Arts & Culture News

The Room's Greg Sestero on the Film That Made Him and Tommy Wiseau Cult Icons

Greg Sestero, left, and Tommy Wiseau, right, in their cult classic film The Room, which will screen on Friday followed by a Q&A with Sestero at the Texas Theatre.
courtesy W Films
Greg Sestero, left, and Tommy Wiseau, right, in their cult classic film The Room, which will screen on Friday followed by a Q&A with Sestero at the Texas Theatre.
Many moments in the career of Greg Sestero, star of the immortal cult hit The Room, easily fall in the "unbelievable" category just like his larger-than-life screen partner Tommy Wiseau.

One of the most unbelievable for him was watching Dave and James Franco play him and Wisseau, respectively, in The Disaster Artist, a movie based on Sestero's book about The Room's fabled production. Sestero says something much deeper was also at play for him in those moments.

"It was just one of those when it's happening, I can believe it moments," Sestero says of the filming of The Disaster Artist, which had a cast that included some of his favorite Breaking Bad actors. "What I noticed going to set each day and meeting Bryan Cranston and Bob Odenkirk, it was really expensive therapy going to these places I went to in my early 20s and recreating the scenes you went through. You realize later this is a great way to put these experiences to rest with this movie."

These days, Sestero celebrates the film that some have called "the Citizen Kane of bad movies" with its many fans across the country and the world. He'll be at the Texas Theatre on Friday, Sept. 3, for a live Q&A with fans and a screening of The Room.

Sestero says he understands the film's appeal but its longevity is still "pretty baffling" after almost two decades of screenings.

"The Room is very peculiar because it's just people walking in and out of doors," Sestero says. "It's just something that I think is so different in the way it was filtered and processed and it comes from the mind of someone who doesn't think like anyone else."

Sestero met Wiseau in an acting class and kept returning just to see Wiseau's memorable performances as he interpreted the material and scenes in ways that only he could. The two formed a friendship and film partnership that led to the creation of The Room.

"What you see is really what you get," Sestero says of Wiseau. "The only reason The Room works —  or whatever you want to call it — is really because of him. When he's on screen, there's nothing else like it. There's little bursts of comedy that came out of that that really blow you away. It's so authentic to him and that's the reason the movie has continued.

"I think it's pretty amazing to see he wasn't really wanted by Hollywood, the system, agents and casting directors who didn't get it and he created his own thing and people gravitated to it."

Sestero and Wiseau continue to make films together like they did with two volumes of the comedy thriller Best Friends in which Sestero says Wiseau "was great because he got to just act and play a character that fit him.

"I really enjoyed that aspect but I think in general, Tommy operates the way he always does and that's part of his charm," Sestero says. "With The Room, it's hard to get anything quite like that because as soon as you think you know what the audience wants or feels, it changes."

Sestero also found his own way into films and television with roles on shows like the Netflix series The Haunting of Bly Manor and his own horror film Miracle Valley, which he wrote and directed and is currently in post-production. No matter the film or production, Sestero says he's proud to create things that become part of the fabric of an audience's memory and life.

"So many couples have met and gotten married because of The Room," Sestero says. "I'll go on the road and they'll tell me that this is their date movie and 'it's kept us together.' It's more than a goof and a laugh at a bad movie. It's something people talk about every day as part of their lives."