james franco as tommy wiseau

The Room is one of the most fascinating bad movies ever made. Like so many examples of accidental outsider art (see the likes of Dangerous Men), here is a movie that isn’t lazy or lacking in passion – it’s just made by somebody whose burning desire to tell a story outweighs his talent on every conceivable level. The mainstream acceptance of The Room has been a double-edged sword for the film’s legacy. It is now one of the most famous stinkers of all time, but its status as an underground sensation has been tarnished by its move into the mainstream. Everyone can quote The Room, which dulls the mystique that powers so many cult favorites.

I’m absolutely fascinated by The Disaster Artist, James Franco‘s new film that will chronicle the making of The Room. I wonder if this look behind the curtains, brought to you by one of the most delightfully weird guys working in Hollywood at the moment, will restore the film as a B-movie oddity worthy of discussion or continue to reduce it to memes.

Long story short: Franco has revealed a first look as himself as The Room director Tommy Wiseau and a bunch of new people have joined the cast.

The big reveal came on Instagram, where Franco (who is starring in and directing the movie) shared an image of himself in character. The long black wig was always going to be a given, but Franco also seems to have nailed Wiseau’s craggy and unusual squint. He shares the photo with his brother, Dave Franco, who is playing The Room actor Greg Sestero in the film.

????”THE DISASTER ARTIST: The making of THE ROOM.”???? It has begun!!!!!

A photo posted by James Franco (@jamesfrancotv) on

Although James Franco’s take on the oddly accented and eccentric Wiseau will be the main draw here, it will be up to Dave Franco to anchor the whole thing. After all, The Disaster Artist in based on Sestero and Tom Bissell’s 2013 book of the same name, which tells the story of the making of The Room through Sestero’s eyes. The book chronicles Sestero’s life before, during and after his involvement in the film, as well as his relationship with Wiseau, who wrote, produced, starred in, and directed The Room despite not being qualified for any of those positions.

As filming on The Disaster Artist begins, a few final cast members have joined the project. The Hollywood Reporter reports that Ari Graynor, Jacki Weaver, Hannibal Buress and Andrew Santino have joined the cast. Graynor will play Juliette Danielle, the actress who plays Lisa (as in “You’re tearing me apart, Lisa!“). Buress, a seasoned stand-up comedian, will take on the role of Bill Meur, who rents space to Wiseau so he can make his movie. Santino will play Scott Holmes, the actor who plays Mike. THR says that Weaver, a two-time Oscar nominee, will play “Claudette,” which means that she’s probably playing actress Carolyn Minnott, who played the character of Claudette in The Room.

In a separate article, THR also revealed that Kate Upton has joined the film, but in an unknown role. And in another separate article, they report that Zac Efron will cameo as “a drug dealer” in the film, although it’s not clear if he’ll be playing an actual drug dealer or an actor playing a drug dealer. These newcomers join a cast that already includes the Franco brothers, Seth Rogen, and Josh Hutcherson.

There is a precedent for the behind-the-scenes stories of bad movies becoming great films. Tim Burton’s Ed Wood tells the story of infamous B-movie director Edward D. Wood Jr. with warmth and humor, taking what could have been a series of cheap shots and instead delivering one of the best biopics ever made (and directing Johnny Depp to one of his best performances). It’s far too early to tell if The Disaster Artist will be anything like that gem, but there are far worse films to model yourself after. In any case, knowing the always avant-garde Franco, there’s no way this movie will be boring. It’s going to be something, that’s for sure.

In any case, here’s a reminder of why The Room is so fascinating in video supercut form. If you haven’t seen this movie before, know that these moments don’t make much sense in the context of the film, either.

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