James Franco's 'The Disaster Artist' finds heart behind cult classic 'The Room' - InfoNews

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James Franco's 'The Disaster Artist' finds heart behind cult classic 'The Room'

James Franco attends the centerpiece gala presentation of "The Disaster Artistl" during the 2017 AFI Fest at the TCL Chinese Theatre on Sunday, Nov. 12, 2017, in Los Angeles. Franco remembers driving around Los Angeles over 10 years ago and seeing mysterious billboards that had been put up by eccentric and enigmatic indie filmmaker Tommy Wiseau. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Invision-Richard Shotwell
November 29, 2017 - 7:48 AM

TORONTO - James Franco remembers driving around Los Angeles over 10 years ago and seeing mysterious billboards that had been put up by eccentric and enigmatic indie filmmaker Tommy Wiseau.

"We're talking hundreds of thousands of dollars to put these things up, and it was his face with the lazy eyelid glaring at you," the Oscar-nominated "127 Hours" star recalled in an interview.

"It said 'The Room' and there was a phone number. It was just the weirdest thing ever. I remember driving by it and just thinking, 'Oh, it's a cult,' because what movie poster ever has a phone number? It's just weird."

Weird is a word commonly used to describe "The Room," Wiseau's bizarre 2003 cult classic known as "the 'Citizen Kane' of bad movies."

Franco, who recreates the making of "The Room" in his acclaimed new comedy "The Disaster Artist," said he first became familiar with the so-bad-it's-good romantic drama while shooting 2014's "The Interview" in Vancouver.

That's when he read Greg Sestero's non-fiction book "The Disaster Artist," in which "The Room" star recounts the madcap making of the notoriously awful movie, which Wiseau dumped a ton of money into and wouldn't give up on.

"I just couldn't get enough of it, because it was wacky and insane but it was also very moving," Franco said during the recent Toronto International Film Festival, where "The Disaster Artist" made its world premiere.

"It was about a guy with a dream who had been rejected his whole life, and he's just striving to get his vision out into the world."

Franco then went to a screening of "The Room" in Vancouver and was blown away by the electric atmosphere in the crowd, which was celebrating the cringe-worthy hallmarks of the film by throwing around spoons and footballs, wearing tuxedoes and yelling back lines at the screen.

That night, Franco also met Sestero and talked about adapting "The Disaster Artist" for the big screen.

Franco directs, co-produces and delivers a spot-on performance as Wiseau in the film, which opens Friday in Toronto and Dec. 8 across Canada.

In the film, the ever-confident and impulsive Wiseau takes Sestero (played by Franco's brother, Dave) under his wing as the two move to Los Angeles and make "The Room."

Wiseau, who claims to be from New Orleans but speaks with an Eastern European-sounding accent, lacks any sense of self-awareness and becomes a tyrant on set.

At the film's premiere, he's dismayed when the audience howls at what he intended to be serious dramatic scenes. But he gets the last laugh when the movie goes on to become a cult hit.

Co-stars include Seth Rogen, Alison Brie, Ari Graynor and Zac Efron. Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber wrote the script.

"'The Room' is bad," said Franco. "But there are thousands upon thousands of bad movies that we just never watch again. We're still watching this movie 14 years later. So that says something about it.

"There's something else going on in that movie, and what I truly believe and what I personally love ... about the story is that Tommy put his whole heart and soul into 'The Room,'" continued the prolific star, whose other projects include "Freaks and Geeks," "Pineapple Express" and "Spring Breakers."

"It's very personal, if you read between the lines, and he's trying to express how he feels hurt and betrayed by the world. He's just this great guy, this great artist, that's trying to connect with others, and he's just been failed every time by people."

So, has Franco ever had a dud like "The Room"?

"Not in this sense," he said with a laugh.

"The movies that I've done that have been criticized or people said are bad, people are just like, 'Yeah, that's bad, I don't want to watch it.'

"Although I went on 'General Hospital' as an experiment and that kind of got a reaction."

News from © The Canadian Press, 2017
The Canadian Press

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