Getting To Know Cult-Film Auteur Tommy Wiseau
Riddled with crappy overdubbing, confusing dialogue, pointless supporting characters, embarrassing sex scenes, and plot holes galore, the 2003 ﬁ lm The Room is an unequivocal disaster. But thanks to the relentless determination of its enigmatic writer/director/producer/star Tommy Wiseau, it’s also enjoying new life on both coasts as a hot ticket that is single- handedly reviving the lost art of the audience-participation midnight movie. The ﬁ lm has been playing for six years at the Laemmle Sunset 5 Theater in L.A., where a word-of-mouth fan base embraces it with a zest reminiscent of The Rocky Horror Picture Show: dressing as characters, reciting dialogue verbatim, and throwing plastic spoons (in response to a framed picture of a spoon that appears in multiple scenes). And now New York has gotten into the act, selling out monthly midnight showings where even comedian and Room fan David Cross once ap- peared dressed as Wiseau.
Despite the growing hype surrounding the ﬁ lm, however, very little is known about the notoriously secretive Wiseau, so I have lots of questions when I get him on the phone at his ofﬁ ce in L.A. True to form, he’s charming, elusive, and probably full of shit. Especially when it comes to defending his work from those who have come to reverently regard The Room as possibly the worst ﬁ lm ever made. “I created The Room to be different; otherwise, it accent. (Wiseau won’t say where he’s from but mentions time spent in Louisiana and France.) “No one in Hollywood or in the entire world wants to give me straightforward credit,” he com- plains. “But I’m just laughing here, because no matter what you do, you have to prepare for what might happen by accident.” These days, when not dodging questions from the press, Wiseau can often be found immersing himself in vampire-centric entertainment, including the books True Blood is based on and the movie Twilight. “It’s like you go into fantasy, but at the same time you go into realism,” he explains cryptically about his interest in the undead. And when asked what he likes to do on a date (sorry, ladies, he’s taken) he returns to this theme again. “When you’re in a relationship, you go the extra miles,” he says. “You drink the wine, you have fun, and you maybe become vampire!”
Wiseau gets enthusiastic when discussing his passions, which he says include ﬁ lms, the aforementioned vampires, and something else we can all relate to. “I’ll give you a little secret,” teases Wiseau. “I like to eat a lot. Don’t ask me why!” And what does he like to eat? “Well, my favorite actually is pasta, believe it or not,” he conﬁ des. “I like the penne pasta. I don’t know if you’re familiar with that.” Who’s not familiar with penne pasta?Seriously, where did you come from, Tommy Wiseau? It’s tearing me apart!
To listen to the full interview visit www.bust.com.
Photographed by Janeen Lund