James Franco on first seeing ‘The Room’ in B.C.

Franco watched “The Room” while shooting “The Interview” with Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg in Vancouver

The path to James Franco’s new film “The Disaster Artist” partly began in Vancouver.

The Oscar-nominated performer directed and stars in the comedy as real-life eccentric filmmaker Tommy Wiseau.

Cameras follow Wiseau and actor Greg Sestero, played by Franco’s brother Dave, as they make the 2003 cult classic “The Room” — a.k.a. “the ‘Citizen Kane’ of bad movies.”

Franco read Sestero’s 2013 memoir “The Disaster Artist” but hadn’t watched “The Room” until he was shooting 2014’s “The Interview” with Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg in Vancouver.

“There was a once-a-month screening of ‘The Room’ in Vancouver, so I went there and it was incredible,” Franco said before the world premiere of “The Disaster Artist” at the Toronto International Film Festival on Monday.

“People were throwing spoons, they were throwing footballs, people were wearing tuxes, they had all these lines that they were yelling back at the screen and it was just awesome.

“It was actually the first night I met Greg Sestero, the other actor in ‘The Room,’ and we started the conversation about making this movie.”

“The Disaster Artist” received a standing ovation when it first screened as a work in progress at the South by Southwest Film Festival in March.

“There were a lot of great reviews coming out of South by Southwest and it was really moving,” said Franco.

“Because even though at the centre of this film is this really bad movie, I put so much of myself into this. When we were making it, I found it very personal. We shot at locations that I had hung out at when I was a struggling actor coming up in L.A., and just their story of trying to make it, I can relate to. I’m sure tons of people will relate to it.

“So it’s a very personal movie to me.”

Victoria Ahearn, The Canadian Press

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