It’s impossible to sum up exactly what The Disaster Artist is all about without explaining some backstory.
In 2001, Tommy Wiseau, an aspiring Hollywood actor with a distinctive accent, penned a 500-page tome about the melodramatic love triangle between ‘all-American’ guy Johnny, his future wife Lisa and his best friend, Mark.
It was titled The Room – and it wasn’t very good.
After attempts to get it published failed, Wiseau decided to change tack. Enlisting his friend Greg Sestero and nominating himself as the producer and starring role, they began filming what was later dubbed the worst movie of all time.
With cringe-inducing dialogue, plot holes galore, bizarre overacting and a low-budget feel despite its exorbitant $6 million (AED 22 million) price tag, the movie was roundly ridiculed, and Wiseau’s masterpiece did not have the impact he hoped for.
But things often have a strange way of coming back around.
As The Room became the subject of internet memes with its iconic one-liner, “Oh, hi Mark”, the worst film ever made suddenly gained a certain cult appeal years later, and began showing to packed out cinemas.
After seeing the film and reading co-star Greg Sestero’s behind-the-scenes book on his experience on the set of The Room, the brothers approached Wiseau to ask if they could make a film about the making of the film.
He agreed, but not before asking if Johnny Depp could play him, and so The Disaster Artist, scheduled for release on 4th January, was born.
“Tommy was very excited about my brother portraying him,” Dave told Esquire.
“His first choice was Johnny Depp, but he was happy to settle for my brother. From the beginning it was never our intention to make fun of Tommy or The Room or anyone involved in the movie. On the contrary, we wanted to make a movie celebrating Tommy and people who go after their dreams.”
His brother, James, agreed: “I have to give credit to Tommy, because it’s his bizarre story and his behaviour and his uniqueness that fuelled this whole thing,” he told Vox.
“What I hoped I could do is tell a story about creativity, tell a story about having a vision that nobody else believed in and pushing that vision out into the world, but through the upside-down skewed lens of this very strange and unique film, The Room.”
As for Wiseau – who has a cameo in The Disaster Artist, by the way – he’s pretty pleased with how everything turned out: “I approve of [The Disaster Artist] 99.9 percent, but I didn’t like the way [James] threw the football and the lighting was uneven,” he told the Los Angeles Times in his unplaceable Eastern European drawl, the subject of many a debate on where he’s from and a mystery he refuses to elaborate on.
“I think you did a good job,” he told James, who plays his likeness in the film. “But I think I did a good job, too.”
Also starring: Seth Rogen, Alison Brie and Zoey Deutch
Running time: 100 minutes