The Disaster Artist director and star James Franco says he kept up his Tommy Wiseau accent all the time he was making the movie, staying in character even when he crossed over behind the camera to direct other actors.
Franco’s The Disaster Artist tells the true and outrageous story of the making of The Room, one of the most notorious and unaccountably relevant bad movies of all-time. Franco stars as The Room director Tommy Wiseau, a bizarre and slightly mysterious individual who has become a cult hero thanks to his weird on-screen persona as well as accounts of his maniacal off-screen behavior.
Speaking to EW, Franco talked about why he felt the need to maintain Tommy Wiseau’s distinctive accent even when he was behind the camera directing the other actors. Franco admits the whole thing sounds like a method actor stunt but insists he had a good reason for staying totally in character even when not on-screen:
“It might sound like some weird B-movie version of Daniel Day-Lewis or something. In fact, his accent is the most infectious kind of accent to do. You just want to do it! Everybody wants to do it! And it brought everybody closer to their own characters, having to interact with me in that way.”
When you consider that Franco not only had to play Wiseau acting in The Room but also had to play Wiseau directing The Room, then had to go behind the camera himself and direct his movie about the making of The Room, it’s probably just as well that he stuck with the accent the whole time he was working. Switching back and forth between Tommy Wiseau and James Franco probably would have only driven him nuts as well as confusing the other actors.
Given Franco’s notorious penchant for performing oddball stunts, many thought his decision to channel Tommy Wiseau in a movie about the making of The Room was just another case of the actor being weird for no good reason, but it appears he actually took the performance very seriously. Franco did such a great job mimicking Wiseau that there is even talk he could score his second career Oscar nomination (his first came in 2011 for his role as Aron Ralston in Danny Boyle’s 127 Hours). If Franco does get the Oscar, no one will question his decision to not only method-act Tommy Wiseau but method-direct the whole movie (a feat even Jared Leto hasn’t accomplished).
Tommy Wiseau himself has seen Franco’s movie and given it his seal of approval with one caveat: he didn’t like the lighting at the beginning. But Wiseau did approve of the film 99.9%, high praise coming from the maker of the “Citizen Kane of Bad Movies.” The Disaster Artist also stars Alison Brie, Bryan Cranston, Zoey Deutch, Lizzy Caplan, Zac Efron, Kristen Bell, Melanie Griffith, Seth Rogen, Adam Scott, Sharon Stone and yes, the real Tommy Wiseau himself.
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