James Franco has unleashed some truly bizarre projects on the world, including that one time he live-streamed himself doing crazy things like wear a tutu on orders from his audience. Franco’s movie projects have tended to be a little more conventional than you might expect from a guy so into oddball performance art pieces, with only the occasional foray into the weird. The actor’s upcoming movie The Disaster Artist looks like it should definitely be filed under “occasional forays into the weird.”
As bizarre as Franco is, he’s never done anything in his long and varied career to compare with The Room, filmmaker Tommy Wiseau’s infamously terrible 2003 movie. The Room is so unspeakably bad that it’s developed a cult following a la Ed Wood’s Plan 9 From Outer Space. And now James Franco has made a movie about the making of The Room and festival audiences will get a chance to see it before anyone else.
According to Variety, Franco’s Room-inspired The Disaster Artist (previously titled The Masterpiece) is set to debut at this year’s SXSW in Austin, TX, which kicks off on March 10th, 2017. Franco directed the film himself and will also star as the legendary Tommy Wiseau. The movie boasts an impressive cast including Bryan Cranston (as himself), Alison Brie, Dave Franco, Zac Efron, Seth Rogen, Zoey Deutch, Melanie Griffith, Sharon Stone and Josh Hutcherson. Variety says SXSW is also trying to set up a screening of The Room, so maybe Tommy Wiseau (who has a cameo in Franco’s film) will himself show up to the festival.
Franco’s movie is an adaptation of the 2003 book The Disaster Artist from Greg Sestero and Tom Bissell, an account of the very difficult production of The Room. Being an amateur filmmaker with no clue how to make a movie, Wiseau saw his production break down into total disaster, with crew members frequently walking off the set. Wiseau’s own strange appearance and behavior make him a juicy character for James Franco to tackle. And we know how James Franco loves playing oddball characters.
What exactly is it that drew James Franco to The Room? Could it be that Franco, who is often dismissed as a show-off and a hack and worse, feels a certain kinship with the much-maligned Mr. Wiseau? The strange cinematic alchemy that makes for a memorably terrible film, instead of just a regular-old boring bad movie, is by itself a fascinating subject worthy of exploration. Even if The Disaster Artist doesn’t go terribly deep, the on-set madness that occurred during the filming of The Room should at least make for good comedy.
With no fewer than seven directorial projects currently listed as completed or in post-production, James Franco is one insanely busy dude these days. Even with all that work, Franco still has time to show up in other people’s movies, including Alien: Covenant. Assuming he doesn’t drop dead from overwork before then, fans can look forward to seeing James Franco when he brings The Disaster Artist to SXSW ahead of an expected 2017 theatrical release.