.
Do you need to see The Room before seeing The Disaster Artist? Quite frankly, I don't think that you do but it will make The Disaster Artist a more enjoyable viewing experience to see how dead on Franco has hit the nail on the head. As an added bonus - you MUST stay through the credits as Franco and his cast recreate many scenes from The Room and show their versions side by side with the real version. NOT a detail is missed.
The Disaster Artist opens in select theatres on Friday Dec 1st and wider across the country on December 8th.
I spoke with Dave Franco at TIFF about working on this film and taking direction from his big brother.
ALSO - Check out my interview with stars Paul Scheer and Ari Graynor