Do you need to see The Room in order to enjoy The Disaster Artist? It’s a question being posed across the interwebs as James Franco‘s new making-of comedy nears release. My answer: No, you don’t have to see The Room to enjoy The Disaster Artist, but you need to see The Room because it’s one of the worst movies ever made, and therefore so horrible it’s awesome, which is why it now rivals The Rocky Horror Picture Show as America’s favorite midnight screening.
James Franco, who directs and stars as The Room‘s mystifying mastermind, Tommy Wiseau, admits to that he was a latecomer to the cultural phenomenon. “Our friends were going, back in the early days — Jonah Hill, Paul Rudd, Michael Cera — they were all part of it,” he told Yahoo Entertainment (watch above). “I just thought it was a part of L.A. weirdness.” It wasn’t until the 127 Hours Oscar nominee discovered Greg Sistero and Tom Bissell’s book The Disaster Artist, which would ultimately provide the blueprint for the film, that he was lured into the Bizarro World of Wiseau. The experience is “transformative,” as Seth Rogen put it.
The film’s cast cautions that if you haven’t yet seen The Room, however, watch it with one its legendarily enthusiastic crowds, who shout out lines, chant loudly, and throw plastic spoons at the screen. “[The midnight screening] is the best way to get indoctrinated to The Room,” said Paul Scheer, who plays the film (within a film)’s cinematographer and knows a thing or 176 about awful movies as one of the hosts of the podcast How Did This Get Made? “You have to be like, ‘We’re all going to have this experience. We’re going to guide you through it. Don’t walk out. We’ll hold your hand… It’s a tough movie to get movie because the genre is different than what you’re used to seeing a bad movie in.”
Or whatever you do, just don’t make the mistake of watching it alone, like stars Dave Franco and Ari Graynor. “I watched it in a hotel room by myself, which is not the way to see that movie for the first time,” said Dave Franco (Neighbors), James’s younger brother. “I finished that viewing feeling very unsettled.”
The Disaster Artist opens in limited engagement Dec. 1 and nationwide Dec. 8.
Watch Dave Franco talk about their dreams of bringing Tommy Wiseau to the Oscars:
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