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Greg Sestero stated that when he was writing the book, Tommy Wiseau said that only two actors could play him in the adaptation: James Franco or Johnny Depp. Wiseau, who claims to have once lived in New Orleans, was a fan of Franco's performance in the film Sonny (2002).
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In real life, Greg and Tommy did not move to Los Angeles at the same time. Tommy offered his LA apartment to Greg, for a nominal rent for several months (though Greg stated none of the rent checks he sent to Tommy were deposited), while Tommy came and went from San Francisco at random. Once Greg had booked some small gigs, Tommy suddenly moved in full time to the LA apartment, cashed all of Greg's checks at once overdrawing his account, and set up the divider in the living room as seen in this film.
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In almost every interview for The Disaster Artist, James Franco mentions that Tommy Wiseau approves of "99.9%" of the film; his only objections were the lighting of the first scene, which Franco believes was because Tommy was wearing sunglasses, when watching the scene, and also for the poor way James threw the football.
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Seth Rogen and Jonah Hill were early devoted fans of the film. At one point, Hill saw Tommy Wiseau at a grocery store in Los Angeles and was so starstruck that he secretly took a photo of Wiseau shopping that he immediately sent to Rogen.
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To promote the film, the distributor rented the same billboard, on Highland Avenue, in Los Angeles that Tommy Wiseau rented for five years to promote The Room (2003); thereby, mimicking the layout of the original billboard and including a phone number to RSVP to screenings.
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James Franco spoke like Tommy Wiseau throughout each day's filming, and even directed using Wiseau's distinctive voice and syntax. Even though Jason Mantzoukas said that Franco did not direct in character, he only spoke like Wiseau. Seth Rogen admitted he had a hard time being directed by Franco, while being interviewed, on The Howard Stern Show; he said during the first two days, he had a hard time containing his laughter, as Franco spoke like Tommy Wiseau, with his notable European accent. Franco told Rogen he would get used to it, which he eventually did.
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In his book, Greg Sestero stated after his first rehearsal with Tommy Wiseau they played soccer, not football as shown in the film, though Wiseau still shouted "touchdown" after scoring a goal on Sestero.
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In the film, Greg's love interest, Amber, is played by Dave Franco's real life wife, actress Alison Brie.
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James Franco recalled driving in Los Angeles, after 2003 and seeing the giant billboard for the film that Wiseau rented for five years. Franco said he initially thought it might be for a cult, because of the phone number on the billboard. The phone number would go to Wiseau's apartment and there was a recording promoting the film, or he would sometimes answer and tell the caller when and where it was playing.
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When Tommy steps out of the limo, at the premiere; you can see that Marcus, the man Tommy hired to document The Room, is still following and filming Tommy in the background.
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The infamous Chris-R scene is being shown as taking place in an alleyway, while in the final film it takes place on a rooftop. It was reshot because Tommy Wiseau thought it would be "more dramatic" on the roof rather than its initial location in an alley. The reshoot cost $80,000 and took two weeks to shoot.
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James Franco had only two people in mind for the role of Juliette. His first choice was Ari Graynor. His second was Britney Spears.
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James Franco described the script as "a cross between Boogie Nights (1997) and The Master (2012)." Both films were written and directed by Paul Thomas Anderson.
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At a Q&A screening of The Room (2003), before production of this film began, Greg Sestero expressed interest in playing the actor who was originally cast as Mark and who Wiseau fired and replaced with Sestero, himself. However, this element, of the true story, was left out of the final film.
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The scene where Sandy goes to cash a check from Tommy is the only scene in the film in which neither Tommy nor Greg appear.
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Besides an interview for Esquire and a video for Funnyordie.com, brothers James Franco and Dave Franco have never worked together or appeared on-screen together until this film. Dave almost appeared as himself with his brother in This Is the End (2013), but he was later excluded because his character would have had to die and it was considered too sad for the already dark comedy. James was also considered for a role in '21 Jump Street (2012) respectively starring his brother Dave.
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When James Franco won the Golden Globe for Best Actor for his performance as Tommy Wiseau, he called out his brother Dave Franco and the real Tommy Wiseau to the stage. Franco had to prevent Wiseau from taking the microphone, and related a story of how Wiseau was once stuck in a traffic jam caused by the Golden Globes ceremony, and out of frustration of not being invited to that ceremony, he came up with the idea to make his own movie, which became The Room (2003).
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James Franco was mentioned in "The Disaster Artist," the book on which this film is based.
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In a December 2017 interview, Greg Sestero admitted that he was disappointed with the film; he felt the film "should've been a half hour longer" and that it "should've included Tommy's backstory."
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James Franco played James Dean in James Dean (2001). Dean was a huge influence on both Tommy Wiseau and Greg Sestero, and a major bonding point for their early friendship, as detailed in the book and shown in this movie. Even the infamous "You're tearing me apart!" moment in The Room (2003) was inspired by Rebel Without a Cause (1955). Years later, when Franco approached Wiseau to play him, Franco learned that he was already a fan of the 2001 James Dean biopic. The biopic gave Wiseau the confidence it was the right choice.
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Michael Rousselet, who is credited as "Patient Zero" of The Room's cult phenomenon, snuck onto the set for the final scene and is one of the first audience members to high five James Franco as Tommy Wiseau as he runs down the aisle.
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The film received a standing ovation, after the premiere, at the SXSW film festival in March 2017.
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The Bryan Cranston cameo was originally intended for Richard Dean Anderson for Stargate but while working with Cranston on Why Him? (2016), James Franco got the idea to do the scene with Cranston instead offering Greg a role on Malcolm in the Middle (2000).
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The original studio space, where most of the interior scenes of The Room were shot, no longer exists. The filmmakers ended up finding a soundstage just one block from the original location, where the sets were recreated.
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In addition to James Franco and Dave Franco in the lead roles, their other brother, Tom Franco has a brief role in the film as Karl.
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The "robot crab", in Tommy's car, is a Transformers toy named Nautilator. It is a character, who like Tommy, is notorious for his extreme incompetence and constant failure, though nevertheless, often stumbles into accidental success, even while completely failing at his intended mission.
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Jim Parsons, Kate Upton, Eliza Coupe, and Zach Braff all shot cameos for The Disaster Artist (2017) that had to be cut for time. As seen on The IMDb Show (2017).
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Before shooting the sex scene, Tommy mentions Alfred Hitchcock being abusive to his actors on the set of The Birds (1963). Melanie Griffith, who appears in this film, is the daughter of actress Tippi Hedren, who appeared in "The Birds" and Marnie (1964) for Hitchock, and who has described that director's behavior as being very possessive and abusive toward her.
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During the 2018 Academy Awards season, James Franco was being campaigned for a Best Actor nomination. However, shortly after his Golden Globe win, Franco was accused of sexual harassment by former acting students; these accusations came one week before the Academy announced its nominations, and on the day of, the film only received a Best Adapted Screenplay nomination. Franco's exclusion was considered, by some, as one of the larger snubs of the year.
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All three stars of podcast 'How Did This Get Made?': (Paul Scheer, June Diane Raphael and Jason Mantzoukas) appear in the film. In a Variety article, it was revealed that the podcast episode featuring The Room (2003), which Greg Sestero appeared on, was a contributing factor, not only in the source book being completed, but it also served as an inspiration for the screenwriters.
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The Disaster Artist (2017) is A24's first ever movie to be shown on IMAX Screens; it was shown in 100 locations during opening weekend.
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The sign on top of Tommy's apartment block in Los Angeles reads OJAI. "Oh hi..." is a famously recurring line in The Room (2003).
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In the rehearsal scene of "Waiting For Godot," the director says that it's pronounced "Guh-DOH," not "GOD-oh." However, Samuel Beckett stated that "GOD-oh" is, in fact, the correct pronunciation, thus the actor was actually correct; even though, this was, in all likelihood, not the intent here.
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James Franco stayed in character, as Tommy Wiseau, in between shots, while directing the film.
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James Franco brought Tommy Wiseau, the writer/director/actor of The Room (2003), up on stage with him to accept his Golden Globe for his performance in the film.
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Several scenes in the movie take place on rooftops (Greg talking to actor friend, Greg talking to Tommy), a clear nod to the multiple scenes which take place on the roof in The Room (2003).
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Tommy Wiseau directed and starred in The Room (2003). In this movie, James Franco also directed and starred.
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This is Josh Hutcherson and James Franco's third collaboration as actor and director, following In Dubious Battle (2016) and The Long Home (2019).
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This film marks Zac Efron and Dave Franco's fourth collaboration after Charlie St. Cloud (2010), Neighbors (2014), and Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising (2016).
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The film features five Oscar nominated actors: James Franco, Jacki Weaver, Sharon Stone, Melanie Griffith and Bryan Cranston.
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James Franco and Seth Rogen have worked together numerous times, such as in Freaks and Geeks (1999), Knocked Up (2007), Pineapple Express (2008), This Is the End (2013), The Sound and the Fury (2014), The Interview (2014), The Night Before (2015), Sausage Party (2016), F for Franco (2015) and Zeroville (2019).
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James Franco, Zoey Deutch, Bryan Cranston, Megan Mullally and Casey Wilson all appeared in Why Him? (2016).
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Greg Sestero is 6'2, but Dave Franco is 5'7. Tommy Wiseau is 5'9, and James Franco is 5'11 which puts him somewhat convincingly in the ballpark to play Wiseau. Sestero is 5" taller than Wiseau, but James Franco is 4" taller than his brother, Dave. So while the real Sestero was looking down at the real Wiseau, while filming The Room (2003), in the film "The Disaster Artist"; the character, Wiseau, was looking down at the character Sestero from roughly the same height difference.
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Its December 8, 2017 opening day was the 37th birthday of Juliette Danielle, who played Lisa in the original movie The Room (2003).
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Sharon Stone, who plays Greg Sestero's agent, told Dave Franco that she was visited by the ghost of the real woman the night before her filming day.
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A24 is best known for their films Lady Bird, Moonlight, The Florida Project, Spring Breakers, The Lobster, The Witch, and Ex Machina.
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Gala Screening on the 14th Edition of Dubai International Film Festival 2017, screened on December 9, 2017. A message from James Franco and Dave Franco was played before the screening.
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In the film, there is a scene in which Greg and Tommy visit where James Dean tragically died. James Franco who plays Tommy played Dean in James Dean (2001).
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Judd Apatow is credited in a block, with other actors, during the end credits; he, however, was not in the rolling credits, with a character name.
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Allison Brie and Megan Mullally have previously appeared in The Kings of Summer.
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The talking head interview snippets at the beginning of the film were inspired by Warren Beatty's Reds (1981), but James Franco discovered afterwards that Tommy Wiseau used to film similar interviews with audiences after seeing his film.
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Over 20 minutes of The Room (2003) was painstakingly recreated for this film, including almost exact body movements and lines spoken at nearly identical timing to the original; the Disaster Artist ends with side-by-side comparisons of these scenes. However, the way in which some lines were poorly dubbed, in the original, was not recreated.
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In actuality, Greg Sestero had no interest in acting in The Room (2003) and originally only intended to serve as the film's line producer, and Tommy Wiseau had cast a different actor to play Mark. The night before filming began, Wiseau spontaneously decided that he wanted Sestero to play the role. Sestero reluctantly accepted after Wiseau offered him a substantial pay raise and a new car. Rather than telling the original actor that he had been replaced, Wiseau had him come to set and perform his scenes for weeks, but instructed the camera crew not to roll any film.
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Tommy Wiseau himself appears in the post credit scene, as an invented character named Henry. The scene was written and filmed as one of the conditions for selling his life rights to the film.
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The standing ovation, at the premiere, was fictionalized, but represents the future reception, when the film became a cult hit. The real reaction of the first audience was uncomfortable silence and awkward laughter, described by one actress as "like trying not to laugh in church", and some people simply walked out of the theater. The afterparty was equally awkward, as guests tried to avoid even discussing the movie. It was not until then-college student Michael Rousselet saw it alone in an empty theater and realized how unintentionally hilarious it was; he called his friends to come watch the next screening and word of mouth quickly spread.
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The scene between Greg Sestero and Tommy Wiseau during the premiere of The Room (2003) was largely an invention of the film, as Sestero's book makes no mention of how the audience received the film during its premiere, only that Wiseau was brought to tears by how happy he was. Robyn Paris stated in an interview with Entertainment Weekly in 2008 that most of the audience was "crying with laughter". Sestero also said in Q&A screenings that people who attended were disappointed but amused while some walked out with negative comments heard by Wiseau and Sestero.
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In the film, Greg Sestero is surprised that Sandy Schklair (Seth Rogen) is not accompanying them on the final shooting days in San Francisco. In reality, Schklair had left the production long before then, to work on a project with Janusz Kaminski. Also omitted from the film, Tommy Wiseau had fired the original cinematographer, Raphael Smadja (Paul Scheer), after numerous disputes, and similarly hired and shortly thereafter fired Graham Futerfas, before Todd Barron completed the film.
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