IT is shaping up to be the accidental success story of the century.
Ambitious filmmaker Tommy Wiseau drops $6 million on his film The Room, which is a notorious flop, then gains worldwide cult status after hordes of people discover this “Citizen Kane of bad films”.
One of the film’s stars, Greg Sestero, wrote about the experience with his unusual mate Wiseau in The Disaster Artist and actor James Franco saw something in this story worth recreating as a feature film.
Before you can say “how meta” and dismiss this as an attempt to cash in on this unusual phenomenon, it must be known that Franco does dig deep for substance.
Struggling San Franciscan actor Greg Sestero (Dave Franco) strikes up a friendship with his eccentric but bold acting classmate Tommy Wiseau (James Franco), who writhes around the stage and scales the walls during his monologue.
The two head to Los Angeles to make it in Hollywood as actors but both find it difficult to find work, so Tommy puts millions of dollars of his own money (this guy is full of weird surprises) to film his own script.
But the further they get into the filmmaking process, the clearer it becomes that Tommy is as confused about filmmaking as everyone is about his bizarre accent and demeanour.
And tension begins to build between the two best mates.
Not only does Franco homage The Room with his spot-on recreations of key scenes (a credits sequence placing them side by side is a highlight), but he tells a story about ambition, friendship and making your dreams come true instead of waiting for them to come true.
Franco’s performance precisely captures Wiseau’s accent, behaviour and mannerisms, without making fun of him, and giving him three dimensions.
Not just for The Room fans, The Disaster Artist will also appeal to anyone interested in an unusual Hollywood story, or even a bromance with a twist.
The Disaster Artist (M)
Directed by: James Franco
Starring: James Franco, Dave Franco, Seth Rogen
Four and a half stars
Review by: Julian Wright
In cinemas now