CPH Post

Culture news

The unlikely star who came out of ‘The Room’ and into the limelight

Up close and personal with the lead actor in Denmark’s favourite cult film


The Room is screened at Husets Biograf every month. The next performances are on September 5 (photo: Hasse Ferrold)

September 4, 2014
19:00

by Catherine Brett


Greg Sestero has done incredibly well out of ‘The Room’, a film widely acknowledged as one of the worst movies ever made.

Since reluctantly signing up to help his friend Tommy Wiseau fulfil his vision in 2003, he has gained a cult following, written a book and is in line to star in a movie alongside Seth Rogan. 

And last week on Tuesday evening, we met underneath a statue in Rådhuspladsen to talk about his current book-signing tour, and why he thinks the Danes enjoy ‘The Room’ so much. 

Awful but we like you
“It’s awful,” conceded Sestero. “But you really should see it. It is one of those experiences that gives you something new every time.”

‘The Room’ has gained a cult following similar to that of ‘The Rocky Horror Show’ because  part of the fun is the audience participation, such as throwing plastic spoons at the screen, playing American football in the audience and shouting out the best (or worst) lines from the movie. 

The Orson Welles of crap
According to Sestero, some people have seen it 17 times and are still coming back for more.

“People go to see it before they go out; it’s such a crazy atmosphere and great fun.” 

Not bad for a film dubbed “the Citizen Kane of bad movies” by Ross Marin whose director, Wiseau, has been described as “the Orson Welles of crap” by Entertainment Weekly.

Popular with the Danes 
The film appears to be particularly popular in Denmark, where monthly performances at Husets Biograf have consistently sold out since 2011. 

There is even a special offer for those who travel from Sweden to see it, and Denmark is the only country with two destinations (Aarhus and Copenhagen) on Sestero’s book-signing tour.  

The film has even appeared twice at Roskilde Festival, where more than 1,500 revellers had to be turned away. 

“The humour is universal,” Sestero explained. 

“Seeing someone trying to chase the American dream, trying to create art without knowing what they are doing – everyone can relate to that. The Danes have a special sense of humour though. There is definitely something different about the fans 
here.”

The master of disaster
Sestero is currently promoting ‘The Disaster Artist: Life Inside The Room’, a book about his experience working on the film.

In the book, he explains many mysteries that have stumped viewers about the movie, such as how his beard disappears in the infamous tuxedo gridiron scene and his interpretation of his character’s backstory. 

The book has already made it onto the Kindle Bestsellers list, and many signings are already sold out.
“I wanted to write the book because there are so many gems in the movie that don’t make sense but come from a place of truth,” he said.

“There are lots of things in the movie that people might not realise are actually real and based on events in Tommy’s life.”

Room for one more
A movie adaptation of the book is also on the table, although Sestero is clear that it is not an attempt to recreate ‘The Room’, which he recalls he very nearly didn’t become a part of. 

Acting under his friend’s decidedly eccentric direction, shooting had barely started when he considered leaving the project. 

“From the very first day,” he recalled. 

“I wasn’t even supposed to be in the movie, but Tommy convinced me. Maybe that’s the best thing about it – that you go in with no expectations, but can get something really good from it.”

The Room is screened at Husets Biograf (Rådhusstræde 13, Cph K; huset-kbh.dk) every month. The next performances are on Friday September 5 at 19:00 and 21:30. Don’t forget your spoons!