“I was there for a fitting and James was totally nude filming a scene,” Brie recalls with a laugh to PEOPLE TV. “[He was wearing] this long black wig, crazy facial prosthetics and a sock on his penis. I was like, ‘OK this is going to be an interesting project.'”
Brie says that although there was definitely an “adjustment period” to being directed by Franco in character — naked or clothed — his wacky methods were fitting for the film they were making.
“It actually made a lot of sense for him to be directing in character,” she says. “The whole movie is so meta in a lot ways and so it just sort of felt right to look at James and have him essentially be Tommy directing us in this ode to Tommy Wiseau.”
The Disaster Artist, which also stars Brie’s husband Dave Franco, is about the making of the 2003 film The Room, a cult favorite often referred to as “the Citizen Kane of bad movies.” The brothers Franco play unlikely and real-life best friends Wiseau and Greg Sestero, who went on to make and star in The Room.
“It’s sort of a classic story of two guys coming to Hollywood to pursue their dream,” says Brie. “They sort of achieve it in a very different kind of way.”
The Glow star says she loved working with her husband on the film (Brie plays Sestero’s girlfriend Amber), while noting this marks the first time the brothers have worked together.
“Dave is so talented and he’s so funny and more than anything I just like getting to spend extra time with him,” says Brie. “I think it’s also really right that this is the first real thing that he’s worked on with James. And that you see those brothers and the Tommy-Greg relationship is so interesting and I think it adds a funny and complex layer to it, that these brothers are playing the parts.”
She adds: “I think Dave makes the character Greg really sweet and relatable and you need that in this movie because Tommy Wiseau is such an over the top character. James is playing him just perfectly, you need another character to sort of ground the movie and the story, and I think Dave’s character becomes the audience’s eyes looking at Tommy.”
The Disaster Artist is now playing in theaters.