The Disaster Artist: My Life Inside The Room, the Greatest Bad Movie Ever Made

Overview

The hilarious and inspiring story of how a mysterious misfit got past every roadblock in the Hollywood system to achieve success on his own terms: a $6 million cinematic catastrophe called The Room.

Nineteen-year-old Greg Sestero met Tommy Wiseau at an acting school in San Francisco. Wiseau’s scenes were rivetingly wrong, yet Sestero, hypnotized by such uninhibited acting, thought, “I have to do a scene with this guy.” That impulse changed both of their lives. Wiseau seemed ...

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The Disaster Artist: My Life Inside The Room, the Greatest Bad Movie Ever Made

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Overview

The hilarious and inspiring story of how a mysterious misfit got past every roadblock in the Hollywood system to achieve success on his own terms: a $6 million cinematic catastrophe called The Room.

Nineteen-year-old Greg Sestero met Tommy Wiseau at an acting school in San Francisco. Wiseau’s scenes were rivetingly wrong, yet Sestero, hypnotized by such uninhibited acting, thought, “I have to do a scene with this guy.” That impulse changed both of their lives. Wiseau seemed never to have read the rule book on interpersonal relationships (or the instruc­tions on a bottle of black hair dye), yet he generously offered to put the aspiring actor up in his LA apart­ment. Sestero’s nascent acting career first sizzled, then fizzled, resulting in Wiseau’s last-second offer to Sestero of costarring with him in The Room, a movie Wiseau wrote and planned to finance, produce, and direct—in the parking lot of a Hollywood equipment-rental shop.

Wiseau spent $6 million of his own money on his film, but despite the efforts of the disbelieving (and frequently fired) crew and embarrassed (and fre­quently fired) actors, the movie made no sense. Nevertheless Wiseau rented a Hollywood billboard featuring his alarming headshot and staged a red carpet premiere. The Room made $1800 at the box office and closed after two weeks. One reviewer said that watching The Room was like “getting stabbed in the head.”

The Disaster Artist is Greg Sestero’s laugh-out-loud funny account of how Tommy Wiseau defied every law of artistry, business, and friendship to make “the Citizen Kane of bad movies” (Entertainment Weekly), which is now an international phenomenon, with Wiseau himself beloved as an oddball celebrity. Written with award-winning journalist Tom Bissell, The Disaster Artist is an inspiring tour de force that reads like a page-turning novel, an open-hearted portrait of an enigmatic man who will improbably capture your heart.

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Editorial Reviews

San Jose Mercury News
"Hysterical, rollickingly entertaining."
TheWire.com
"Like disaster porn...memorable for being actually inspiring, to my surprise."
Joel Stein
The Disaster Artist doesn’t just answer the question: How do awful cult movies get made? It also reminds us how confusing, hilarious, and wonderful it is to be in your 20s, and why you’re glad you don’t have to do it twice. It’s like a wonderfully weird mash-up of a contemporary Candide and Sunset Boulevard.”
author of Drop Dead Healthy - A.J. Jacobs

"One of the worst movies of all time has spawned one of the most entertaining books I've read in years. It's a happy ending worthy of Hollywood."
Patton Oswalt
"A surprising, hilarious and compelling account of the making of the modern Plan 9 from Outer Space."
A. J. Jacobs
"One of the worst movies of all time has spawned one of the most entertaining books I've read in years. It's a happy ending worthy of Hollywood."
Rob Lowe
"Finally, a hilarious, delusional, and weirdly inspirational explanation for the most deliciously awful movie ever made."
Ben Fountain
"The Disaster Artist has to be one of the funniest, most deliciously twisted tales I have ever read. This extraordinary book is many things: a guide on how to succeed, sort of, in Hollywood; a life lesson in the virtues of deaf, dumb, and blind persistence; a very surreal variation on the archetypal American story of the immigrant dream. But at its heart lies the story of a deep and abiding friendship that survives against all odds, and the insanely bizarre film that stands as proof."
starred review Booklist
"Downright thrilling . . . a making-of book like no other."
Los Angeles Times
"The Disaster Artist is not only the terrifically engaging tale of a bad Hollywood movie, it's one of the most honest books about friendship I've read in years."
The New York Observer
"Even if you haven’t seen Tommy Wiseau’s cult film phenomenon, The Room, it would be a mistake to not pick up The Disaster Artist. "
The Paris Review
"Hilarious . . . the stories behind the making of The Room are even more bizarre than one might expect; truly, like the film itself, they must be seen to be believed.”
The AV Club
"Very funny."
The Huffington Post
“Possibly the most important piece of literature ever printed.”
RollingStone.com
"I laughed so hard reading The Disaster Artist that I cried."
Los Angeles Magazine
"In The Disaster Artist, we learn some fascinating tidbits . . . [Sestero] is an engaging storyteller who takes us from football games in Golden Gate Park to ludicrous parking lot film shoots, peppering the journey with whip-smart insights and laugh-out-loud jokes."
The Brooklyn Rail
"The book's behind-the-scenes tales are so outsized that they are due to become part of movie-making lore."
Man Cave Daily
"Make no mistake about it: The Disaster Artist is terrific. Every page is a treasure that reveals more background information for one of cinema's famous train wrecks."
Bookgasm
"Hysterical . . . a terrific sense of humor is the book's greatest asset."
ChicksDigBooks.com
"Hilarious, and often poignant . . . If you're a fan of The Room, or if you're just looking for a memoir unlike any you've ever read, don't hesitate to pick up this book."
CriticSpeak.com
"A human drama that's compulsively readable, a tale of men whose bond allows them both to stumble their way into cinema history."
The New York Times
“A book about a cinematic comedy of errors . . . sharply detailed . . . funny.”
The Oregonian
“A story of obsession and friendship that only Hollywood can birth . . . Readers aren't propelled through this book simply wondering what will happen, they're more concerned with how in the world it all happened—whether they've never heard of The Room or they've watched it dozens of times.”
Esquire.com
The Disaster Artist delivers an evenhanded portrayal of Wiseau and elucidates more than Room superfans had ever dreamt of learning about their craggy, pale-faced idol.”
Roanoke Times
“Sestero recounts this surreal filmmaking experience 10 years later with grace, intelligence and thoughtfulness. He and Bissell deftly put together an eloquent, wry, absolutely hilarious story. Wiseau’s blunders and Sestero’s dry observations make for laugh-out-loud experiences every chapter.”
The Daily Oklahoman
"How bad is [The Room]? You should watch it and find out for yourself. Then you should read actor Greg Sestero's tell-all memoir, The Disaster Artist, to find out how and why everything about the movie went so wrong. . . . Hilarious and surprisingly touching."
Asbury Park Press
"A revelatory and moving look at both the man and the movie that have proved so fascinating for so many . . . filled with juicy, jaw dropping stories that are too good to spoil here. . . .You don't need to have seen The Room to love The Disaster Artist."
Los Angeles Review of Books
"Hilarious and unexpectedly moving."
VICE.com James Franco
“A great portrayal of hopefuls coming to Los Angeles to pursue their ambitions, and an even greater examination of what it means to be a creative person with a dream and trying to make it come true….In so many ways, Tommy c’est moi.”
Kirkus Reviews
2013-08-15
Funny, engaging first-person account of the making of The Room (2003), "the Citizen Kane of bad movies." French-American actor Sestero collaborates with acclaimed author Bissell (Magic Hours: Essays on Creators and Creation, 2012, etc.), producing a deft, energetic narrative as concerned with the romantic American obsession with celebrity as with his trying involvement with The Room and its notorious producer/director/writer/star, Tommy Wiseau. Wiseau dominates his bewildering, unintentionally hilarious film, so Sestero's focus on trying to understand his friend's baffling background and motivations gives the story of their relationship surprising depth, even though Wiseau comes off as creepy, self-centered and socially inept (though often bighearted and generous toward the youthful Sestero, possibly his only friend). The narrative follows two strands, one beginning with their 1998 meeting in an acting class where Wiseau presented "beautifully, chaotically wrong performances," and the other covering The Room's production, for which Sestero served as both line producer and (at the last minute) as a replacement actor in a key role. Fans of the film will be pleased to learn that making it was an equally punishing and surreal experience, as the manipulative, confusing Wiseau's relations with the cast were "disastrously intemperate." Yet, Wiseau spent so much of his own money that a major Hollywood equipment supplier felt compelled to aid him through the production, even as crew members routinely quit in dismay. Sestero now seems mystified by his willingness to spend time on "Tommy's Planet," having wrongly assumed that Wiseau's vanity project would never reach completion. However, he argues that for all Wiseau's flaws, their friendship provided his abashed younger self with needed inspiration: "He was simply magically uninhibited." Sestero critiques the movie as Tommy's "dream life in line with what he thought an American would want." This may explain why his objectively terrible film nonetheless struck a chord, although the narrative does not explore its cult afterlife, ending abruptly at the film's premiere. An improbably resonant tale of warped creativity and friendship.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781476730400
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster
  • Publication date: 10/7/2014
  • Pages: 288

Meet the Author

Tom Bissell is the author of several books and a winner of the Rome Prize and a Guggenheim Fellowship. He writes frequently for Harper’s and The New Yorker.

Greg Sestero is a French-American actor, producer, and writer. He costarred in the cult phenomenon The Room.

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