When it came time for James Franco to make a film about one of the most gonzo midnight movies of all-time, The Room, the pic’s eccentric star-director-writer Tommy Wiseau insisted that only Johnny Depp portray him on the big screen.
“But then, he got me. I think he was okay with me because I played James Dean early in my career. And Tommy, if you’ve seen him, looks nothing like James Dean. I mean he looks like a vampire that dyes his hair with a magic marker. He thinks he’s James Dean,” explains James Franco who directs and stars in the big screen version of Greg Sestero and Tom Bissell’s book The Disaster Artist: My Life Inside The Room, the Greatest Bad Movie Ever Made.
The first time Franco watched The Room was in Vancouver during the production of The Interview, not in the pic’s hometown of Los Angeles. He noticed the billboards for the film around Hollywood whenever he was in town. “I thought it was a cult. There was a phone number on the billboard and what I learned later is if you called that number, it goes straight to his apartment,” says Franco.
“I love Hollywood stories,” says Franco about what drew him to Wiseau’s underdog story, “It’s about an outsider trying to follow their dream and make it in this business. That was the secret ingredient. We didn’t want to do a satire about making the worst movie ever.”
Here at Deadline’s Toronto Studio, the cast of Disaster Artist discusses the film’s impact over time as well as the characters they play. That cast includes Ari Graynor (playing Wiseau’s leading lady in The Room, Juliette Danielle), Alison Brie (Amber), Dave Franco (Wiseau’s friend and reluctant co-star Greg Sestero), and Paul Scheer (Raphael Smadja). A24 is releasing The Disaster Artist on Dec. 1.
Deadline Studio at TIFF 2017 is presented by Calii Love, Watford Group, Philosophy Canada, and Equinox. Special thanks to Dan Gunam at Calii Love for location and production assistance; and Ontario Camera for equipment assistance. Video producer: Meaghan Gable; lighting and camera: Neil Hansen; design: Dialla Kawar; sound recording: Ida Jokinen.