There are a handful of films whose sheer, unadulterated awfulness turns them into beloved cult classics — think Ed Wood’s Plan 9 From Outer Space, or Claudio Fragasso’s Troll 2. No bad-movie pantheon would be complete without Tommy Wiseau’s The Room, which showed at a handful of California theaters in 2003, and whose one-billboard advertising campaign in Hollywood helped garner it both attention and, then later, notoriety. The making of that fiasco was detailed by co-star Greg Sestero’s behind-the-scenes book The Disaster Artist. Now, that tome is getting its own film adaptation, courtesy of James Franco. And its newly released first trailer (watch it above) suggests a movie-about-movies like no other.
Franco produced, directed, and stars in The Disaster Artist as Wiseau, who himself was wholly responsible for The Room, an almost inexplicably awful drama about a love triangle that’s marked by some of the worst acting ever committed to celluloid, and complicated by random subplots that come and go as they please. The Disaster Artist’s first trailer doesn’t go into any of that, however. Instead, it merely presents a prolonged look at multiple attempts by Franco as Wiseau to remember his lines upon entering a specific scene — a failure that gives you a fair idea of the monumental ineptitude at play for both the auteur, and his movie within the movie.
The Disaster Artist will be following in the footsteps of Tim Burton’s Ed Wood, insofar as it provides an insider’s peek at the creation of a mind-boggling artistic flop. Whether it can attract an audience outside The Room acolytes remains to be seen, although its first trailer — also showcasing co-stars Seth Rogen and Dave Franco — suggests a broad comedy with mainstream appeal. And the fact that A24 is releasing the film in December, in the heart of awards season, implies that the distributor (responsible for last year’s Best Picture winner Moonlight) believes that it has some Oscar potential.
With an all-star cast that includes Josh Hutcherson, Zac Efron, Hannibal Buress, Melanie Griffith, Sharon Stone, Jackie Weaver, Lizzy Caplan, Alison Brie, Bryan Cranston, Kristen Bell, Adam Scott, Judd Apatow, Jason Mantzoukas, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Kate Upton, Megan Mullally, Zach Braff, and J.J. Abrams, it certainly won’t be light on marquee names. The Disaster Artist is due in theaters on Dec. 1.
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