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How James Franco first fell in love with The Room

08.10.2017

James Franco The Disaster Artist Dave Franco

THE ROOM really needs to be seen to be believed, but as crazy as the so-called "CITIZEN KANE of bad movies" is, it's merely a brief glimpse into the madness (or brilliance) of Tommy Wiseau. To get the full story, you really need to read Greg Sestero's "The Disaster Artist," which chronicles the making of THE ROOM and has been adapted into the upcoming feature-film of the same name. James Franco, who directed THE DISASTER ARTIST as well as stars as Tommy Wiseau, spoke with Entertainment Weekly about the first time he became aware of the cult film.

I don’t know how much time you’ve spent in L.A., but from, like, 2003 to 2008, there was a billboard on Highland, advertising The Room. It was this very scary billboard, where it’s Tommy’s face sort of leering out at you, and it said ‘The Room,’ and there was a phone number on it. It was such a confusing advertisement for a film. Normally there isn’t a phone number. And so, I didn’t know what it was. I must have passed it a hundred times, and I just assumed it was a cult or a strange local guy that wants to be put in movies. I just didn’t put it together. Now, I realize that, at the time, there were these midnight screenings of The Room at this famous L.A. theater called Sunset 5.

It wasn't until James Franco read "The Disaster Artist" by Greg Sestero and Tom Bissell that he finally got around to watching the movie itself. After devouring the book in just a few days, Franco began to realize just how much fun it was to read aloud, mostly because of Tommy Wiseau's bizarre quotes and behaviors.

I was doing The Interview in Vancouver, and I would read The Disaster Artist out loud with my assistant, and my hair-and-makeup woman, and my dresser. Then I went to a screening [of The Room]. My first viewing of The Room in a theater was in Vancouver, and I have to say it was the best theatrical screening of The Room that I’ve been to, and I’ve been to a few now at this point. I was just taken with the whole thing. I was taken with the story of these guys trying to break into this creative industry that’s incredibly hard to break into and actually doing it, albeit in a very strange way, but nonetheless becoming Hollywood success stories.

It will be interesting to see just how well THE DISASTER ARTIST captures the madness behind-the-scenes, but with folks like James Franco, Seth Rogen, Dave Franco, Josh Hutcherson, Ari Graynor, Alison Brie, Zac Efron, Ari Graynor, Jacki Weaver, Melanie Griffith, Sharon Stone, Jason Mantzoukas, and many more lending their talents to the picture, I can't imagine that we'll ever be bored. Plus, Tommy Wiseau himself approves of the film 99.9%, and if anyone knows what makes a movie work, it's Tommy Wiseau.

THE DISASTER ARTIST will hit theaters for a limited-release on December 1, 2017, before opening wide on December 8, 2017.

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