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James Franco nails the surreal comedy of cult hit The Room in first Disaster Artist teaser

Franco captures the hilariously awkward filming process while perfectly embodying director Tommy Wiseau.

Aja Romano writes about pop culture, media, and ethics. Before joining Vox in 2016, they were a staff reporter at the Daily Dot. A 2019 fellow of the National Critics Institute, they’re considered an authority on fandom, the internet, and the culture wars.

Even if you’ve read The Disaster Artist, Greg Sestero’s surreal account of the filming of Tommy Wiseau’s terrible cult hit The Room, your wildest imaginings probably can’t capture what the set must have been like.

That’s why the new teaser for the upcoming film The Disaster Artist (in case you’re losing track, that’s the film of the book about filming the film The Room) is both disconcerting and brilliant. Against a green screen, Wiseau, as played by James Franco, opens a door and barges onto a rooftop set, then stands there awkwardly, without saying anything.

It’s simultaneously a perfect simulacrum of The Room and a jarring introduction to that hilariously uncomfortable set environment. The teaser proceeds through Wiseau’s attempts to deliver what is perhaps the Room’s most well-known line: “I did not hit her, it’s not true, it’s bullshit, I did not hit her, I did not. Oh, hi, Mark!” Franco’s body language and mannerisms as the nebulously European Wiseau are eerily on point as he flubs the bizarre line again and again, and the scenario quickly ramps up to sheer absurdity.

It’s an excellent introduction to The Room, a film that has become a spoon-tossing mainstay of midnight cinema around the country ever since its 2003 release. The set recreation, and Franco’s Wiseau in particular, is pure comedy gold for fans of the cult hit — and for fans of filmmaking in general.

The Disaster Artist is also directed by Franco, who may or may not have been channeling Wiseau’s direction himself the whole time. Distributor A24 is apparently confident enough in the results to let the “Oh, hi, Mark!” scene stand on its own as the only teaser we need. It’s a great call, and cynics who don’t believe Franco could do the great Wiseau justice will be left keeping their stupid comments in their pocket.

The Disaster Artist will be released on December 1, and hopefully will run forever.

Watch: Why people keep watching the worst movie ever made

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