Hollywood has produced many great cinematic works.
Tommy Wiseau's The Room is not one of them. "It's a perfect train wreck," says Greg Sestero, one of the film's stars. But the emphasis here is perfect. The film's so-bad-it's-good charm has given rise to a cult following over the years, setting the stage for film discussions, special screenings, and the successful release of Sestero's first book. The Disaster Artist: My Life Inside The Room recounts the bizarre and often hard-to-believe behind-the-scenes stories of Wiseau's egregious 2003 masterpiece. It's a book that Sestero claims even Wiseau himself can tolerate, calling it the "red bible," and one that James Franco has recently decided to turn into movie. Talk about full circle.
Before Sestero comes to FilmBar on Friday, February 13, to discuss The Disaster Artist and to screen a documentary about the making of The Room, Jackalope Ranch caught up with him over the phone to discuss the success of a film and book that even he didn't see coming.
Did you ever think The Room would have this level of infamy? No. Never. I just figured there were so many movies that get made into short films, full-length features all over the world that really never get seen. You go to Sundance Film Festival and there's a ton of great movies that never see the light of day. Film festivals all over the world that have great movies that don't go anywhere and have a very hard time building an audience, so I thought for sure this movie with no distribution, no stars, really just a bunch of inexperienced people, would never get made. So I'm as surprised as anyone else that this movie ever really caught on.
As you worked on this film, did you already have a book in mind? Or did the idea come later? It wasn't until the movie had really begun this whole afterlife and I saw the movie unfold that the first part of the story really became interesting to me. The making of the movies was crazy, something out of a movie itself. I'd tell stories about my experience and nobody believed me, it was so crazy. So when the movie started gaining fans I thought, "If they only knew the true story about it, everything this guy went through to make this movie and the fact that we had been friends before the movie."
I think that it had a really interesting narrative and so I figured, with the 10 year anniversary of the film, it was a great chance to share the story behind it. My goal of the book was to show how important it is to follow your dreams because if you never try, you never know what's out there -- and at the same time, kind of the peril of following your dreams, what can happen by putting yourself out there. Good things can come from it and bad things can come from it. So there was a good array of stories that I felt people could appreciate.
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Do you think this is a book that movie buffs in particular will enjoy? I think it is a very universal story. I don't think it lives just in the film world or the Hollywood world. I think it appeals to really anybody who is interested in a character story or a very odd friendship, a journey, kind of a surreal take on the American dream. I think there's a lot there that doesn't need to rely on film or hollywood.
Sestero is bringing his book tour to FilmBar, Friday 13. Presentation times are 7 and 9 p.m. Tickets are $15. Visit www.thefilmbarphx.com or call 602-595-9187.