LOS ANGELES — I think I’ve figured out the source of Tommy Wiseau’s $6 million to self-fund The Room.
Work with me here.
At the AFI Fest premiere of The Disaster Artist, James Franco’s new film chronicling the making of Wiseau’s cult classic, I sat next to none other than Kris Jenner herself—with pal Melanie Griffith in tow. My first thought was: What the hell kind of interest does Jenner have in The Disaster Artist? She even posed for a photo on the red carpet with Wiseau, which either means the PR team for The Disaster Artist was working overtime or… Jenner might be Wiseau’s mystery financier.
We’ve witnessed enough Kardashian machinations from Jenner, so let’s not pretend it’s out of the realm of possibility. At any rate, this is what went through my mind the entire time I was at the film premiere. I also managed to enjoy the film—because it’s great—but I’m not gonna lie about being shook when I sat down next to Jenner.
For starters, she was looking chic as fuck dressed in all black everything. She even had black gloves and a black cape. She was serving Phantom of the Multiplex. She was also on her phone at various points throughout the film. I can only assume Rob Kardashian fell in the toilet or something, and we won’t discover that plotline until it airs on Keeping Up With the Kardashians in the spring.
The very concept of Kris being at a movie based on The Room is pretty damn hilarious, but she and Wiseau have quite a bit in common spiritually (even if she’s not actually his secret backer).
The most potent moment in the film comes when Franco-as-Wiseau flees the premiere of The Room because he thinks it’s a flop and the audience hates him. It’s a surprisingly sweet and nonsaccharine moment when Dave Franco, playing Wiseau’s partner-in-cinema-crime Greg Sestero, convinces him that the audience finds it funny so he had to have connected with them on an emotional level. Who is better at spinning a video from a tragedy into a success than Jenner?
One of the things that may keep people from checking out The Disaster Artist is that the idea of taking something tragic and mocking it seems too cruel. But the film strikes a beautiful balance of comedy and pathos. I might’ve gone in mocking Wiseau, but I came out feeling connected to him in my heart. It’s thanks to the work of helmer/star James Franco who, despite the industry punchline he can at times be—from his gay-baiting magazine covers and interviews to that tragic Oscars hosting stint—proves that he’s a talented artist worthy of serious consideration.
The same can be said for Jenner, who transformed her daughter Kim’s sex tape into a billion-dollar empire. For all of the jokes made at Jenner’s expense, there’s no denying her business hustle. That’s the kinship she shares with Wiseau, who took quite possibly one of the saddest moments in someone’s life and made it into not only a career, but a mythos.
James Franco’s portrayal of Wiseau is as self-assured as it is sympathetic, capturing the myriad complexities of a man who sits in one movie theater after another as people introduce The Room as “the worst film ever made.” The inner strength and self-belief that Wiseau must possess is palpable in every scene of Franco’s film. Other characters demean him, but there’s something heroic about how comfortable he feels in his own leathery skin. He’s the amalgamation of every box that aspiring creators have been shoved into in Hollywood, and yet he emerges triumphant. Not many can.
Franco should be one of those men. We made jokes about him when he attended New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts at the same time I did. I encountered him on elevators and in student lounges, never paying him much attention, but now I respect his dedication to perfecting his craft, much as I did. Only Franco could’ve made The Disaster Artist and only someone like Jenner can truly appreciate its intent.
At the film’s conclusion, she fled during the credits, but returned to find a single leather glove she’d left behind. My friend directed her to it as she whispered, “I lost something.” Then she was off, cape billowing into the night. Later, I told numerous people she was there but they were incredulous—until they saw a photo of her and Wiseau chatting it up on the red carpet. They were shocked, but if you know about any of the players in this drama, you should’ve seen it coming.