The Disaster Artist

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The Disaster Artist
The Disaster Artist.jpg
Author Greg Sestero, Tom Bissell
Country United States
Language English
Genre Non-fiction, memoirs
Publisher Simon & Schuster
Publication date
October 10, 2013
Media type Print (hardcover and paperback), e-book, Audiobook
Pages 288 pp
ISBN ISBN 1451661193 (hardback edition)
OCLC 830352130
LC Class 2013008798

The Disaster Artist is a non-fiction book written by Greg Sestero and Tom Bissell. Greg Sestero reveals the troubled development and filming of The Room while detailing his own struggles as a starving young actor and his relationship with the mysterious Tommy Wiseau. The book focuses on the difficulties and odd experiences Sestero had behind the scenes and his unlikely friendship with Wiseau.[1]


Sestero, an aspiring actor, first encounters Wiseau in an acting class. Sestero is at first perplexed by Wiseau's over-the-top acting technique, his unusual physical appearance, his unidentifiable accent and his eccentric behavior, which includes a fascination with all things American and a refusal to discuss his past. At the same time, Sestero admires Wiseau's genuine enthusiasm for both life and acting. The two form an odd but affectionate bond as Sestero begins to learn of the many contradictions of Wiseau's personality.

As Sestero slowly accrues more acting credits, Wiseau begins to grow jealous and schemes to earn similar acknowledgement (such as earning a SAG card by producing and starring in a commercial for a company he himself owned). After viewing The Talented Mr. Ripley for the first time, Sestero is struck by how similar Wiseau is to the title character. When Wiseau watches the film, instead of recognizing himself, he becomes obsessed with creating a movie as powerful with similar themes. The result is the screenplay for The Room, which includes a character, Mark, named after actor Matt Damon (whose name Wiseau has misheard).

Backed by a seemingly endless, mysterious supply of money, Wiseau develops, produces, directs and stars in The Room, despite having no knowledge of film-making. On-set relationships are a disaster: Wiseau's camera set-up requires two full crews to operate, actors and crew storm off the set, scripts are rewritten in the middle of scenes, sets are broken down only to be rebuilt and re-shot the following day, and at the last possible moment, Wiseau convinces Sestero to join the crew as one of the principal actors, in spite of the role already having been cast. By the end of shooting, the cast and crew, convinced that the film will never be seen, lose their enthusiasm, resulting in lackluster performances and technical blunders that are never corrected.

Sestero screens a rough cut of the film for his friends and family, who are enthralled by its bizarre ineptitude. Their reaction turns out to be prophetic when, eight months later, Wiseau secures a release for the film, beginning its cult reputation as "the Citizen Kane of bad movies". The book ends with Sestero's meditation on the power — and danger — of unconditional belief in one's dreams.

Film adaptation[edit]

In February 2014, Seth Rogen's production company Point Grey Pictures announced it had acquired the book and life rights to The Disaster Artist, with James Franco attached to direct and play Wiseau, with his brother Dave Franco to star as Sestero. Franco stated The Disaster Artist was "a combination of the Paul-Thomas Anderson films Boogie Nights and The Master".[2]

On September 8, 2014, it was announced that The Fault in Our Stars, The Spectacular Now and 500 Days of Summer screenwriters Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber would write the script for The Disaster Artist.[3]


In May 2014, an audiobook version of The Disaster Artist was released by Tantor Audio, with Greg Sestero reading the story. Sestero's impression of Tommy Wiseau in the audiobook has received praise from critics, including The Huffington Post and Publishers Weekly.[4]

The Disaster Artist audiobook was named a finalist for the 2015 Audie Awards for Best Humor Audiobook. [5]


In March 2014, The Disaster Artist won for Best Non-Fiction on Bookish Oscars.

On November 23, 2014, The Disaster Artist won for Best Non-Fiction at the National Arts & Entertainment Journalism Awards ceremony in Los Angeles. The judges praised the book, stating "The Disaster Artist is not only a hell of a good read, it will make a great film if ever adapted. It's equal parts Ed Wood, American Hustle and demented Citizen Kane — with a dash of Monty Python thrown into the mix".[6]

On February 11, 2015, The Disaster Artist was nominated for Best Humor Audiobook at the Audie Awards. Narrated by author Greg Sestero. The awards ceremony will be held May 28th in New York City. [7]


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