A couple of weeks back I wrote a piece for EW about a 2002 cult movie called The Room. Long story short, this love triangle drama is beloved by Hollywood comedians –- including Paul Rudd, David Cross, and Jonah Hill –- for the project’s so-bad-it’s-hilarious nature. The article made clear that The Room is awful, describing it as "one of the worst movies ever made" and quoting one film lecturer who hailed it as "The Citizen Kane of bad movies." Well, apparently, there really is no such thing as bad publicity as far as Tinseltown is concerned. Room star Greg Sestero recently got in touch to say that, thanks to the article, he had been cast by indie studio Regent in a new film version of the Edgar Allen Poe horror story The Pit and the Pendulum — AND to play the lead in a cable movie called Alien Presence. I called Sestero (pictured on the Los Angeles set of Alien Presence with actress Jean St. James) to get the scoop.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: To be honest, after the piece came out, I was half expecting people involved in The Room to call up and complain that I’d ruined their careers. But instead you’re saying the article actually HELPED you?
GREG SESTERO: It’s been the most exciting week ever. I tell you what -– exposure is exposure. I guess some of the producers of this movie saw the article and thought, well, let’s look into this. It’s funny because, in Hollywood, if your name is out there, people think you’re cooler. [Alien Presence] director [low-budget horror auteur David DeCoteau] said the press The Room got it gave me more of a name. The fact is that The Room is probably going to go down as the worst film ever made. But, at the same time, if people are saying, "I love this movie," then producers say, well, okay, if all these people love this movie, then maybe they’ll want to catch a glimpse of [the star]. I think that’s probably where they’re at.
So what is the plot of Alien Presence?
It’s about a group of biology students that go to examine this patient in the middle of nowhere, and it ends up being an alien conspiracy. I play the lead biologist, the head of the team. Regent are planning a theatrical release in L.A. this spring before it airs on Showtime/DVD. Yesterday was the first day of filming, and the director said, "This guy’s the star of The Room!" Everyone’s like, "Oh yeah, the movie that plays on Sunset [The Room plays once a month at L.A.’s Laemmle Sunset 5 multiplex]!" All the crew people know of it. They’re asking me all these questions. I brought the magazine and they were all were reading it and laughing.
Any other good news?
I was called in to audition in early January for the lead role in Sam Raimi’s new pilot Spartacus. And my agent mentioned that there have been more requests to see tape since the EW article hit newsstands.
Almost immediately after the publication of the EW piece, Amazon sold out of Room DVDs, though I’ve no idea whether that means they sold 1,000 copies or just one.
There’s a lot of people commenting on imdb.com that are trying to get the film. I had a few DVDs of The Room in my car. They’d been in there for years. But I gave a few of them away to friends after the magazine came out and I got emails from people thanking me. They said they had a choice to watch a bunch of different SAG screeners and they all chose to watch The Room a few times. They chose The Room instead of Benjamin Button! I was like, "Are you kidding me?"