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Free Event with Greg Sestero

When: 7-8:30 p.m. Friday

Where: Copperfield’s Books, 140 Kentucky St., Petaluma

Tickets: RSVP online. No guaranteed seating. First come, first served

Information: eventbrite.com, copperfieldsbooks.com, 707-762-0563

How does someone most known for playing a role in what is widely considered one of the best “worst films ever made” find a way to top such an accolade? By writing a memoir about the movie, and have it end up becoming an Academy Award nominated-screenplay.

That’s how Greg Sestero, author of “The Disaster Artist: My Life Inside The Room, the Greatest Bad Movie Ever Made,” envisioned his story as time went on. The more people watched and loved seeing the film, things became clear: its backstory had to be revealed.

“That was really my goal, to take this all the way,” said Sestero in a phone interview, “from something that was considered terrible, to the Oscars.”

Sestero calls “The Room” a crazy experience he endured back in 2002-2003 when he decided to leave the Bay Area to pursue his acting career with a now longtime friend, the film’s director, writer and producer, Tommy Wiseau. He thought no one would see it.

Little did he know that by 2009 the movie would garner a cult following, becoming a hit in the world of “so bad it’s good” cinema, playing at midnight screenings nationwide. Now he gets to travel around the world and do signings at places like Copperfield’s Books.

Originally from Walnut Creek, Sestero is looking forward to coming back to a “great little city” in Petaluma on Friday, Feb. 23, where he’ll discuss the movie tie-in edition of his novel. Discussions of the film adaptation, directed by and starring James Franco, started three weeks after the book was published.

Franco came to the story through the book, seeing it as a film and a lot of himself in Wiseau. He wrote a review on the Vice website about how universal it is: every artist faces rejection, whether they believe in themselves or not, and the power of following through on dreams.

“I like the film adaptation,” said Sestero, “Franco was the perfect person to play Tommy. Another interesting aspect is he had never seen ‘The Room’ — he read the book first.”

Sestero said his goal with the book was to write a story that people could appreciate without watching “The Room.”

Sestero adamantly believed the book could stand alone as a nonfiction novel. He wanted a gripping, bizarre tale about what it’s like to chase Hollywood dreams and his unique friendship with Wiseau.

“If a story’s great, you shouldn’t have it rely on something else,” said Sestero. “People wanted a making-of book, but I wanted this to be the ‘In Cold Blood’ for filmmaking.”

With the positive response of “The Disaster Artist,” he went on to further projects, including his new film “Best F(r)iends” coming out March 30. Sestero reunites with Wiseau on screen, the first time in 15 years since “The Room” came out.

The film split into two parts, both of which come out this year, and is inspired by true events that took place not too far from Petaluma, off the California coast. While the process was difficult, Sestero hopes to continue writing more books and screenplays in the future.

“It was based on this road trip we took up near Bodega Bay,” said Sestero. “That inspired the story, which Tommy thought I was driving him up to this area to try to kill him.”

Obviously, Wiseau survived. He made headlines at the Golden Globes award ceremony last month while walking onstage and attempting to use the mic, before Franco stopped him, while Franco was accepting the award for Best Actor in a Motion Picture Musical or Comedy.

Sestero described his experience at the ceremony and seeing Wiseau, Franco and his brother Dave on stage as “super bizarre” and surreal.

Getting to be in a room with the likes of Tom Hanks, Oprah and Angelina Jolie, people he’s looked up to over the years, and those who now love “The Disaster Artist,” was unreal for the author. Sestero said it’s one of those things that makes one realize the impossible can happen.

“Writing the book eight years ago,” said Sestero, “with these high aspirations that this could become an award-winning film, and then have it realized. It’s a lot to take in.”

“The Disaster Artist” is nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay at the 90th Academy Awards. Despite Franco’s win at the Golden Globes, he was not nominated for Best Actor in a leading role, which may be due to recent sexual misconduct allegations.

Sestero was extremely disappointed by the Academy’s decision, believing Franco deserved an Oscar nomination, notably for adding a lot of depth in how sincere he portrayed Wiseau.

“I thought it was one of the best performances I’ve seen in a long time,” Sestero said.

It will be 20 years this July that he and Wiseau met in a San Francisco acting class, and while their relationship has taken many turns, they still share the same goal: to make films and be creative. Sestero had a great experience working with him this time around.

He’s hoping to show a 30-minute documentary with behind-the-scenes footage from the making of “The Room” at his free book event. Sestero would like to continue writing and producing, to try making a film each year.

“My next thing is I want to make a horror film,” said Sestero. “That should be a fun challenge, to try to go in a totally different direction.”

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