The Disaster Artist | Q&A with James Franco

The Verdict

Stamp of Approval. 

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James Franco stars in the new movie The Disaster Artist and it's as bizarre and hilarious as anything that comes from the brainchild of a Franco² and Rogen mash-up. 

However, I would argue that these guys are finally at a point where their stories contain hysterical jokes and real emotional depth. I was hugely inspired like fifteen minutes into the movie and then re-inspired as the credits were rolling. It could just be that I'm an actor. I don't know. Moving on! 

Franco's film is based on the book written by Greg Sestero, about Tommy Wiseau and the making of The Roomdeemed by many the worst movie ever made. The Disaster Artist is about an unlikely pair of actors from San Francisco who meet in acting class and Greg Sestero (Dave Franco) is awed by the Dracula-esque rebel without a cause Tommy Wiseau (James Franco). The two become friends and embark to Los Angeles to pursue their dreams of becoming big-time actors all mysteriously paid for by Tommy.

In the Q&A, James tells a story that "Tommy Wiseau, director of The Room, had paid for a billboard on Highland Ave. in Hollywood for like five years! He spent hundreds of thousands of dollars and he put his phone number on there! I thought it was a cult at first!" Seth Rogen and Jonah Hill went to see the initial batch of screenings of the movie at the Sunset 5 Theater on Crescent Heights, at the behest of friend and fellow actor Paul Rudd! "I wasn't part of the OG Posse that saw the film, but I read the book first called The Disaster Artist, got fascinated, because it was this universal story about dreamers trying to make it in this really hard business," Franco added.

It's safe to say that the crew had been mysteriously drawn to this film from the beginning and younger brother Dave was obstensibly peer-pressured in, saying "I've literally seen the movie more than any other movie ever made."

Funny to the point it's almost hard to watch is the way I would frame The Disaster Artist. I wanted to look away every time J. Franco came in the frame, in that his greasy hair, brutish prosthetics, and his spot on Eastern-European accent work weirded me out so much. Not to mention, Wiseau's implied attraction to Sestero, as he continued to call him "baby face," but also throws a fit when Greg wants to move in with his girlfriend. It took me until minute twenty to realize that Franco was acting his ass off. 

Both brothers let it all out there. Dave jested that his brother had been asking him to be in one of his movies forever, but admitted he had been waiting for the right project. The one where the dynamic between the characters was like their Funny or Die video now recorded almost ten years ago, were James is giving Dave his masterclass in acting and Dave can't do any of it right. It feels as though The Disaster Artist — deep beneath the surface—is another James Franco masterclass. And "Davey" as James so cutely calls him had been taking notes and delivers a really good performance.

 "The Disaster Artist" brain trust: actor/producer Seth Rogen, actor/director James Franco and actor Dave Franco at South by Southwest. (Matt Winkelmeyer / Getty Images for SXSW)

"The Disaster Artist" brain trust: actor/producer Seth Rogen, actor/director James Franco and actor Dave Franco at South by Southwest. (Matt Winkelmeyer / Getty Images for SXSW)

The Q&A after the movie blew me away and I don't think I've ever been to another talk-back this good, this revealing, and obviously this funny. For years, I've seen Seth and James enjoy this great chemistry on screen, but I always thought maybe these friend/working duos in Hollywood were enhanced by some camera trick, the way it adds ten pounds. There's no way these guys like each other that much!  Although, after watching these guys play off each other live, I realized I was watching three "brothers" at the family dinner table hamming it up for their funny uncles. They could have went on and on and never let poor Davey add his very astute and at times deliberately serious two- sense in there.

The movie was great. I was moved like I have never been before, by the work of this motely crew. The supporting performances by Alison Brie, Seth Rogen, Zac Efron, Josh Hutcherson, Judd Appatow, and Ari Graynor were memorable because Franco and the writers leaned on them to bring the humor just as much. This hyper-cameo approach initiated in This Is The End is perfected in this film. I walked away inspired to write. And inspired to collaborate with actors and filmmakers much better than me. 

When I heard the actors were going to do a panel discussion I tried really hard to come up with a question my readers would benefit from. I never asked my question because the answer was made apparent by the very act of making this film and the odd existence of The Room...

Don't stop dreaming,

never stop creating, 

and work with the people you know. 

...

This movie was wonderful and I give it my stamp of approval! Check out The Disaster Artist, directed by James Franco in theaters in December 8th.

And if you're feeling really curious...

 

Did you guys like "The Disaster Artist"? Let me know what you think of this movie, or if there are any other movies you think I should see that have come out this year!