There are movies that are bad, and then there’s “The Room.” Like a modern day “Plan 9 From Outer Space,” Tommy Wiseau‘s 2003 passion project went from horribly reviewed, self-released indie to something of a contemporary cult classic, with the movie still screening frequently, often with audience participation encouraged with everyone shouting out memorable lines (“You are tearing me apart, Lisa!”) and throwing spoons at the screen (if you’ve seen it, you know what that means). And now, “The Room” is getting a touch of James Franco.
The actor/writer/whatever has optioned “The Disaster Artist: My Life Inside The Room” as a directorial vehicle, with his buds Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg on board to produce (though on Instagram recently, Franco said he and his brother Dave Franco will also star). Co-written by Greg Sestero, the actor who starred in and also helped write “The Room,” the book chronicles the extraordinary making of the movie, and Franco has been a big champion of it. And in his review for Vice, he name dropped four movies that it reminded him of, which we suppose may be an inspiration in how this story is brought to the big screen:
The book reads like the combination of two Paul Thomas Anderson film scripts: Boogie Nights in its focus on a group of optimistic outsiders trying to be artistic with a project that defies all artistic pretentions, and The Master with its arrangement around a bizarre mentor-pupil relationship. The other references that come to mind, and they are mostly film references because it is a book about film and the film industry, are Sunset Boulevard, with the masterful way it takes on Hollywood as a vehicle to talk about the blurred line between reality and performance, and The Talented Mr. Ripley,the Anthony Mingella film (as well as the Patricia Highsmith book) in the way that Tom Ripley transforms himself, or attempts to transform himself, in order to infiltrate a social world that he would otherwise be locked out of.
But moreover, Franco appreciates how “The Disaster Artist” gives insight on the various people trying to make a name for themselves.
As the authors of The Disaster Artist have chosen to alternate the book’s focus, it touches on two of the major components of being an artist, in Hollywood and everywhere else: trying to “make it,” and bringing your artistic vision to fruition. Here we get a wonderful narrative of attempting both in Los Angeles: the small apartments, the auditions, the weird projects one does just to be able to work. The more personal chapters that follow the making of the movie give us a look at an extreme version of movie-making, one where there is an inexperienced dreamer at the center who obviously needs help but refuses to ask for it because he has been let down so many times before. He is a bull with his vision, forcing it onto everyone because he has learned that the only way he’ll get anywhere is by independence.
Frankly, James Franco making a movie about a cult movie that’s also about making movies in general seems like the perfect kind of meta-narrative he’s drawn to. So, yeah, we’ll see how this one goes, but “The Room” getting a fresh look from the perspective of James Franco almost makes perfect sense. [Deadline]