Everyone who worked on The Room probably had their own story to tell. Co-star Greg Sestero is the one who wrote a book about it, so The Disaster Artist is told from his perspective. Juliette Danielle may tell a different story.
However, in The Room, Lisa (Danielle) is the central character who comes between Johnny (Tommy Wiseau) and Mark (Sestero). Ari Graynor got to tell some Juliette Danielle’s story by playing her in The Disaster Artist.
“Well, everybody’s story is the main story behind the scenes if it’s told from their point of view,” Graynor said. “Certainly Juliette had a very full and big experience and all that. This story just happens to be told from Greg’s point of view.”
Juliette Danielle did not act again for 10 years after making The Room. It did not launch her to stardom, but The Room cements Juliette Danielle in cinema history.
“I think I related to Juliette and I think I relate to everybody who was making this movie in a sense,” Graynor said. “If I were Juliette, I think back to my first experiences on set, there’s nothing more magical and exciting. I so related to that feeling, especially in the beginning when it’s all possible.”
Wiseau attends screenings of The Room to this day and lives it up. Juliette Danielle has somewhat retired back into private life, but she spoke with Graynor.
“We spoke on the phone one day and she was lovely and so sweet, so kind,” Graynor said. “She’s now living in Texas, unlike Tommy and Greg who have really run with The Room and obviously continued to have that be such a focal point of their life. She was incredibly supportive. Again, I think she just is a little more separate from the whole thing now.”
Graynor herself has never had to face on of her movies becoming an infamous cult classic. She can’t imagine how Danielle must feel.
“You set out to put something in the world that you really care about in one way and having people respond to it in the opposite way that you intended, and yet be so full of passion and enthusiasm for it, it’s a really complicated thing to imagine,” Graynor said. “I’d like to think that I would in some way feel honored and proud that it resonated with people at all, but I’m sure that’s also sort of my worst nightmare.”
In The Disaster Artist, it wasn’t necessarily Graynor’s job to play a character. Danielle already did that. Graynor had to play scenes from The Room the way Danielle did.
“We were really so meticulously trying to recreate those scenes that I was trying to do that as honestly and earnestly as I could,” Graynor said. “I was trying to do exactly what she was doing so that was sort of like the opposite of how you usually act which is to try to get inside a character and be really honest and find the reality and all that.”
The Disaster Artist opens wide December 8.