Tommy Wiseau and Greg Sestero in Best F(r)iends.EXPAND
Tommy Wiseau and Greg Sestero in Best F(r)iends.
Summit Pictures

Greg Sestero Reunites With Tommy Wiseau in Best F(r)iends

Imagine you’re a struggling actor and your friend, who is an even more struggling actor, asks you to be in a movie he’s writing, directing, and in which he is starring. The script makes no sense. Your buddy can’t act to save his life and the shooting is catastrophic, mostly thanks to your friend’s erratic behavior on-set. When the movie is finally done, it’s a complete piece of crap, and your face is all over it.

Most of us might pretend we never had anything to do with such an ordeal. But Greg Sestero, who starred in the infamous 2003 film The Room, has made a career out of his role in what’s been celebrated as the best bad movie of all time. After the film gained a cult following in the mid-'00s, Sestero wrote a tell-all book, The Disaster Artist, about its troubled production and his unlikely friendship with writer, director, and star, Tommy Wiseau. That book turned into a movie, also called The Disaster Artist, directed by and starring James Franco as Wiseau and his brother, Dave Franco, as Sestero.

“I thought The Disaster Artist was a great adaptation,” Sestero says of the film. “There’s nothing that stood out to me that made me feel uncomfortable or felt untrue.”

The film depicts Sestero and Wiseau’s friendship from its beginning in a San Francisco acting class through the making of the film. As played by Franco in a Golden Globe-winning performance, Tommy is eccentric and attention-seeking yet also immensely private, refusing to give basic info such as his age or explain how he makes money. The two become fast friends and move to Los Angeles to chase their Hollywood dreams but fail to find work. “No one would cast Tommy, not even as a villain,” Sestero recalls.

Frustrated, Tommy decides to finance his own film, and audiences witness the making of The Room in all its absurdity. As production wears on, tempers flare between the professional cast and crew and an unprofessional director/star. Tommy spies on gossipy crew members. An actress faints because the set isn’t air-conditioned. There is gratuitous nudity. Somehow the film gets made, but between Tommy’s secrets and his tyrannical behavior, Greg begins to question his loyalty.

Today Sestero sees Wiseau’s secrets in a different light. In the two decades he’s known Wiseau, he still hasn’t learned much more about his friend, and he’s made peace with it.

“With Tommy, still having that element of not knowing a lot of things is what keeps it interesting,” he says. “Some of it is obviously still a mystery, and I think that’s what’s fascinating to me. I love the mystery.”

Whatever that mystery might be, it hasn’t stopped the pair from working together again. Their new film, Best F(r)iends, will screen in Miami this weekend at the Coral Gables Art Cinema. Sestero wrote the film to give Tommy a part better suited to his unique persona.

“He had been kind of pigeonholed after The Room as kind of being a caricature and hasn’t been given the chance to play a part that fits him,” Sestero says. “I thought this would be an interesting challenge, because I’ve always seen a great character in Tommy; I’ve just never gotten around to trying to explore it.”

In Best F(r)iends, that character is Harvey, a mortician with a checkered past, while Sestero plays Jon, a drifter who finds a job in the morgue and concocts a macabre moneymaking scheme while in his new position. When their relationship comes under strain, Jon runs off, and a Southwestern road trip ensues, inspired by a similar voyage the actors took in 2003. Sestero took heavy influence from L.A. noir films such as Double Indemnity, Nightcrawler, and Drive and attempted to let Tommy “explore himself as a performer in a story that lends itself to his type of character.”

“I’m glad I didn’t let The Room experience define everything. I’m glad we got another try,” Sestero says. “I think people, hopefully, want to see you succeed. Ultimately, they want a good film, they want to be entertained, and I think if you can do those things, they’ll be into it."

Best F(r)iends. Starring Greg Sestero, Tommy Wiseau, and Kristen StephensonPino. Directed by Justin MacGregor. Written by Greg Sestero. 99 minutes. Not rated. 10:30 p.m. Friday, May 18, and Saturday, May 19, at Coral Gables Art Cinema, 260 Aragon Ave., Coral Gables; 786-385-9689; gablescinema.com. Tickets cost $10.

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