Hol­ly­wood end­ing

Some­how, James Franco has di­rected an ex­cel­lent film about one of the worst movies ever made

Esquire (UK) - - Culture -

If you told us this time last year that a film both di­rected by and star­ring James Franco, with roles for his usu­ally for­get­table brother Dave and stoner com­edy bud Seth Ro­gen, would be sub­ject to faint mur­murs of Os­cars hype, we’d have told you to get outta town! (Or some­thing equally 2016.) But this is 2017, and there’s a talk­ing sat­suma in the White House, and blah blah, so come the next Academy Awards, you wouldn’t rule it out.

The film is The Disaster Artist, a meta ex­plo­ration of the mak­ing of 2003’s The Room, known in cer­tain cir­cles (peo­ple who like ter­ri­ble films) as the Ci­ti­zen Kane of bad movies. The Room’s cult fol­low­ing also made a mid­night-screen­ing icon of its mys­te­ri­ous au­teur, Tommy Wiseau, who wrote, di­rected and en­tirely funded it (to the tune of $6m). This equal-parts bizarre and be­guil­ing char­ac­ter is played to per­fec­tion here by James Franco, while his brother Dave plays Greg Ses­tero, upon whose book the film is based.

Greg is a shy and strug­gling young ac­tor who, at an im­prov class, meets Tommy, an im­pul­sive odd­ball with strag­gly black hair and a ques­tion­able ac­cent. The pair strike up an in­con­gru­ous friend­ship and move to LA to make a proper go of act­ing, while Wiseau dreams up the script for a movie that’s ab­so­lutely, def­i­nitely NOT based on his own life. If they can’t get a job, then he’ll make one for them. A catas­tro­phe from the start, we see Tommy pour his soul and bank ac­count into his pas­sion project, while si­mul­ta­ne­ously prov­ing to be a capri­cious and clue­less di­rec­tor. Mean­while, Greg re­alises his ticket to the big time is more of a seat on a rail re­place­ment bus ser­vice.

Ap­par­ently, the elder Franco spent the en­tire pro­duc­tion in char­ac­ter and it shows. As Wiseau he is at once strange, in­trigu­ing, vul­ner­a­ble and threat­en­ing: a reve­la­tion when com­pared to his oft-favoured role as a smarmy slacker. Far from an ex­er­cise in mock­ery,

The Disaster Artist is a funny, warm and tightly-paced homage to spec­tac­u­lar fail­ure and un­likely tri­umph; to dream­ing big, even if those dreams are a bit rub­bish. —

The Disaster Artist is out on 1 De­cem­ber

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.