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By Isabella Echevarría

The Room is back on the big screen for its 20th anniversary. When the Independent Picture House announced two screenings — including an appearance by costar and producer Greg Sestero — tickets sold out almost immediately. The IPH ended up screening the cult classic four times on July 7 and 8, selling out three of them and nearly selling out the fourth. 

At the screenings, Sestero showing the audience a clip of the film’s recent remake, starring Bob Odenkirk, and led a hilarious live script reading by audience members. In a Q&A, Sestero talked all things The Room and The Disaster Artist, his 2013 book about making the film, which inspired a movie of the same name starring James Franco and Seth Rogen.

Directed and written by Tommy Wiseau, The Room follows three protagonists, Lisa, Johnny and Mark, as they engage in a drama-filled love triangle. When it premiered in 2003, the critics panned it, but it has slowly built a devoted fanbase. “After 20 years, I think people genuinely love it,” Sestero told the audience. “I mean, you can make fun of something for a couple of weeks, but I think after this long there is something really there that speaks to people.” 

During the screenings, fans cheered and yelled jokes at pivotal moments. Plastic spoons flew through the air every time spoon-related decor appeared, and fans chanted, “Go, go, go,” at every lengthy, panoramic shot of the Golden Gate Bridge. My personal favorite was when people called out, “Water!” every time they saw water in the film.

After a screening, I got the chance to talk to Sestero about his experience in Charlotte and at the Independent Picture House. He raved about how spacious and comfortable IPH is and the fun crowd it attracts. I asked him what it’s like to meet fans who have seen The Room a hundred times and love it so much. “It’s funny,” he said, “because we all start out wanting to make movies because we love movies. We always want to make things that inspire us and give that same feeling to other people.” But, he added, you don’t always know the impact it will have. “A lot of times I think it’s just making art and having people figure out its meaning and what it is.”

It was a pleasure having Greg Sestero visit the Independent Picture House, and we wish him the best during the rest of The Room’s 20th anniversary tour!

Film enthusiast Isabella Echevarría loves talking about all things Wes Anderson, acting and independent filmmaking.
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