Imagine the worst movie ever made. No, seriously, THE WORST. Now multiply it by 100. That might give you an idea of what it’s like to watch the absolutely hilarious, confusing, nonsensical The Room, a 2003 movie written, produced, directed and starred (YES IT’S THAT BAD) by a very strange person named Tommy Wiseau.
The Disaster Artist: My Life Inside The Room, The Greatest Bad Movie Ever Made (2013, Simon and Schuster, 270 pages) is lead actor Greg Sestero’s account on how the movie got made and how the hell he ended up in it. It alternates chapters following his getting to know Tommy Wiseau and the making of the movie itself, revealing that this absolute masterpiece could have turned out to be much, much worse.
Sestero is as charming a storyteller as it gets: by the end, the reader feels like part of the cast, exhausted by Tommy’s tantrums and relieved to see the filming process get wrapped. All of this is made an incredibly fast and enjoyable read thanks to Sestero’s comic insights into Wiseau’s mind and that of everyone involved in making the movie.
What makes this such a great book, however, is that it never resents the craziness; in fact, it embraces it and redeems it. I honestly don’t think it’s possible to come out of reading this without warming up to Tommy and his determination to make it in Hollywood even if Hollywood constantly spits on his face. Sestero does an incredible job at portraying this dark, mysterious and complex person as more than the guy we laugh at at the movie theater. Wiseau is human, heart-breakingly so, and you’re constantly reminded of that when his weaknesses and insecurities show between the cracks of his megalomaniac and arrogant exterior façade.
Set to be adapted to movie by James Franco (who will play Wiseau himself), The Disaster Artist is a treat to anyone who has ever watched The Room or is in any way interested in the backstories of Hollywood movies. To be quite honest, it’s a great read to anyone interested in, well, interesting people, because if there is anything to be said about Wiseau, it’s that he succeeded at being completely different from everyone else.
To sum up: watch the movie, read the book, and come and thank me when you manage to stop laughing.