The Disaster Artist is a film about a film. It tells the real life, one-in-a-million story of how actor and producer, Tommy Wisseau, successfully turned the unlikeliest project into a cult classic movie. But what’s so good about his 2003 B-grade movie, The Room, that warrants it receiving the Hollywood treatment? It is literally one of the worst films ever to be made. Scenes are non-sensical and lines ill-placed. Cringes and soap opera acting techniques are included – and not for effect. But actor-come-director James Franco says he was taken with the zany outsider art-aspect of The Room. So much so, he claims to have watched it as much as all of James Dean’s pictures.
“There are thousands upon thousands of bad movies that we will never watch again, but people watch this one, over and over. And I think it’s partly because of the heart and soul,” Franco told The Hollywood Reporter.
Wiseau’s passion to tell a story trickled over into big-name, big-movie talks. It is difficult to consider anyone else other that James Franco playing the lead of this weird character. To a certain degree, he channels a bit of the crazy he did in The Pineapple Express, or maybe, just like Daniel-Day Lewis, he loves to sink his teeth into some ‘performance’ art. In this way, The Disaster Artist becomes less a drama, and more a direct-to-life retelling of Franco’s embodiment of a warped but interesting character. Much like how Jim Carrey wanted to capture magic with his portrayal of Andy Kaufman in Man on the Moon. Not to mention that, in both real life and the film, Tommy Wiseau’s past is teased, but never fully revealed. This adds a curious edge to the movie, which leaves audiences not only wondering if it shifts between fiction and the truth, but if the black-haired, crisp-shirt, chain-belt wearing enigma descended from another planet.
Dave Franco (yes, brother of James, from the Now You See Me films) co-stars as Wisseau’s protégé and sidekick ‘Babyface’, bringing oodles of charm to the role, while Seth Rogan, as B-grade film The Room‘s ardent director, injects the irony and wisecracks we’ve come to love from the guy. Also enjoyable are cameos by Megan Mullally (Will & Grace, Parks & Recreation), Australia’s own Jacki Weaver, and a virtually unrecognisable Zac Efron.
The Disaster Artist is all about pretty good actors playing really bad actors. And if folks can deliver terrible roles this brilliantly, they definitely deserve a mention in our book. J.K.A. Short
‘The Disaster Artist’ is in cinemas now.