Writer and actor, Greg Sestero sits back comfortably munching snacks and drinking iced coffee, while we chat in his hotel room in Adelaide. He’s been given a hamper of South Australian “delicacies” by his previous interviewer and this blonde, California boy is clearly enjoying immersing himself in local culture. Between bites he tells us what first got him into the film biz.
I saw home alone when I was 12 and I wanted to live inside that movie. I was really inspired by it, so i decided to write a sequel with a role for myself opposite Macauley Culkin. That was when I first decided that I wanted to do something in film. And a couple of weeks ago I got invite by Macauley to go on his podcast. So I got to meet him and talk about this. It was incredible!
Sestero found fame through his book The Disaster Artist which was subsequently made into a film, released late last year to critical and popular acclaim. It tells the story of his friendship with the enigmatic Tommy Wiseau and their journey to making “the Citizen Kane of bad movies”, The Room, which has its 15th anniversary on the day we are talking.
The Room came out 15 years ago today. Around 2010 it started showing in London and I kept getting questions like “why did you make the movie?” and “Did you think it was any good?” If they only knew this story started years before the movie came out! I thought the story BEHIND The Room was even more bizarre and hilarious than the film itself. So I decided to take on the challenge and tell that tale. I also wanted to share a story about friendship and about what it’s like to follow your dream. About three weeks after the book was published James Franco reached out. He’d never seen The Room but he said he related to the story and he wanted to tell it.
At the heart of Disaster Artist is the quirky bromance between Sestero and Wiseau, which still pertains to this day. He explains what’s at the heart of that friendship.
Tommy helped me to see life in a different way. I grew up in a strict way but Tommy was able to break the rules and do what he wanted , and that made me feel more open to the freedom to go forth without judging yourself. He allowed me to believe in myself.
Sestero’s visit to Australia, although about The Room and Disaster Artist, was mostly about his new project, Best F(r)iends, which also stars Wiseau. It is a buddy road-movie with more than a few twists, and like Sestero’s previous work, based on a real-life experience.
After we made The Room, around 2003, Tommy and I were driving up the California coast. I thought we were just having a good time, and he thought I was taking him up there to try to kill him! Like something out of a Hitchcock. But I started to think about what that would look like as a plot. What would Tommy be thinking? So I started with that idea, and that’s where the script began.
Best F(r)iends is in two parts, with part 1 premiering in Australia now. Part 2 will appear later in the year. He is clear about what he wants the audience to take away from this work.
I want people to feel an unpredictabililty while they’re in the theatre. Like they really don’t know what’s coming. And captivate them in a new way.
Sestero is himself totally captivating. An articulate and unpredictable writer and performer, his new work should cement his reputation as something much more than just “Wiseau’s sidekick”.
Best F(r)iends (part 1) is showing around Australia now. And look out for Part 2!
Check out the official site here.