On a night that will be remembered mostly for its somber attire, sober attitude and that rousing speech from Oprah Winfrey, there was at least one glimmer of the classic, madcap unpredictability of the Golden Globes. That was provided, appropriately enough, by James Franco, Tommy Wiseau and the inside-out making-of tale “The Disaster Artist.”
When Franco won lead actor in a motion picture, comedy or musical for his portrayal of Wiseau, Franco grabbed his younger brother and costar Dave Franco and dragged him onstage. And then from somewhere far, far in the back of the room came Wiseau, barreling onstage at the elder Franco’s exhortation. As Wiseau reached the stage he headed straight for the microphone, but James Franco physically blocked him from it.
Franco instead read a speech from his phone, saying of Wiseau “Nineteen years ago he was stuck in traffic, from the Golden Globes, he said to his best friend Greg,” — and here Franco briefly launched into Wiseau’s distinctive, unplaceable accent — “‘Golden Globes, so what, I’m not invited. I know they don’t want me, guy with accent, long hair, so I show them. I don’t wait for Hollywood, I make my own movie.’”
Resuming in his own voice, Franco continued, “I am very happy to share this moment with him today.”
The film is directed by and stars Franco, who portrays Wiseau in the story about the making of the now notorious 2003 movie “The Room.” Wiseau wrote, directed and starred in “The Room,” putting it in theaters himself to qualify for the Academy Awards. Though not even a blip at the box office at the time, the movie has gone on to become a modern cult favorite, playing to rabid fans around the world.
Earlier in the evening, a clip package for “The Disaster Artist” was introduced by Seth Rogen, a producer and costar on the film. He recalled seeing the longstanding billboard in Los Angeles for “The Room” which featured a menacing photo of Wiseau — “He kind of looked like if a vampire went to a costume party dressed as Johnny Depp.”
Rogen noted that the billboard featured a phone number, and that “if you called the number, it was him: The writer, director, star, producer of the movie answered the phone.”
He described the film by saying, “What you were treated to was something that was so bad, yet so enjoyable it made you actually question the nature of quality itself.”
“Only my good friend James Franco is weird enough to think that showing the story of the people who made this movie would be the best way to let every outsider who has ever been rejected know that their dream can in fact come true,” Rogen continued. “Maybe not in the exact way they hoped it would, but they’re here. So that’s insane.”
Yet all night long, for a movie about teamwork and friendship, the “Disaster Artist” crew found themselves split up inside the Golden Globes ceremony itself. Dave Franco told The Times, “trust me it was a whole thing” about trying to get everyone together. Even Alison Brie, a costar in the movie, Dave Franco’s real-life wife and also a nominee for her performance on the Netflix series “GLOW,” was at another table.
Dave Franco also mentioned he had not planned to go onstage with his brother if he were to win but that James dragged him along in the moment.
Even as he wore a tuxedo given to him by Burberry, Wiseau was also sported wearing his signature layered chain belts, his long hair and sunglasses, highlighting the self-created mystique that follows him like a waft of fine cologne.
Wiseau and his friend Greg Sestero — costar in “The Room” and co-writer of the book “The Disaster Artist” that inspired Franco’s film — were at a separate table farther back in the room. Asked if he was upset that they weren’t closer, Wiseau exhibited the same spirit that animates the movie about him, “It doesn’t matter, we’re here!”
As social media erupted over the fact that Wiseau made it so close and yet was still so far from speaking at an awards show, denied the chance to speak from the stage, Rogen felt the same way, telling The Times, “I want to know what Tommy was going to say! He looked like he was going for it!”
Franco and Wiseau have exhibited an unusual and complex dynamic between themselves at times, perhaps never more so than in Wiseau’s essentially positive comments about “The Disaster Artist” with occasional complaints that he doesn’t throw a football as poorly as Franco does in the film.
On James Franco’s win for his portrayal, Wiseau told The Times, “He did such a great job, talking as a director and an actor. I think he make a big effort, which sometimes from the outside is extremely difficult to understand that. He did good with accent. His brother Dave did good as well. They really studied character. But he doesn’t know how to throw football, that’s for sure!”
And as for what he might have said if he spoke from the stage on Sunday night, even the oddball outsider Wiseau was able to read the room. His message would have been simply this, “If a lot of people loved each other, the world would be a better place to live.”
Then he added, “See ‘The Room,’ have fun, and enjoy life. The American Dream is alive, and it’s real.”
Times staff writers Jen Yamato and Amy Kaufman contributed to this report.