There are many folks in the film industry known for their originality for better or for worse. There’s something about these folks whether it’s James Gunn, Harmony Korine, Orson Welles or other notable people that arguably makes us remember and become more attached to their work more than some standard filmmakers. This argument could be made for Greg Sestero and Tommy Wiseau. You may remember them as Johnny and Mark from best known So Bad It’s Good movie The Room. Wiseau also wrote, directed and produced it. Fifteen years later they have come together to make Best F(r)iends inspired somewhat by their twenty plus years of friendship. Like them or loathe them, they’re uniqueness and approachable ways are reasons why their fans attend special screenings across the world time and time again. I managed to interview them ahead of the release of Best F(r)iends to find out more.
You’re in London for the screening of Best F(r)iends at the Prince Charles Cinema in London. How are you enjoying your trip?
TW: I enjoy it very much so. I’ve said this many times: there’s a lot here that has impressed me. There’s always something new I find on my vacation (laughs.)
GS: It’s always great to come to London. It’s amazing how the fans here really get the humour. They get these movies. Coming to London is always a great time.
Speaking of the fans, how much do you enjoy meeting the fans at events such as screenings?
TW: It’s a lot of fun. I enjoy it. It’s great. The reaction is fun.
How did the idea for Best F(r)iends come about?
GS: Well it’s been 15 years since we made The Room. I’d written the book The Disaster Artist and I realised after all these years Tommy hasn’t really been given a chance to play a role that really fit him. Twenty years ago we met at an acting class I thought that in the right part there could be something really dynamic about Tommy as an actor. I came up with this idea. It was based on a true story. Years ago Tommy and I took this road trip up the California coast to go visit Bodega Bay where Hitchcock shot The Birds and we were going to go to this weird mortuary that was supposedly abandoned and haunted. It was this really strange road trip that Tommy thought I was out to do something very dangerous which I wasn’t. Anyway I took that idea and kind of meshed it with the movies & shows I’ve loved as of late like Nightcrawler and Breaking Bad. I just went out and wrote this noir story with Tommy playing this mortician character I thought would really fit him. The goal was to do a film that was different from The Room and to have it taken seriously. I thought it would be a great challenge all these years later.
How did you find working with each other again after all these years?
GS: I really enjoyed it, especially this time around. I feel like a lot of time has passed. I think we’ve both probably, speaking for myself, feel more grounded. It was about getting together and making a movie just for the passion of storytelling and movie making. I think it was a lot of fun to get back and to work together again.
TW: Definitely! For me it was a challenge but at the same time we’d been best friends for many years so I noticed his talent. I said just do your story as soon as you can and don’t copy The Room. It has to be original. He came up with this idea based on a real story. I really enjoyed it. I noticed, and I’ve said before, that the audience really embrace Best F(r)iends. It’s somehing different and I think that’s the reason why. We’ve had a great reaction so far, let’s put it this way.
How much of your real life friendship inspired Best F(r)iends?
GS: Well after being friends for twenty years there’s such a wealth of experiences, strange encounters and so on. A lot of the scenes are very much pulled from those events or thoughts that have occurred over this period of time. It’s almost a continuation of the stories of The Disaster Artist. It’s a fictional take on our friendship.
I noticed that Best F(r)iends cover themes surrounding friendship and emotional development. Do you prefer making films that focus on character development as opposed to standard genre plots? If so, why?
TW: For me I like to deal with realism. The more real, the better. Less special effects. I’m not one for movies just with special effects, animation etc. according to the script or whatever we have. I like Best F(r)iends because of the realism. It’s based on our lives. Some of the reflection was what transpired. What is behind the words? This is the thing I think people realised. It’s not clear what the friendship means but at the same time certain people understand it’s our lives. We are connected. I like that. I like the connection in The Room and in Best F(r)iends. I don’t have a particular preference. I did a commercial and all sorts of weird stuff as an actor but I do lean towards the emotional stuff. Why? Because I like to deal with real things e.g. why we are who we are. By doing so I’m learning something new.
GS: I know for me I enjoy writing characters based off of people. I think it gives you a much deeper grasp of who your character is. That happens with both Best F(r)iends Volume 1 & 2. For me I prefer to follow a character based story and see where that goes.
What is next for you both in terms of future projects?
GS: Best F(r)iends Volume 1 is out on the 25th September then volume 2 is out in January. The next thing is a horror film. Hopefully that’ll come by soon.
What kind of advice would you give to people who are trying to get into the film industry?
GS: I would say get out there and make your film. I think a lot of times we expect to be cast or get given a part that’s going to make us. I think being proactive, getting involved with storytelling or acting really allows you to learn more about yourself. You may have a great story and a great film. You never know unless you try. We live in a time where it’s a lot easier to make stuff. Find the right team, go out and making something. Most importantly, be original.
TW: First of all you have to have the vision. If you don’t have vision don’t copy The Room or Citizen Kane or Best F(r)iends. The second thing is respect. Wherever you have respect whether it’s with coworkers, friends or wherever is important. You should also be original as Greg said. We are all creative people. When you get these people together you may find you’ll have something original. Don’t give up. If you don’t make it it’s another day and another thinking process. Don’t expect to be another Tommy Wisseau or Greg Sestero but you can succeed if you try hard. Nothing comes for free in the world. Another bit of advice I have for everyone is don’t believe too much internet. You’re better as a person than the internet.
Best F(r)iends: Volume 1is available on Digital and On-Demand on 25th September 2018.