It’s NOT a screening of The Room (2003), you guys. It’s actually something much cooler than that.
See, you could very easily look at the event listings and observe that Greg Sestero will be in town on Wednesday, Nov. 29, presenting a special show at the Globe Cinema, and mistakenly think, “Aha! He’ll be presenting a screening of that hilarious fiasco film he’s in, and which he’s written a book about.” After all, the event is being put on by the good folks at The Fifth Reel as part of its five-year anniversary celebration, and the one film those guys love to screen more than anything else (other than The Big Lebowski) is The Room. But … didn’t they do a screening of The Room already this year?
Yes. Yes, they did. As I said at the beginning, this is something different.
Okay, enough stalling. Here’s what your ticket gets you, straight from Sestero himself:
• Sestero (“Mark” from The Room, but you already knew that) performs a live reading of the original The Room script, which he calls, “The funniest thing I’ve ever read.” Local talent and a few lucky audience members will be brought onstage to read some of the parts.
• A short documentary (produced by Sestero) about the making of The Room, called The Disaster Artist (named after Greg’s amazing tell-all memoir, and not to be confused with the James Franco feature film of the same name, coming to theatres this December).
• Greg will be reading from, and signing copies of his book, The Disaster Artist, which Room auteur and professional strange person Tommy Wiseau calls “the red bible.”
• A special advance screening of an entire new feature-length film called Best Friends, written by Sestero and featuring Greg and Tommy (!!!), which I didn’t even realize was a thing.
Wow, that’s … that’s a lot, right? That’s actually kind of incredible. And it sounds like an ideal way to appreciate the madness that is The Room with less of the kind of Rocky Horror-esque audience call-backs (i.e. drunken shouting) that characterizes many Room screenings.
Attendees are going to be astonished to learn that the tin-eared dialogue they laughed at in The Room was actually an improved, more coherent version of what Tommy originally wrote. Even Wiseau’s James Dean mimicking line, “You’re tearing me apart, Lisa!” was in the script as, “You’re taking me apart, Lisa!” (English is hard.)
Of the script, Greg says: “It’s Tommy’s brain, unfiltered, straight onto the page, and there’s comedy in every line of dialogue. The best parts of the script are the stage directions, and Johnny’s complaining about some random character named ‘Old Man Donkey,’ whom we never meet. Reading the script aloud onstage with a group of unprepared audience members is truly an experience. And it’s fun to give someone a chance to play Johnny onstage.”
Wiseau has one of the most bizarre screen presences of all time, and his mysterious accent and inability to remember his lines (which he wrote) made for some agonizing days on the set of The Room. You’d think that the makers of Best Friends would have chosen somebody else — anybody else — to co-star with Greg in the new film; but no. This was a story Greg wanted to tell about a bizarre road trip he took with Tommy in 2003, and there’s really only one man who could play that character …
“Best Friends was the opposite experience of making The Room,” says Sestero. “The idea for the movie came to me after I saw an early cut of The Disaster Artist. I was able to see Tommy in a new light, and realized that all he has ever wanted was to be taken seriously as an actor. No one has really given him a chance.”
Huh. Sounds crazy to me, but I’ve seen footage from Best Friends, and I’ll be damned if Wiseau doesn’t look fascinating in the role. In any case, I guess the duo are still buddies, even after all those embarrassing things Greg wrote about Tommy in his book.
“Tommy and I are cool,” assures Sestero. “Ultimately, I think Tommy has accepted the book and is supportive of its (film) adaptation.”
Oh Hi Mark: An Evening with Greg Sestero begins promptly at 9 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 29th at the Globe Cinema. Tickets for the 18+ event are available at Eventbrite. For more details, go to fifthreel.ca or consult The Fifth Reel’s Facebook page.
John Tebbutt is the Video Vulture. He has been writing about obscure and ridiculous cinema since 1997. You can keep up with his nonsense on his website, Facebook and Twitter. Check out the latest episode of his online series here.