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Ari Graynor reveals how she beat out Britney for breakout role


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Two years ago, Ari Graynor received a text from James Franco asking if she was familiar with The Room, the so-bad-it’s-brilliant 2003 drama written, directed, produced, starring, and independently financed by the mysterious Tommy Wiseau. What Franco was really asking was if she’d star in his film The Disaster Artist, which tells the behind-the-scenes story of Wiseau’s cult classic. Without ever having seen The Room, Graynor agreed.

“I’d done a bunch of movies with [producer] Seth Rogen throughout the years, and James and I had worked together years ago, and I just think they’re all such special, creative, smart, funny, lovely guys,” Graynor told Yahoo Entertainment. Later, she learned that she wasn’t technically Franco’s first choice to play actress Juliette Danielle, who played Wiseau’s unfaithful girlfriend Lisa in The Room. “Well, it’s funny — they apparently went down a short road with Britney Spears, which I think is hilarious,” she said.

With all due respect to Ms. Spears, casting Graynor was one of Franco’s smartest directorial decisions. Although her role is small in comparison to those of James Franco (who plays Wiseau) and his brother Dave Franco (who plays his best-friend-turned-co-star Greg Sestero, author of the book The Disaster Artist), Graynor is the film’s secret weapon. For one thing, her performance of Lisa in The Room is so similar to the real thing, it’s uncanny. (“I’ve never studied for anything harder in my life than watching those scenes,” she admitted.) Moreover, as Juliette, Graynor imbues the film with the optimism and unwavering dedication of every Hollywood actress in history who didn’t realize her film was a flop. Those qualities were inspired by the real Juliette Danielle, whom Graynor said is now “leading a very different life, far away from the movie business."



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