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James Franco’s new movie as director is The Disaster Artist (out Dec. 1), the cast of which includes the filmmaker, his brother Dave Franco, Seth Rogen, Ari Graynor, Zac Efron, Alison Brie, and Sharon Stone, among others. What could attract such an array of famous talents? It’s a great question with an unlikely answer. Based on actor Greg Sestero and cowriter Tom Bissell’s book of the same name, The Disaster Artist details the making of 2003 melodrama The Room, which has gained a huge cult following around the world thanks to the movie’s unintentionally hilarious nature.
The Disaster Artist received a warm reception, and glowing reviews, when it screened as a work-in-progress last March at the SXSW Festival in Austin, Texas. But Franco was particularly concerned about how his film would be received by Tommy Wiseau, the mercurial and outspoken director-star of The Room, who Franco plays in the film.
“He didn’t see it until SXSW, and we were unsure of what he was going to think, especially because he said, [mimicking Wiseau’s accent] ‘Greg book only 40 percent true,'” recalls Franco. “It was like, well, that’s what we based it on, so what are you going to think about our movie? And that screening was so successful, it was like a rock concert. That and the Spring Breakers screening at SXSW [in 2013] would be the two greatest screenings of my life, I imagine. I was like, ‘So, Tommy, what did you think of the movie?’ And he said, ‘I approve 99.9 percent.’ And we were like, ‘What was the 0.1 percent? He said, ‘I think the lighting, in the beginning, a little off.’ [Laughs] I told Brandon [Trost, The Disaster Artist‘s cinematographer]. He was like, Yeah, maybe we should watch The Room, get some lighting pointers!”
Watch the teaser trailer for The Disaster Artist above and see an exclusive image from the film below.