James Franco’s ‘The Disaster Artist’ Has a ‘99.9 Percent’ Approval Rating From Tommy Wiseau
One of the biggest hits at this year’s SXSW Film Festival was also one of the most pleasant surprises: The Disaster Artist, James Franco’s new film based on Greg Sestero’s book of the same name, which recounts the making of 2003’s The Room. In addition to directing, Franco stars in the film as Tommy Wiseau, the eccentric (to say the least) filmmaker behind the so-bad-it-might-be-genius cult favorite. While many have praised The Disaster Artist as a weirdly touching love letter to filmmaking, there’s arguably only one opinion that really matters: That of Wiseau himself.
Franco recently spoke with EW about The Disaster Artist, which boasts a stellar ensemble that includes Seth Rogen (duh), Dave Franco, Zac Efron, and Bryan Cranston (as himself). Given the subject matter, it seems fitting that Franco pulls double-duty as director and star, and early reviews indicate that his efforts certainly paid off. According to Franco, Tommy Wiseau himself (mostly) agreed after seeing The Disaster Artist at SXSW:
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. 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.’
So what about the other .01 percent? Franco continues:
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!”
(Trost, by the way, is the talented cinematographer responsible for visually elevating great recent comedies like This Is the End, Popstar and the Neighbors films.)
Though many assumed / worried that The Disaster Artist might take a more cynical or mocking approach to Wiseau and his bizarre 2003 effort, those who have seen it tend to agree that Franco’s film is empathetic and kind of…sweet?
You’ll have the chance to find out for yourself in just a few months, when The Disaster Artist hits select theaters on December 1 before expanding nationwide on December 8.