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A24 will lend their unique talents to “The Disaster Artist”

Go figure, we live in an age where a distributor can actually cause excitement just by hitching their wagon to a certain film. In a short span of time, A24 has become veritable tastemakers in the industry, putting forth challenging and entertaining work that few others could successfully sell. Last year, they pulled off a small miracle in getting Moonlight the Best Picture win at the Oscars (all the more impressive considering the competition) Yesterday, it was announced that they’ve acquired James Franco’s adaptation of The Disaster Artist, a loving look at the making of The Room. Hot off of a tremendous preview screening at SXSW, this is a strong acquisition, as well as a perfect match. If there’s any company that can do justice to this project, it’s A24.

For those who aren’t aware of the movie, here’s a primer. It’s a look at how an unlikely friendship bloomed between struggling actors Greg Sestero (Dave Franco) and Tommy Wiseau (James Franco). Their chance meeting in an acting class would allow Greg to observe the unique character that Tommy was, supremely untalented and perhaps the weirdest human being on the planet, but also wildly passionate about movies. It also would lead to Tommy casting Greg in a film he’d written, planned to direct, and also starred in. It was The Room, which has been called the Citizen Kane of bad movies and has usurped The Rocky Horror Picture Show in some ways as this generation’s midnight movie. The rest is history. The elder Franco directs an adaptation of Sestero’s book by scribes Scott Neustadter and Michael H Weber. Supporting players include Alison Brie, Zoey Deutch, Zac Efron, Ari Graynor, Melanie Griffith, Josh Hutcherson, Jason Mantzoukas, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Seth Rogen, Sharon Stone, Jacki Weaver, and many more.

To date, A24 has put out 46 films. For a startup, getting to nearly 50 in under five years is really something. Then, consider that they’ve won Academy Awards for non traditional flicks like Moonlight and Room, and you really have to stand a bit in awe of them. Overall, they really only take on distinctive work, though a wide ranging selection, for sure. Who else could have a catalogue that proudly features Ex Machine, A Most Violent Year, Obvious Child, Spring Breakers, Swiss Army Man, Tusk, and Under the Skin, just to name a few? Simply put, A24 is doing it right and they’re an essential part of the film world.

Here are what I would consider to be the 25 best A24 releases so far:

25. Swiss Army Man
24. Laggies
23. Morris from America
22. Equals
21. While We’re Young
20. Free Fire
19. The Monster
18. Spring Breakers
17. The Rover
16. Ex Machina
15. The Witch
14. A Most Violent Year
13. Mississippi Grind
12. Green Room
11. American Honey
10. Room
9. Obvious Child
8. The Lobster
7. Slow West
6. Tusk
5. 20th Century Women
4. Under the Skin
3. Moonlight
2. The End of the Tour
1. The Spectacular Now

Now, with The Disaster Artist, could they have another awards contender? I’ll reiterate that this would seem on the surface like a hard sell, but some of the initial reporting out of SXSW a few months ago speculates that it could be a player. A targeted campaign, building off of another festival bow, would probably be the smart way to do it. That way, the chances in Best Picture, Best Director/Best Actor/Best Supporting Actor (for Franco), and Best Adapted Screenplay (for Neustadter and Weber). Franco in the Supporting category and the script seem like the safest ways to try and make a dent this year, but anything is possible. A lot will depend on when the powers that be opt to release it.

For the moment, The Disaster Artist is still off in the distance and there’s no way of knowing what will happen. As you might imagine, I absolutely can’t wait to see it. I meant it too. I would literally rather see this than the new Star Wars. That’s how hyped I am. Between an affection for The Room, considering Neustadter and Weber to be criminally underrated writers, and the specter of Franco working with A24 again, it has the potential to truly be something special. For my money, early December (when it’s scheduled to be released) can’t come soon enough. Sit tight, as there’s lots more to say on this one…

Stay tuned for plenty more on The Disaster Artist between now and its December release date!

About Joey Magidson

A graduate of Stony Brook University (where he studied Cinema and Cultural Studies), resides in Brooklyn, New York. He contributes to several other film-related websites and is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association.

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