The suspense is ‘tearing me apart, Lisa!’ With just two days until the Australian release of the Franco Brothers’ film, The Disaster Artist, Tommy Wiseau – the man who started it all – is creeping back into the limelight with spoons in hand.
Ah, yes. Tommy Wiseau. A man of slick black locks, ethnic ambiguity, and absurd artistry. Wiseau first gained recognition as the director, producer, writer, and main protagonist in his 2003 film, The Room. Infamously dubbed ‘the Citizen Kane of bad films’ by film buffs and critics alike, it seems perplexing to pinpoint his unexpected rise to fame… of sorts. Even with its US$6 million budget of highly questionable origin, The Room flopped at the box office, earning only US$1900 in revenue which made it one of the lowest grossing films ever. However with time it has gained a ‘so bad that it’s so good’ perspective, which has resulted in a sizeable global fanbase with its own -isms, jokes and memes.
But while most in the industry view The Room as a testament to the no-man’s-land of film, James and Dave Franco have seized its cult following as an opportunity for a film adaption of The Disaster Artist. Originally a memoir, The Disaster Artist was written by Greg Sestero; one of Wiseau’s co-stars in The Room. The book is a comical read without the need for real effort, as it details most, if not all, of Wiseau’s bizarre antics and ad libs during the production of the film.
And that’s exactly what Wiseau is: a disaster. Though some may prefer the term ‘happy accident’. But all isn’t lost in the carnage. After a quiet decade of small projects and working on the concept of his and Sestero’s next potential film, The Disaster Artist has thrust Wiseau back into the throes of Hollywood. Gaining a form of creative recognition that is as absurd as his character, Wiseau’s artistry as a filmmaker is still an acquired taste. Though it does serve as a unique flavour to the otherwise overstocked spice rack of Hollywood film.
Dave Franco has even amplified Wiseau’s presence in a recent interview with Vanity Fair, in which he toys with the idea of having Wiseau attend the Oscars; a feat which was never part of Wiseau’s ‘vision’.
Summing their own vision for The Disaster Artist, Franco adds:
“I think [Wiseau] recognized that we were treating his story with respect, as opposed to taking the easy route, where I think many people would tackle this type of movie and try to make fun of Tommy and The Room and everyone involved. That was never our intention. We wanted this to be a love letter to him and to people who go after their dreams and don’t take no for an answer.”
The Disaster Artist hits Australian screens on December 7th. Keep an eye out for Wiseau’s secret cameo in the film!