In the past several years since The Room, its lead actors Tommy Wiseau and Greg Sestero have been elevated to cult-like status. Sestero has kept himself busy, writing his tell-all book about the trouble behind-the-scenes with The Disaster Artist, seeing his book transformed into its own movie with James Franco acting and directing, and re-teaming with Wiseau to work on their new film, Best F(r)iends. It’s all contributed to one of the craziest tales in recent movie history, and given Part Two of this double feature film is still on its way, it’s not all over by a long shot. DAVID MORGAN-BROWN speaks to Sestero about his creative endeavours.
I keep thinking this was a film that you wanted to make so you could re-team with Tommy Wiseau, is that right?
Yeah, I’d watched a bunch of the new TV shows like Fargo and Breaking Bad and True Detective, so I wanted to tell that kind of a quirky offbeat crime story, and I was like “what if Tommy and I work together again?” But I really wanted to put him in a part that would be interesting, that wouldn’t be making fun of him, and so I was really passionate about making sure this time he fits the part. I was only gonna do this if it was a part that I was interested to see him in.
Given this ended up being a two-part film, was it a long screenplay that you wrote initially?
Not really, no, it was written as one film and when as we were putting it together, we realised that it was two separate movies. Part One it’s kind of this LA noir vibe and the second one is like a desert sprawl kind of Breaking Bad/ Coen Brothers’ type movie. So very different movies, and I thought it would be nice to give the audience a break, kind of like an old-school double feature.
How did the screenplay or the structure of the story change as you were editing it and deciding to make it into two films?
I wrote it as one film. I had an edible late one night and I was like tripping out and I wrote it in four days. And then we shot the whole thing and as we’re editing it, we’re doing these test screenings in London and a few people saw it and they’re like “oh, wow, I needed to like digest what I just watched”. So I said let’s focus on getting the film to the point where [spoiler omitted] and that’s what we did and people really liked it. It was the right length and I was like “okay, I think people need to see this, digest it to think about it, and then they’d be ready to watch another one”.
What have you been up to with Tommy in terms of your friendship over the past 15 years? It seems like you’ve sort of rekindled a friendship since around The Disaster Artist?
I think any friendship, especially when you’re as different as Tommy and I are, it takes at least some time to have a break and grow. But I think The Disaster Artist definitely kind of made everything work because I realised that The Room was not something I believed in, but he really had a vision for it and ended up becoming something. And then the book (The Disaster Artist) was something I had a vision for that he didn’t really get, but it ended up becoming the thing that kind of brought us together and made everything work.
How has it been different in terms of your friendship when making The Disaster Artist because you sort of had a bit more of a hand in that than Tommy did?
With Best F(r)iends, it was a lot easier. Tommy was like, “I’m here, tell me what to do”. He worked hard, he took it seriously. It was different from The Room because I think both of us were really focused on making the best thing we could. We had more experience, I think we were more comfortable with who we are, and it was a much more enjoyable experience making this movie.
With Best F(r)iends now out, do you see yourself getting into regular acting?
You know, I didn’t think of it that way. I really just thought I wanted to make something. To me, writing is something that feels a little bit more natural in a way because you can kind of control the world and create the world. So I think just for me, it’s just about making films, writing and producing films, whether I’m in them or not. I really enjoyed it, I really like putting actors together, so I think just making movies in whatever capacity, whether I’m in them or not, is moreso what I’d like to do.
With part two on its way, do you see yourself and Tommy doing any more reunions in the future?
I think these tie together really well. The first film, people seem to really enjoy it. The second film we’ve tested, it’s gotten a really great response, it’s a very different movie. We did a little testing in a Sydney private screening yesterday and they didn’t know what to expect. I guess the next thing I want to do is make a horror film. I want to figure out what that’s gonna be and let it kind of evolve and take time with that. So, yeah, never say never. I didn’t think any of this would happen 10 years ago, if people had told me any of this would have happened, I would’ve thought “you’re completely crazy”. I think it’s about kind of following your passion and see where the next thing takes you.