When Your Movie Is a Hit for All the Wrong Reasons

Mr. Rogen and Mr. Franco each put the $64,000 query to Mr. Wiseau: Given how wedded you have been to the critical nature of your movie, how do you’re feeling about the truth that everybody else finds it so humorous?

“It takes an incredibly savvy person to answer it in the way he does,” Mr. Rogen mentioned, “which is to validate that people like it in a different way, but talk about it as if they are reacting in exactly the way he intended. It’s a semantical slalom that he navigates extremely well.”

Mr. Franco, who gained greatest actor at the Gotham Awards, kicking off Oscar season, added by telephone: “Whatever happened to Tommy, there’s something he needed to prove or fill, and he got that from ‘The Room.’”

He continued: “Now we’re in the third phase of the Tommy saga. Pre- ‘Room’ he felt he couldn’t depend on anybody, and the film was him trying to wrestle with feelings of rejection he’d had his whole life. And then it came out and he thought he had to maintain this persona of Tommy, and pretend that he had intended it to be comedy. And now there’s this new phase where people are getting to see the other side of him.”

“When the movie was shown at South by Southwest, they were cheering on his story,” Mr. Franco went on. “I realized later that it was probably the first time that Tommy heard unironic applause, just for him.”

What does Mr. Wiseau say, whenever you ask him straight?

“To respond to your question without avoiding it, I didn’t realize, to be honest, that I’d created something that people would interact with in this way,” he mentioned. “But you as an actor cannot criticize the audience, and the audience is having fun.” He added: “If you have a drama, you can find a comedy. If you have a comedy, you can find the drama.”

Though he’s happy about the new film, he takes difficulty with Mr. Sestero’s account of him as tyrannical and merciless on the “Room” set.

“The movie was produced in a very respectful way based on formula I studied as a producer, actor and director,” he mentioned. “You can look at it two ways. You analyze Marlon Brando, you analyze James Franco, you analyze James Dean, you analyze Tommy Wiseau and I hope you come to the same conclusion: We are good actors. But you are here to please your audience, not yourself, that’s No. 1.”

Referring to his detractors, he went on: “I have advice for all of you bad apples. Be nice. Grab the camera and roll the movie and see what happens. Before you start criticizing anybody, see how hard it is to make a movie.”

Here’s one thing curious: Mr. Wiseau and Mr. Sestero are nonetheless extremely shut. Mr. Sestero, whose final critical romantic relationship foundered on the set of “The Room,” has spent the previous couple of years publicizing his e book and doing “Room”-related tasks.

The makers of “The Disaster Artist” initially ended the movie with the dissolution of Tommy and Greg’s friendship — a affordable assumption, based mostly on Mr. Sestero’s e book.

“But then I watched Greg talk to Tommy on the phone for an hour every day,” Mr. Rogen mentioned. “I was thinking, ‘That’s not the story. And we changed the film because of their actual relationship.”

Mr. Sestero has a new movie due in 2018 that stars Mr. Wiseau as a unusual mortician and himself as the strange-in-a-different-way homeless man who collectively embark on numerous crime and cadaver-related escapades. It known as “Best F(r)iends.”

Correction: November 29, 2017

An earlier model of this text omitted the co-author of the e book “The Disaster Artist.” Tom Bissell wrote it together with the actor Greg Sestero.

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