James Franco is…many things. At press time, he is most recently the author of a short story that is about not sleeping with Lindsay Lohan. And, you guys, it is some freshman year realness.
In terms of writing ability, Franco is on par with E.L. James after developing a Bret Easton Ellis fixation. It’s not good. But it so desperately wants to be good. And it so desperately wants you to think it doesn’t care what you think. And that sums up Franco’s career, at least the last eight years or so of it. He’s trying so hard to do something and none of us seem to understand and he wants us to think he doesn’t need us to understand or approve and he may not actually want us to understand but he definitely wants us to approve. To praise. To gaze in awe at the impossible art of it all. It’s several levels above Shia LaBeouf with a bag over his head but a plane ride away from actual art or truth.
And that’s why Franco is absolute perfection for the role of Tommy Wiseau. Spectacular spot-on perfection.
Whereas other actors could no doubt do a passable impression, maybe even a fully realized, empathetic performance, Franco embodies the character, the however-real-he-may-be man, in an implausibly meta way no one else could. Granted, Franco has the looks and acting talent Wiseau could only dream of, but they have more in common than you’d think a dreamy artiste type and a cro-magnon testament to human weirdness might.
I am a devoted lover of The Room. I read The Disaster Artist upon release and was riveted, and am now fully engrossed in the audiobook, read by author Greg Sestero (he Mark of “oh hi, Mark” fame, and to be played by Dave Franco in the adaptation). Even if you’ve read the book, I implore you, listen to the audiobook, too. It is worth every penny. And, as I spend my car rides listening to Sestero’s flawless Wiseau impression and tale of this mysterious, sad man, one thought has played over and over again: Franco will pull this off.
So, in the spirit of Tommy and his never-give-up spirit, you keep writing your short stories, Franco. Teach your online screenwriting class and selfie your little heart out. This is the role you were born to play.
And if people don’t like it?
As Tommy would say, don’t worry about it.