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The Disaster Artist: My Life inside 'The Room', the Greatest Bad Movie Ever Made | [Greg Sestero, Tom Bissell]

The Disaster Artist: My Life inside 'The Room', the Greatest Bad Movie Ever Made

Nineteen-year-old Greg Sestero met Tommy Wiseau at an acting school in San Francisco. Wiseau's scenes were rivetingly wrong, yet Sestero, hypnotized by such uninhibited acting, thought, "I have to do a scene with this guy." That impulse changed both of their lives. The Disaster Artist is Greg Sestero's laugh-out-loud funny account of how Tommy Wiseau defied every law of artistry, business, and friendship to make "the Citizen Kane of bad movies" (Entertainment Weekly), which is now an international phenomenon.
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Publisher's Summary

Nineteen-year-old Greg Sestero met Tommy Wiseau at an acting school in San Francisco. Wiseau's scenes were rivetingly wrong, yet Sestero, hypnotized by such uninhibited acting, thought, "I have to do a scene with this guy." That impulse changed both of their lives. Wiseau seemed never to have read the rule book on interpersonal relationships (or the instructions on a bottle of black hair dye), yet he generously offered to put the aspiring actor up in his LA apartment. Sestero's nascent acting career first sizzled, then fizzled, resulting in Wiseau's last-second offer to Sestero of co-starring with him in The Room, a movie Wiseau wrote and planned to finance, produce, and direct - in the parking lot of a Hollywood equipment-rental shop.

Wiseau spent $6 million of his own money on his film, but despite the efforts of the disbelieving (and frequently fired) crew and embarrassed (and frequently fired) actors, the movie made no sense. Nevertheless, Wiseau rented a Hollywood billboard featuring his alarming headshot and staged a red carpet premiere. The Room made $1,800 at the box office and closed after two weeks. One reviewer said that watching The Room was like "getting stabbed in the head".

The Disaster Artist is Greg Sestero's laugh-out-loud funny account of how Tommy Wiseau defied every law of artistry, business, and friendship to make "the Citizen Kane of bad movies" (Entertainment Weekly), which is now an international phenomenon, with Wiseau himself beloved as an oddball celebrity. Written with award-winning journalist Tom Bissell, The Disaster Artist is an inspiring tour de force, an open-hearted portrait of an enigmatic man who will improbably capture your heart.

©2013 Greg Sestero and Thomas Carlisle Bissell (P)2014 Tantor

What the Critics Say

"This downright thrilling book is a lot like watching Tim Burton's Ed Wood: it's sometimes infuriating, often excruciating, usually very funny, and occasionally horribly uncomfortable, but it's also impossible to look away from." (Booklist, Starred Review)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.6 (86 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Grace 07-17-14
    Grace 07-17-14
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Entertaining. Haunting. Oddly Inspiring."
    What did you like best about this story?

    This book, like the movie, is a dark comedy. Its content is kinda sad but still makes you laugh. I also was surprised how inspired I was by Tommy's confidence and how Greg seemed to describe someone like Tommy without sugar coating it... but also not bashing him? It's interesting. I have been recommending this book to my friends since the first chapter and don't plan on stopping. What I'm hoping will stop is my sudden bursts into the Tommy accents but it is "Verrrrryy haard to staaahp! Mygod!!"


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    marcus 06-15-14
    marcus 06-15-14 Member Since 2014
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    "It Starts coming Together"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Unfortunately, I wouldn't because most of my friends haven't seen "The Room," but for the few who have, definitely. I think this book is strongest for fans of "The Room".


    What other book might you compare The Disaster Artist to and why?

    I have no earthly clue, it's a memoir describing the creation of a cult classic that jumps between its production and the events leading up to it. I literally can't think of a single book I've read or listened to like this one.


    Which character – as performed by Greg Sestero – was your favorite?

    His imitation of Tommy Wisseau is phenomenal. He could start a TPW animated show playing Tommy and I'd watch it.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    "Can you really trust anyone?"


    Any additional comments?

    I reiterate that this book is definitely for those who've seen "The Room" and love its wonderful absurdity. I think that may be a prerequisite to reading this.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Trixie Pareidolia Toronto, ON Canada 06-07-14
    Trixie Pareidolia Toronto, ON Canada 06-07-14 Member Since 2014

    made of meat

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    "As Funny As The Room, and Surprisingly Touching"
    What made the experience of listening to The Disaster Artist the most enjoyable?

    Hearing Greg Sestero detail his relationship with Tommy Wiseau is fascinating. It seems less a friendship than an experience, and he shares it in full bloom with the help of Tom Bissell. I expected a funny, behind-the-scenes look at The Room, but I got a second hand biography that was both nuanced and engaging.


    What did you like best about this story?

    Greg pulls no punches in regard to Tommy's perceived strangeness or his uglier qualities. At the same time, he humanizes Tommy Wiseau in a way I've never heard anyone come close to accomplishing before. I empathized with Greg throughout, and enjoyed the story of his attempted career as well as his history with Tommy, but more surprising was that I found myself empathizing with Tommy. Three steps out of phase with everyone in the world and still so determined to make himself a part of it, make his mark. How deeply he is affected by the concept of the American dream, and a glimpse into what might have been parts of his past.


    What about Greg Sestero’s performance did you like?

    It was heartfelt and, as it was his own story, deeply personal. He didn't flinch away from performing really awkward and emotional content that would have been so much easier to just leave on a page. And he does the best, most accurate, most blinding Tommy Wiseau impression I've ever heard.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    This was a great book for downtime, especially unwinding. It's never too emotionally intense, and while I always wanted to hear more, it was relaxed enough that I didn't feel the need to gobble it up all at once.


    Any additional comments?

    The Disaster Artist is so much more than I expected, and I was pleasantly surprised. It's easy to see a phenomenon like The Room and Wiseau himself and forget that there are real people behind it; Greg Sestero's obvious kindness and however much Bissell's ghostwriting contributed made them all real. A must-read for people interested in the industry, especially when it comes to indie, b-movie, so-bad-it's-good cult films. Thanks for the experience, Greg!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Henry Strickler 08-28-14 Member Since 2013
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    "You Have to Listen to This Book!"
    What did you love best about The Disaster Artist?

    This story is hilarious and extremely insightful. The narrator gives firsthand accounts of the insane magic of The Room and Tommy Wiseau himself. His impersonation of Tommy is spot on and so much fun to hear. The writing in general is clear and funny, especially in the various eccentric elements of Tommy Wiseau's life. This also provides a little insight into the life of a young struggling actor which was a nice offshoot I didn't expect.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Disaster Artist?

    That is hard to choose. Probably Tommy's acting scenes.


    What about Greg Sestero’s performance did you like?

    Extremely well done. A few words are blurred but it hardly matters. He nails the most important aspect which is Tommy's voice.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Yes, absolutely. It's great and terrible that it's only 11 hours, because I loved every minute and couldn't stop listening.


    Any additional comments?

    Definitely, definitely worth your money. It doesn't matter if you've seen The Room or heard of Tommy Wiseau before. If you haven't you'll want to, and if you have, it will be that much better knowing what went on behind the scenes of the best bad movie ever made.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    K. M. Gillette Alaska, USA 08-16-14
    K. M. Gillette Alaska, USA 08-16-14 Listener Since 2008
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    "A great book that suffers from a poor reading"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    The story is very interesting and is written with a lot of humor and a surprising amount of sweetness. As a bonus, Greg Sestero does a dead-on impression of Tommy Wiseau. I got this audiobook at a reduced price because I purchased the e-book, and I have to say I liked reading the book more.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Greg has known Tommy for more than 15 years and it shows. If you're purchasing this book it's probably because you're already a fan of "The Room." Hearing Tommy's interaction with Greg in his distinctive accent is a lot of fun.


    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    Greg Sestero is supposed to be an actor, but his reading is very flat. He mispronounces a few things in the book like the name of Cecil B. De Mille and the word "gusto." This book was co-written with someone and I have a feeling that he didn't write much of it. You get the feeling that he's reading it for the first time in front of a classroom. I never got absorbed in the story like I have with other audiobooks.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    When Greg speculates on Tommy's mysterious past, it's very touching.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lucas Calhoun 08-06-14 Member Since 2012
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    "A cautionary tale for any young actor"
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    This is a great book for any young actor thinking about moving to LA. Being well beyond young or new to LA these tales ring true based on the anecdotal stories of friends and colleagues - none of which were involved with this film.


    What didn’t you like about Greg Sestero’s performance?

    Greg's performance is a bit inconsistent at the top of certain chapters his resonance changes. It feels like he's not warmed up or has gone back to re - record. Overall this is an very good first audiobook performance from the actor.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Marmalade Los Angeles, CA, United States 07-22-14
    Marmalade Los Angeles, CA, United States 07-22-14 Member Since 2005
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    "Great Book"

    Fascinating behind the scenes glimpse at one of the most bizarre film productions. Entertaining and well read.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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