This Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, Terrificon will be returning to the Mohegan Sun Expo Center in Uncasville for an extraordinary experience. There will be vendors and cosplayers along with comic book artists and writers, actors from various movies and television shows and even a few professional wrestlers.
Among the featured attendees are Jonathan Frakes from Star Trek: The Next Generation, Anthony Michael Hall from The Breakfast Club and Weird Science, Rebecca Romijn from the X-Men film series, Danhausen from All Elite Wrestling and writer Chris Claremont.
Also making an appearance is Greg Sestero from the cult classic, The Room, which has been heralded as “the Citizen Kane of bad movies”. His experience from being part of that film was detailed in the 2013 memoir The Disaster Artist, which was adapted into a film of the same name starring brothers James and Dave Franco.
Sestero and I talked ahead of the convention about a remake of The Room being released, the effect the film has had on his career as an actor, film producer and filmmaker, being part of Terrificon and a sci-fi flick he aims to have out next year.
RD: While marking the 20th anniversary of the original, there’s going to be a remake of The Room coming out in the future with Bob Odenkirk playing the role of Johnny, which was originally played by the director, writer and producer of the original film Tommy Wiseau and Brando Crawford playing the role of Mark, which was originally played by you. Who first had the idea for the remake and how were you and Tommy approached by it?
GS: It’s really just like a staged reading for charity. This charity called Acting For A Cause does a classic work every year for charity, they’ve done The Breakfast Club, The Great Gatsby and somehow The Room ended up being one of those classics. I know they’re still working on it and figuring it all out, but it’s going to be released through the charity. Bob has been a big supporter of both The Disaster Artist book and the film and he’s such a good guy for wanting to help people out and be a part of this. I’m not sure when it’ll be out, but it’s going to be released for charity when it eventually gets released.
RD: Very cool, that’s awesome. When it comes to The Room as a film, your experience being a part of it and the reaction it has gotten since its release, do you ever get mixed feelings these days about The Room’s effect on your acting career or have you always had a certain feeling when it comes to that?
GS: It’s been through stages, really. When we were making this film, I was doing it to help out a friend. It was a passion project that I had no expectations for, but it was cool for me because at the age of 24 I was given a chance to run a production and I got to learn a lot. Whatever scale it was, I still was in the position where I really enjoyed producing and again, we were making a movie I didn’t think anybody would ever see so it’s sort of been a fascinating thing to observe. I’ve always found Tommy to be a fascinating character, so as that progressed it was really interesting for me to see what the other audiences thought of him, his performance and their take on the film.
It wasn’t until 2009 and 2010 that things really picked up globally for The Room. It was just a movie that people became obsessed with and loved, so that’s where I got the idea to write The Disaster Artist because as fun as The Room is for audiences, it’s not a movie that’s going to showcase yourself as an actor and propel you into other parts because it’s such an alien type film. With the book, I knew that I could tell a story that would mean a lot to people, aspiring actors, aspiring musicians and aspiring artists. The Room has become something that has really opened up chances to meet really cool people around the world and to collaborate with other artists. Once The Disaster Artist book came out and was adapted into a film, that’s when I started producing and writing my own films.
For so long as an actor, you’re waiting for the phone to ring to be cast in roles and you’re waiting for others to see what you can offer. With The Disaster Artist, I learned that I don’t want to wait, I want to get out there and start making stuff. I’ve written and produced a film called Best F(r)iends that Lionsgate released a couple years ago and then I wrote, directed and starred in a cult horror movie called Miracle Valley. I’ve gotten to collaborate with Daniel Platzman from Imagine Dragons for some music on some of my work and now I’ve been working on Forbidden Sky, which is an alien abduction film. The Room has served as a way to get into Hollywood and start making stuff, but it definitely taught me a lot about the process.
It’s a movie that has been seen around the world and people love it. I’ve traveled the world with this movie. I was in packed houses in Germany and Austria with people coming out saying that they saw the movie when they were 12, they’ve read the book, they’ve written reports on it in high school and they’ve gotten married because of this movie. Every time you start out making films, you want to have that kind of impact. There’s so many opinions about whether certain movies are good or bad, so with The Room I’ve just accepted that it’s really worked on a strange level but at the end of the day it worked. I think after having made a few films now, it’s really hard to make a film that people connect to, so I’ve come to appreciate The Room for not only what it has done for me, but what it has done for other audiences while bringing people so much joy.
RD: That’s a very good perspective to have. When it comes to the films that you’re working on now, how do you get inspired for the topics and subject matter?
GS: I take personal experiences that I’ve gone through. I’ve traveled to so many different places and I’ve met so many different people in such peculiar situations that I’ve used my own bizarre experiences and turned them into films. It’s a lot like what I did with The Disaster Artist because some of the stories we connect to the most are personal stories. For example, I went to one of the deserts in Arizona and I went on a UFO night tour where I encountered this very peculiar UFO hunter. I became fascinated by the subject, so I wrote a movie based on that night tour about alien hunting, finding pieces of crafts and all this stuff.