James Franco Tackles A Hollywood History ‘Unlike Any Other’ In ‘Disaster Artist’

James Franco Tackles A Hollywood History ‘Unlike Any Other’ In ‘Disaster Artist’

Enlarge this picture toggle caption Justina Mintz/Courtesy of A24 Justina Mintz/Courtesy of A24

The Room (2003) has been called the Citizen Kane of negative movies. Eccentric filmmaker Tommy Wiseau wrote, directed and starred in the film, and it provides since produced a cult pursuing. Around the country, enthusiasts flock to midnight screenings.

Actor James Franco also found himself drawn to The Room. In 2014, after reading a nonfiction book about the film’s creation (called The Disaster Artist) Franco realized he wanted to move the movie’s backstory story into another film.

“It’s a Hollywood story, but it’s uncommon and unlike any various other,” Franco says. “Some persons have described this film as though an alien originated from another world, came down and tried to recreate regular human life, and simply type of [misses] everything.”

Franco’s innovative film, which can be called The Disaster Artist, is a comic behind-the-scenes take on the making of The Room. Franco directs the film and celebrities as Wiseau, and he as well plays Wiseau playing Johnny, the key character in The Room.

Although The Disaster Artist pokes fun at both Wiseau and The Room, Franco maintains that the thoughts that drive his film are sincere. He says, “Despite the fact that The Room was such a wacky, conventionally bad thing, we’re displaying that the passion behind it really is no different than the passion of Francis Ford Coppola, or of James Dean or of me, James Franco. Everybody gets the same level of passion.”

Interview Highlights

On the plot of The Room, and its price tag

[Tommy Wiseau] as well financed it in the tune of $6 million. It generally does not look like it was designed for $6 million. It looks like it was designed for about $60. It came out in 2003, and Tommy intended it to be a great drama. He wrote on the original poster that it was a Tennessee Williams-level drama. It’s a simple story.

[Wiseau] casts himself as Johnny, this great dude, all American dude, and he has a girlfriend and best friend named Mark. And simply the plot of the film is his girlfriend and his very best friend possess an affair and betray him, and – spoiler alert – he commits suicide at the end.

And that’s kind of it. But that says nothing about all of the bizarre imaginative decisions – the weird area plots about drug dealers that by no means arrive again, mothers-in-legislation who say they have breast cancer and then never mention it again. Just bizarreness.

On the three mysteries surrounding Wiseau

There are three mysteries to Tommy. [Initial,] where he’s from. … [His accent] suggests Eastern European countries by method of France, and maybe dialect instructors, and failing at that. But he says he’s from New Orleans. …

The second mystery is his age. He was at least in [his] late 40s when he made The Room, but claimed he was in his 20s.

And where he got the amount of money, the $6 million, which may be the darkest mystery. The various other two you merely sort of look out of the thin fa├žade. But the money – he promises that he made it selling denim at his private little shop.

On what Wiseau’s attitude toward The Room changed over time

Tommy Wiseau may be the expert rewriter of history, since when he was making The Room I believe he was completely sincere. He was aiming for [Marlon] Brando and James Dean and came out with something completely different. But when he noticed that people were laughing at his film, then rewrote his entire script [of his lifestyle]. … He came out and explained, “Oh, I designed it to be comedy.” Whereas, in fact, he had held it in theaters – by himself dime – for 14 days to be eligible for the Oscars.

On Wiseau’s reaction to finding The Disaster Artist for the first time

He runs, “Yeah, I approve, 99.9 percent.” And I’m like, “Wow, and what’s the 0.1 percent?” And you think he’ll say, “You understand, I never explained that,” or whatever, and he runs – director to director – he runs, “Yeah, James, I believe you should look at lighting initially of [the] film.” And I’m like, “Oh person, I’ll notify my cinematographer to watch The Room for pointers.”

But then we know only afterwards that he previously been wearing his shades through the whole movie, so it’s like, “Yeah, of lessons the light is off.” …

I realized in that screening … when [the audience was] cheering for him, these were cheering his story. They were cheering him on and the will it took to receive his film made, because we made Tommy sympathetic. That was our purpose in the film. … That was the first time in Tommy’s entire life that he listened to unadulterated, un-ironic applause for his story. Just thinking about that, it moves me right now to state that. He got it; he finally acquired what he wanted.

Therese Madden and Thea Chaloner produced and edited the music of the interview. Bridget Bentz, Molly Seavy-Nesper and Nicole Cohen adapted it for the Web.

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