Published On: Fri, Dec 1st, 2017

The Disaster Artist’s Dave Franco on the bomb that finally united him with brother James

It can be hard being the little brother, especially when your older bro is James Franco, the Hollywood star who casts a mighty shadow as both director and lead figure of The Disaster Artist.

Fortunately, Dave Franco’s movie career has similarly soared, with hits that include the 21 Jump Street and Lego Movie franchises.

Dave, 32, and James, 39, share the screen in The Disaster Artist, a loving and insightful look at the creation of The Room, the 2003 vanity project by mysterious Eastern European Tommy Wiseau that is often referred to as “the best worst movie ever made.” Dave plays Greg Sestero, the friend and co-conspirator of Wiseau, who of course is played by James.

But the siblings not only get along, they make a great case for fraternal co-operation this holiday season. Dave spoke with the Star during the Toronto International Film Festival premiere of The Disaster Artist, addressing the burning issues of Wiseau and The Room while also spilling on working with your sibling.

I would never do a movie with my two brothers. Just saying.

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My brother and I are very different personalities. It took a long time for us to be able to work together, partially because I wanted to pave my own path. I didn’t want to be known as James Franco’s little brother for the rest of my life, so I made a choice to distance myself from him workwise, but it felt like the right project in the right time. Now I hope to work with him on everything.

Dave Franco poses for a portrait in New York to promote The Disaster Artist, in which he plays a struggling actor drawn into a complicated friendship with fellow hard-luck thespian, Tommy Wiseau.
Dave Franco poses for a portrait in New York to promote The Disaster Artist, in which he plays a struggling actor drawn into a complicated friendship with fellow hard-luck thespian, Tommy Wiseau.  (Taylor Jewell / Taylor Jewell/Invision/AP)  

Had you seen The Room before signing on?

I actually had never seen The Room when my brother first approached me with this project or with the idea of this project. But since then I’ve now probably seen it 20 times, more than I’ve seen any other movie ever. And it is now in my Top 10 . . . it gets to a point where I have started to just consider it a good movie. It’s that watchable.

How does it feel to make a great movie out of a bad one? And how did you even pull that off?

We were very inspired by Ed Wood and we just took it really seriously. We didn’t want to make fun of anyone, we wanted to do the original justice and we wanted to make a movie for The Room fans. We wanted to make it so that people who had never even heard of The Room could enjoy it as well, and so we did that by inserting this very universal theme of two guys trying to achieve their dreams and not taking no for an answer, and everyone can relate to that.

I appreciate how the film gets into the difficulties of male friendship and how hard that can be.

That’s the heart of the movie. You’ve got understand why my character Greg is drawn to someone as eccentric as Tommy, and so that was probably the most difficult part of my job. Tommy was an amazing friend, and Tommy believed in Greg when no one else did, and that goes a long way when you’re trying to make it in a business like acting, where odds are you’re going to fail.

Is acting different when you’re recreating instead of creating?

The recreations of The Room scenes were probably the most fun we had on set because of that very reason. We just took it very, very seriously. When we were recreating those scenes, we wanted every tiny movement to be spot on.

Why is that so important?

Because it just adds to the comedy of it all. This movie is known as the best worst movie ever made and the fact that we’re taking it so, so seriously just makes it that much funnier. We wanted this to be a love letter to Tommy, essentially, and shine a light on how inspiring he is in a strange way, where his goal was to make it in the movie business and he achieved that goal in the most backwards way possible. We could all relate to that story and I think, as much as some of us don’t want to admit it, we all have a little bit of Tommy Wiseau in us.

Do you have any advice for other siblings about how to work together?

I think the best advice I could give is to not try to change each other, to embrace each other’s differences, and just be vocal and open and talk to each other. You’re in a relationship with each other, so you’ve got to be open and honest and let each other know when you don’t like something that the other person is doing. Me and my brother are better than ever and we’re working more together. Who knows how that will go, but it’s been amazing so far.

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TORONTO STAR

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- Blue-collar guy interested in politics, business, and internet - Fan of sports and leisure - Movie buff

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The Disaster Artist’s Dave Franco on the bomb that finally united him with brother James