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James Franco talked in Tommy Wiseau’s voice while directing The Disaster Artist

Photo: Sasha Haagensen/Getty Images

If The Disaster Artist, James Franco’s upcoming dramedy about the making of The Room, has a disproportionately large amount of random rose petals and awkward games of catch, at least now we know why. According to comedian Jason Mantzoukas—who has a small part in the movie as a guy who runs a video rental house—Franco directed the film in character as Tommy Wiseau. Or, at least, he directed it in Tommy Wiseau’s voice, which is apparently tricky enough to replicate that once you’ve got it, it’s best to keep it going for the rest of the day.

“Once [Franco] started the day doing Tommy’s voice, he would spend the rest of the day doing the voice,” Mantzoukas tells Entertainment Weekly. “So, it wasn’t like he was pretending to be Tommy, but it was like James using Tommy’s speech pattern and accent. It was really special and very funny.” In a Q&A after a recent screening of the film, Franco said his process for figuring out Tommy Wiseau’s voice was no different than that of any other impression: “I studied the role of Tommy the same way I played James Dean, just sort of obsessively driving around in my car listening to the voice all the time,” he said. “It was basically the same thing, playing James Dean and Tommy Wiseau.”


We’ll find out if that’s true when The Disaster Artist hits theaters on December 1—right in the middle of Oscars season.

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