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“Line? What is line?”
In the TIFF feature dramedy The Disaster Artist, James Franco struggles with his script on the set of 2003’s The Room, widely regarded as the best “worst” film of all time.
With Franco directing and playing the movie’s eccentric writer-director-producer-star Tommy Wiseau, The Disaster Artist — based on the book by fellow castmember Greg Sestero (portrayed by James’ brother Dave Franco) — dramatizes the comically shambolic “making of” story behind The Room. The film, which at its appallingly scripted heart chronicles a love triangle involving Wiseau’s character Johnny, his fiancee Lisa and his best friend Mark (Sistero), may have landed with a near-silent thud 14 years ago, but now regularly sells out special screenings all around the world, with fans screaming out lines, loudly jeering at the endless array of faults and queuing up to get Wiseau’s autograph.
But while Franco’s film recounts the The Room‘s production, culminating with the world premiere at the Laemmle Fairfax theater on June 27, 2003, it still may leave one question unanswered: How did a movie deemed so unbelievably awful that one of the few early reviews said watching it was “like being stabbed in the head” make the dramatic leap to laugh-out-loud, crowd-pleasing cult phenomenon?
A version of this story first appeared in the Sept. 6 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.
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