Lights, camera, disaster
DVD: The Disaster Artist
Runtime: 104 minutes
Age restriction: 16LNS
Special Features: Oh, hi Mark: Making a disaster
Reviewed by: Gareth Drawbridge
Review made possible by: Empire Entertainment
“Don’t be afraid of being different. Be afraid of being everyone else.”
While this quote is attributed to James Dean (the ultimate rebel without a cause), it accurately sums up the attitude and determination of director, writer and filmmaker Tommy Wiseau, an infamous Hollywood outsider who, in 2003, released The Room – a movie which critics dubbed ‘one of the worst films ever made’.
Despite the negative reviews upon its release, The Room soon gained a large following of fans and has since become a cult classic around the world. The film also attracted a great deal of speculation and the financing behind the project still remains as mysterious as Wiseau’s life story.
In the biographical comedy-drama The Disaster Artist, director James Franco (who also plays the lead role of Wiseau) goes behind the scenes of the making of The Room.
Based on the non-fiction book of the same name by Greg Sestero (portrayed by Dave Franco) and Tom Bissell, The Disaster Artist follows Wiseau and Sestero as they set off for Hollywood to pursue their dreams of becoming stars.
After a series of failed auditions, and even being told by one big shot producer that he would never make it in Hollywood (‘not in a million years or a million years after that’), Wiseau decides to make his own movie.
With a seemingly inexhaustible source of funds from an undisclosed bank account, Wiseau writes the script for The Room, holds auditions and gets the production in motion.
However, as cameras start rolling, Wiseau – like most people with a vision they are passionate about – proves to be difficult to work with and he forgets his lines, arrives late on set, tests the limits of the cast and crew and clashes with Sandy Schklair (Seth Rogen), the script supervisor.
On a set fraught with friction, an erratic filming schedule and a haphazard script which results in scenes with inconsistencies and continuity errors, the production looks like a lost cause and it leaves Sestero questioning his future in an industry where you are only as good as your last picture.
Despite all the difficulties, filming finally wraps and a red carpet premiere (complete with a huge spotlight outside the venue) is planned. Sadly, the reaction of the audience is not exactly what Wiseau envisioned…
The Disaster Artist is a tragicomic true story which pays homage to a filmmaker who, despite not being embraced by Hollywood, remained true to his vision – even if the critics and audience didn’t quite understand what that was.
This is a stylish film and the way in which actor/director James Franco has brought the behind-the-scenes story to life makes it a great companion piece to The Room.
While some people might question Wiseau’s artistic integrity, there is no denying that the unconventional film roles and projects which James Franco embraces with such passion make him a true artist.
The Disaster Artist is now available on DVD.