Tommy Wiseau on the legacy of The Room
For ten years, The Room has been confounding and entertaining audiences. The film's strange blend of inept performance, oblique writing and haphazard direction has earned it an ever-growing cult audience that can't get enough of the movie's unique charms. Sure, by most standards it a "bad" film, even a terrible one, but make no mistake: The Room is one of the most entertaining cinematic experiences you will ever undertake, even if you don't really understand it.
Talk to its creator Tommy Wiseau, and the film starts to make a certain kind of sense, at least in relation to the man himself. Ask him a question on one topic and you might get a simple, direct answer, or a ten-minute digression that covers everything from classic film to the way the media misunderstands his work. It's a rambling, surreal and, at times, confusing experience, but one that never fails to entertain -- kind of like the movie itself. We caught up with Wiseau before his first-ever appearance in Denver this weekend for special screening of The Room at the Esquire to talk about the film's tenth anniversary, its legacy and why people still have a hard time understanding everything The Room brings to the table.
Westword: When you released The Room ten years ago, did you imagine it would have this kind of longevity?
Tommy Wiseau: No, no. I already said before that I always thought I'd make the movie, then move on to the next project. It did not come 100 percent the way I planned it, but the same time, I'm happy with it. [Laughs.]
Since The Room came out, you've worked on a few other things, right? There was a sitcom called The Neighbors and a stage adaptation of The Room too, right?
Yeah, we did the first, two years ago, three years ago on the stage at AFI -- the American Film Institute in Washington D.C. in front of an audience. Of course there was -- I say of course, but it was sold out, the audience as well. People really enjoyed it. I slightly changed it because due to the stage, you know? Keep in mind, the AFI is a cinema, it's not a stage theater. But we did really well, because people really enjoy it and I'm proud of it. I'm working very deeply with several people to put The Room on Broadway. It's a work in progress. I was very happy with the result, because it was originally supposed to be a play.
Over and over people ask me, nothing happens by accident. Some people have a really vivid imagination. I don't know if you've checked some of the assumptions people have about The Room, about me, etc., etc. My background is a stage actor. I studied acting for many, many decades. I know all kinds of methods. I attend many workshops, etc., etc. All these assumptions people have about me is completely false.
You mentioned The Neighbors and [it's] coming back. Again, there was a clip just recently with Tim and Eric and Eric claimed that I said The Neighbors was, I wanted approval of the network. That's completely false statement. That's not what I said. What I said was we would like to work with TV people first, because in the end it will end up on the website. But it's a fact also that Comedy Central, they approved only one episode of The Neighbors. It is, for me, very difficult to work on one episode when I already have fifteen episodes written almost of The Neighbors.
You anticipate that we'll see The Neighbors at some point then?
Yeah, absolutely. Now we have, coincidentally -- I don't believe in coincidence -- but the fact is that I will be doing The Neighbors because now we have actual interest from some of the network people that they do the TV and the web also. A lot of people are switching to web and I'm still say the same thing when I said with the other network, Cartoon Network. I said very clearly that the pilot we did was for TV, it was not for web. But eventually everything ends up on the web, as you probably know. I thought The Neighbors now, in my heart, it looks to me that we may actually do it.
You'll be making in your first appearance ever in Denver, and Greg Sestero is coming too, right?
Yeah, yeah, Greg is coming too, because we usually travel together because people like him and it's fun.
You've done a lot of these personal appearances over the years. Is that still fun? Do you enjoy it?
Sure, I'll be honest with you. If you can, stop by the screening, say, "Hey, that's me, I was talking to you."