As a bad-movie connoisseur — and host of the podcast How Did This Get Made — actor and comedian Paul Scheer was aware of Tommy Wiseau’s contemporary cult classic The Room long before joining the cast of The Disaster Artist, the new James Franco-directed film that dramatizes how this headscratcher of a movie … well, got made. Premiering in theaters today, the movie features a stellar ensemble that includes Franco as Wiseau, Ari Graynor as The Room‘s lead Juliette Danielle and Scheer as one of the movie’s four cinematographers, Raphael Smadja. “Your instinct is not to continue watching it,” Scheer says of Wiseau’s film in a Facebook Live chat with Yahoo Entertainment. “After the first four minutes, you’re like ‘Am I watching a porno?’ But stay with it, and the minute you’re done with it, you’re like, ‘I need to watch it again, because this is so insane.'” On the other hand, it’s easy to continue watching and enjoying The Disaster Artist, a hilarious and heartfelt behind-the-scenes story in the tradition of Ed Wood. Watch our full interview with Scheer below, and read on for the highlights.
James Franco was a real character on set (watch at 5:40-8:05)
In our interview with Graynor, the actress revealed that Franco essentially directed the film as Tommy Wiseau. Scheer confirms that account, as well as the meta-weirdness that came from talking to James-as-Tommy. “James was in full voice as Tommy directed a movie about Tommy directing a movie called The Room. So you had levels going on! I didn’t really know him before this movie, and he’s incredibly collaborative and protective of the script. He also trusts his actors. In many ways it was one of the most freeing experiences once you got over the fact he was Tommy!”
Scheer has acted opposite the real Tommy Wiseau (8:10-11:00)
Since wrapping work on The Disaster Artist, Scheer has shared the frame with the real Wiseau in the yet-to-be-distributed movie Best F(r)iends, written by The Room co-star (and The Disaster Artist author) Greg Sestero. “Tommy is an interesting guy; he’s incredibly sweet and kind and he also has this incredible ego too.” Scheer has only one scene in the film, where he visits Wiseau at his workplace — which, naturally, is a mortuary — in the hopes of recovering some money. Although Wiseau didn’t direct Best F(r)iends he was only too happy to provide his scene partner with performance notes. “He was like, ‘You have to have more balls. Have more balls in this!’ I was like, ‘I’ll give you more balls.'”
He’s got big plans for his Galaxy Quest TV series (11:05-14:00)
Rumors of a Galaxy Quest sequel have percolated since the film became a sci-fi favorite in 1999. While the big-screen version never took off, Scheer is overseeing a new TV show that may premiere on Amazon. “I love that movie and I love sci-fi,” he says. “To me, the thing that I want to do is update Galaxy Quest. Not ignore the first movie, but take Galaxy Quest into the world we live in now, the world where sci-fi is king.” Scheer’s premise involves a new cast, as well as returning favorites from the original film. Asked how he plans to pitch Sigourney Weaver on reprising her role as Gwen DeMarco, Scheer teases: “In a weird way, she’s become the most successful of the bunch, but not in the way you might think! I felt like we needed to update the characters too. That will make the show better for people who love the old Galaxy Quest and bring a new audience into it.”
Nicolas Cage left him hanging on a haunted-house story (15:00-18:00)
As How Did This Get Made fans know, Nicolas Cage is among Scheer’s pop-culture obsessions. And Scheer got a chance to act opposite his idol in the Larry Charles-directed 2016 film Army of One. Asked what a typical conversation with Nic Cage is like, Scheer remembered the time he told Cage about a paranormal-themed bachelor party he had attended. “He was like, ‘I lived in the most haunted house of all of New Orleans.’ He bought that house and he goes, ‘I had some experiences in that house. One night…’ And then he stopped and got a little ashen. Then he went, ‘I can’t tell you — I don’t know you well enough yet.’ And that was it! I never heard the end of that amazing Nicolas Cage ghost story.”
He’s got a Marvel connection (27:00-30:00)
Before he was Star-Lord, or even Andy Dwyer, Chris Pratt played Anne Hathaway’s fiancée in the 2009 comedy Bride Wars, co-written by Scheer’s wife, actress-screenwriter June Diane Raphael. Scheer also had a small role in that movie as flamboyant dance instructor Ricky Coo, and struck up a friendship with the future superhero. While he hasn’t landed a Guardians of the Galaxy cameo yet, that connection did get Scheer onto the set of a top-secret Marvel movie he couldn’t reveal. “I got to visit the set of … nothing, forget it!” Any chance it rhymes with Shmavengers?
The Disaster Artist opens in theaters today.