Brooklyn BookBeat: Actor Sestero to speak in DUMBO with co-author Bissell
By Samantha Samel
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Tommy Wiseau’s “The Room” gained notoriety as one of the worst films made in recent history when it debuted in 2003. One reviewer suggested watching the movie was “like getting stabbed in the head,” and the $6 milllion film closed after just two weeks, earning only $1,800 at the box office. But a decade later, “The Room” persists in pop culture with an international cult following. Masses of dedicated fans wait in line for hours to view screenings, complete with audience rituals, costumes and thousands of plastic spoons.
And now, interested spectators have even more material to consume: In “The Disaster Artist: My Life Inside ‘The Room,’ The Greatest Bad Movie Ever Made” (Simon & Schuster; October 1, 2013), Greg Sestero, who starred in the film, traces the movie’s bizarre path to infamy. With co-author Tom Bissell, an award-winning journalist who wrote a wildly popular essay on “The Room” for Harper’s Magazine, Sestero unpacks the questions surrounding how the movie was made in the first place and provides a detailed portrait of a mysterious filmmaker who sidestepped every obstacle in the Hollywood system in an effort to achieve success on his own terms.
Tommy Wiseau wrote, directed, produced, financed, marketed and starred in “The Room.” A curious man of unknown age and origin, Wiseau was always fixated on becoming a movie star. Sestero also dreamed of succeeding in Hollywood, and this shared goal united the two actors, who met at an acting class in San Francisco in 1998 when Greg was only 19 years old.
Sestero enjoyed some success, but was eager to make a big break. Wiseau, on the other hand, was continually rejected. Still, he resolved to create his own masterpiece and thus began working on “The Room.” The film, of course, did not garner the praise that Wiseau hoped for, but it has nonetheless become a pop-culture phenomenon, with such celebrity fans as Paul Rudd, Jonah Hill, David Cross and Kristen Bell. Others, such as Roger Ebert, Alec Baldwin, Rob Lowe and Bill Simmons have all Tweeted about the film. And Wiseau himself has become somewhat of an icon; there are action figures in his likeness and even The Room Tribute Video Game, which had over one million downloads in its first week.
The authors will appear in Brooklyn on Oct. 3 for a book launch party at DUMBO’s powerHouse Arena.
The Oct. 3 event will begin at 7 p.m. Tickets are $30 and include a copy of “The Disaster Artist.” powerHouse Arena is located at 37 Main St. in DUMBO.