The Disaster Artist

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The Disaster Artist
Cover of first edition book with image of film reel to look like a round bomb with a lit fuse.
Front cover of first edition
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 268 pp
ISBN 1451661193 (hardback edition)
OCLC 830352130
LC Class 2013008798

The Disaster Artist: My Life Inside The Room, the Greatest Bad Movie Ever Made is a 2013 non-fiction book written by Greg Sestero and Tom Bissell. Sestero details the troubled development and production of the 2003 cult film The Room, his own struggles as a young actor, and his relationship with Room director Tommy Wiseau.[1]

In December 2017, a film adaptation of the same name was released, directed and produced by and starring James Franco as Wiseau, with his brother and co-producer Dave Franco in the role of Sestero.


Sestero, an aspiring actor struggling with confidence, 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 boldness and his 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 and makes other friends, Wiseau grows 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), leading Sestero to become uncomfortable with their relationship. After viewing The Talented Mr. Ripley for the first time, Sestero is struck by how similar Wiseau is to the title character and convinces him to see the film. However, instead of recognizing his own behavior, Wiseau is deeply impressed by the performance and becomes obsessed with creating a movie just as emotionally powerful. The result is the screenplay for The Room, which includes a character, Mark, named after actor Matt Damon (whose name Wiseau had misheard).

Backed by a seemingly endless, mysterious supply of money, Wiseau develops, produces, directs and stars in The Room, despite having no knowledge of filmmaking. On-set relationships are a disaster: the story itself is nonsensical and full of plot threads that are never addressed or resolved (a matter complicated by Wiseau refusing to give anyone a full copy of the script); 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]

A film adaptation of the same name, directed and co-produced by and starring James Franco as Wiseau and Dave Franco as Sestero, premiered at South by Southwest on March 12, 2017, and was released in the United States on December 1, 2017.


In May 2014, an audiobook version of The Disaster Artist was released by Tantor Audio, with Sestero reading the story. Sestero's impression of Wiseau in the audiobook has received praise from critics, including The Huffington Post and Publishers Weekly.[2]

The Disaster Artist audiobook was named a finalist for the 2015 Audie Awards for Best Humor Audiobook.[3]


In March 2014, The Disaster Artist (Audiobook) won for Favorite Non-Fiction Book of 2013 at Bookish.[4]

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".[5]

On February 11, 2015, The Disaster Artist (Audiobook) was nominated for Best Humor Audiobook at the Audie Awards, and was narrated by author Greg Sestero. The awards ceremony was held May 28, 2015 in New York City.[3]

On January 23, 2018 The Disaster Artist was nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay at the 90th Oscars.


  1. ^ Ruland, Jim (September 27, 2013). "Worst movie ever? 'The Disaster Artist' explores 'The Room'". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved October 12, 2017.
  2. ^ Hartsell, Carol (May 27, 2014). "Listen To Greg Sestero's Awesome Tommy Wiseau Impression In This 'Disaster Artist' Audioclip". HuffPost. Retrieved December 6, 2015.
  3. ^ a b "20th Annual Audie finalists announced in thirty categories" (PDF). Audio Publishers Association. February 11, 2015. Retrieved October 12, 2017.
  4. ^ Gallucci, Kelly (March 3, 2014). "Oscar-Style Nominations For Our Favorite Books of 2013". Bookish. Retrieved October 12, 2017.
  5. ^ "2014 Winners - 7th National Arts & Entertainment Journalism Awards" (PDF). Los Angeles Press Club. 2014. Retrieved October 12, 2017.

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