James Franco has been scuffling trying to find the right project to match his creative talents. Neither passion project Child of God nor stories from legendary authors Steinbeck In Dubious Battle or Faulkner The Sound and Fury hit the mark. Franco may have found the vehicle based on a book by the co-star of what is widely known as the worst movie ever known The Room.
The central force of the source material is Tommy Wiseau a mysterious figure of unclear age and background with way more confidence than talent who wrote, directed, starred and financed the 2003 film. Wiseau made the most bizarre production choices ever for a film. Instead of renting he bought the filming equipment. He paid for a special freestanding personal toilet. He built his own alley for a scene when a real one was just outside the studio door. Then to top it off he shot in both digital and 35mm. His spending brought the project's ticket to just short of 6 million dollars-leading to an opening weekend of 200 paying customers.
Franco known for his method acting became Tommy on the set whether the cameras were rolling of not working to master Wiseau's ever changing Eastern European sounding accident despite the auteur's insistence that he is American like everyone else being from New Orleans. Dave Franco plays Greg Sestero the author of the source material book and a struggling actor who met Wiseau in a San Francisco drama class. Wiseau convinces Sestero to come to L.A. to star in his film. Seth Rogan as the script superior Sandy Schklair is the voice of reason on the set often giving Tommy the "Are you sure you want to do that" warning before he makes another ill-advised step dumping money down a black hole.
The Disaster Artist brings out from the shadows one mans singular effort to put his cinematic vision on the big screen. There are laughs with, laughs at and groans a plenty to go around. It's all due to the eccentricity of the director that the film has gained midnight showing cult classic status. James Franco has finally found a story fitting his multi-faceted talents producing a piece that I can definitely recommend.
*** 1/2 Out of 4.
The Disaster Artist | James Franco | U.S.A. | 2017 | 103 Minutes.
Tags; Biopic, The Room, Tommy Wiseau, San Francisco, Waiting for Godot, Streetcar Named Desire, Stella, Set, Script, Improv, Water bottle, Babyface.