When James Franco revealed that he would play the role of Tommy Wiseau in The Disaster Artist (an adaptation of the book of the same name about the production of the notorious film, The Room) many fans of both Franco and The Room may have been skeptical.
Now, fans can see if Franco passes the doppelganger test in a new official image released today by New Line Cinema. Up to now, there have only been behind-the-scenes photos of Franco at various stages of makeup and costuming for the role, but they gave little indication of how he would look in front of the camera.
The photo (via /Film) shows Franco as Wiseau along with his brother Dave Franco as Greg Sestero, who played Mark in The Room and was a close friend of Wiseau throughout its production. The photo presumably shows them at the premiere for the infamous film, after its troubled production that is detailed in the pages of The Disaster Artist. The still comes in anticipation of the film's debut at SXSW next month.
The photo should assuage some of the fans who felt that Franco was wrong for the part of Wiseau, due to the fact that Wiseau's distinctive look would be hard to transmute to Franco's tanned Hollywood physique. Though the photo clearly presents a younger-looking, version of Tommy Wiseau than reality, the wig combined with Franco's angular facial structure is able to do a lot of the heavy lifting to make him disappear into the role.
But perhaps fans should reserve judgement until they're able to see the film, or at least a trailer. For all of Wiseau's physical idiosyncrasies, his accent is going to be the real actorly feat to pull off. And while Franco has proven himself a talented actor throughout his career, even netting a best actor Oscar nomination for 127 Hours, the fact that he's also producing and directing the film could mean his attention isn't one hundred percent focused on the smaller details of the performance.
However, Wiseau has such a distinctive appearance, it's hard to think of any actor who would be able to pull off the role. At the very least, the presence of a huge supporting cast from the comedy world, including Seth Rogen (Neighbors), Zach Braff (Scrubs), Alison Brie (Community), and Hannibal Burress (Broad City) should be enough to ensure the film is worth a laugh, whether or not Franco succeeds in his portrayal.
The Disaster Artist will premiere later in 2017.
Source: New Line Cinema (via /Film)