So, apparently I got this book in 2013. A whopping four years later I have finally found the time to read it. It was unfortunately not worth the wait. For those that don’t know, this is a tell all tale about what it was like on set of the best worst movie ever made – The Room.
The cult phenomena, released in 2003 is renowned for its nonsensical script and awful continuity. The Room is infamous because of its director, writer and leading actor Tommy Wiseau. Despite being for all the wrong reasons, the film has a niche audience of people who appreciate it – but perhaps not in the way Wiseau would have wanted.
The book is written by Wiseau’s co-star Greg Sestero and journalist Tom Bissell. James Franco is due to be releasing his on screen adaptation in December of this year. While being an entertaining and revealing book, I found that it smacks of arrogance and self-pity.
Anyone that self-funds a million dollar movie is going to be a character. To describe Wiseau as eccentric would be an understatement. It was abhorrently clear that Wiseau suffers delusions of grandeur and is perhaps not the most mentally stable of people, the book confirms this. It also confirms that he was horrible to everyone on the set and really had no idea about film production. Despite this he managed to gain some traction, all be it as a laughing stock.
Greg Sestero has got an obvious agenda with this book. He is desperate to not be tarred with the same brush and perhaps saw it as a chance to clamber away from the bad rep. From the first chapter is is very clear that Greg was at a turning point in his life and was ruthlessly chasing his dream.
While he reminds us that he genuinely liked Tommy, he also reveals that he was just riding on his coat-tails. Greg never once sat his ‘friend’ down and told him how crap his movie was, he never walked away from the production. He openly admits he was in it for the money, not the credibility, and he therefore (in my mind) has no right to complain. The ‘poor out of work actor saw a chance and took it’ story doesn’t wash.
I found the book to read like a sad letter. Sestero is trying to explain why he starred in the movie and how thankful he is, while totally annihilating the character of a man he claims to care about. I don’t doubt Tommy Wiseau was annoying, unprofessional, disrespectful, chauvinistic etc. I do however doubt the point of this book and in turn, how the upcoming movie will turn out.
I wanted some real insight. I wanted to understand why this movie ever got made and some of the on-set antics. I didn’t want a ‘he-said-she-said’ account. It seems that Franco has had the good sense to not include Sestero or Bissell in the adaptation process, so perhaps the whiney subtext will be removed?
It may still be possible for some cinematic greatness to come from The Room. We will have to wait until December to find out. Unfortunately the literary greatness ship has sailed right into shitbook island.