When you walk past the Prince Charles Cinema in the heart of London’s West End, you may notice that the marquee above the entrance has a small, permanent sign that boasts that this is the home of Tommy Wiseau’s The Room. Like a miniature version of his infamous Los Angeles billboard, Wiseau eerily glares down on passersby, but Tommy Wiseau and Greg Sestero can also be witnessed in person at this location, as they visit the cinema at frequent intervals. Here, Wiseau and Sestero introduce the film that brought them cult fame, take questions from the crowd – albeit Wiseau rarely answers any – and throw footballs back and forth to fans in the Leicester Square side street outside the cinema.
As a result, the cinema has become particularly famous for the wild energy that fills it when The Room audiences let loose with endless, heckling roars and a monsoon of spoons – mostly plastic ones, however, cinema manager Paul Vickery does recall a few unfortunate incidents involving metal spoons – which requires the staff to take swift action to get it all cleaned up before the next flock of cult film fans fill the room for yet another of the frequently sold out screenings.
This has clearly not escaped James Franco, as he and his brother Dave take the stage after a special preview screening of their new film The Disaster Artist has just finished to a standing ovation from the sold out screen.
“Tommy and Greg – the real ones – say that this is the best theater to show The Room in the world!”
As James’ icebreaker causes significant cheering from the ecstatic crowd, the Francos begin to go into more detail about the production of their new film, which has not only opened to wide critical acclaim, but has also won several awards already. While James simply states that he found it to be an incredibly fun experience, younger brother Dave elaborates.
“This was the first time the two of us have worked together in a substantial way. My wife and some of my best friends were also in the movie, and it was as fun as you’d expect. As an actor, when you’re working with people you know, you feel comfortable taking risks that you wouldn’t normally take, knowing that no one is going to judge you, so I’m glad I finally said yes to one of my brother’s movies.”
Considering how well they work together in the The Disaster Artist, it may come as a surprise to some that Dave and James have previously avoided working together, but Dave has always had a very specific reason for not sharing the screen with his older brother.
“Without going too far into it, when I first started my career, I just wanted to distance myself from him in the work arena because I wanted to pave my own path and stand on my own two feet, but after a while I just thought ‘fuck it’; he’s my brother, I love him, we have a lot of similar sensibilities and are attracted to projects that are slightly outside the box, and this definitely falls into that category!”
While the subject matter of The Disaster Artist is indeed very eclectic, the sheer absurdity of The Room inevitably begs the question how the Francos became acquainted with The Room in the first place. As the ringleader of the adaptation of Sestero and Bissell’s book, James recalls how he was introduced to Wiseau’s magnum opus.