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Friday, August 29, 2014

Enter If You Dare: Q&A with "The Room" Director Tommy Wiseau

Posted By on Fri, Aug 29, 2014 at 1:43 PM

Tommy Wiseau
  • Tommy Wiseau
What is The Room? Answers will vary depending on who you ask. Fans will tell you it's the best cult classic since 1990's Troll 2, while critics will tell you it's the worst film since; however, ask writer/director/star Tommy Wiseau and he'll simply say it's the best movie of all time. 

So then what is The Room? Well perhaps all you need to know about plot is that it deals with a convoluted love triangle. However, the most important bit of information about this 2002 melodrama is that through unexpected word of mouth it arguably became the most popular cult favorite at midnight showings across the country since 1975's The Rocky Horror Picture Show sashayed it's way into the canon of great camp.

SF Weekly caught up with mastermind Tommy Wiseau to discuss the enduring legacy of The Room before his appearance at the film's midnight screenings at the Piedmont Theater in Oakland on August 29 and 30. 

The Room has been described as a cross between Tennessee Williams, Ed Wood and R. Kelly's "Trapped in the Closet." How would you describe The Room?

The Room is a special place for everyone to be. Yeah, it has someTennessee Williams influence, but really I think it’s the best movie ever.

The movie has also been described by critics as "the Citizen Kane of bad movies." In fact, some of the film's publicity material uses those types of reviews. How would you respond to those critics?

Well first of all, it’s like a copycat. One person says this way and the person says the other thing. I have had the opportunity to read some movie reviews in the past because I read 100 times. To respond to your question, I’m pro freedom. If you want to categorize the movie this other way that’s your problem. It’s not my problem and so it is what it is. People don’t understand a different approach to entertainment but that’s not my problem. The Room is totally different from the cookie cutter of Hollywood. As you probably know, people did not support my vision directly or indirectly even today Move on. Next question.

Why do you think The Room become such a massive hit on the midnight screening film circuit?

What do you need to build a house? Do you need a window first? Logic implies that you need the foundation first before windows, right? In The Room you have a solid foundation based on human behavior. When people don’t want to give me credit that’s there problem but eventually someone will. Apparently fans do enjoy it. I like to travel and interact with them and I think they are very sincere and have fun with it. In the past two or three years mainstream media has become much more supportive of The Room. What I like the most is that people analyze the characters and the scene et cetera. That’s the idea behind it. I personally think that Hollywood and people are not ready for something different. That’s basically what I have.  

Who are some of the filmmakers or films that inspired The Room?

Well, first of all, I inspire myself. That’s number one. However, I have respect for many filmmakers as well as films. For example, Giant or A Streetcar Named Desire or Clint Eastwood movies. I met him and he actually knows about The Room. I’m very happy that the main elite in Hollywood know about The Room. Move on. Next question. 

Who should play Tommy Wiseau in a movie if ever there was the opportunity?

My understanding is that James Franco wants to play me and Dave Franco will play Greg (Sestero - actor who wrote The Disaster Artist, a tell-all depicting his experience filming The Room. James Franco got the option of the book but I’m not sure about more details because they dragged me into this kind of situation. I disagree with Greg’s book 50 percent .

I think James Franco can play me. I think we have a lot in common. He likes James Dean. I talk to him like I’m talking to you and I think he’s a very dedicated person with a lot of skills. He assured at the time when I talked to him that it be done in a very respectful way. Seth Rogen is also involved and they want to involve me with consultation but they will be in charge. I think he can very easily play me.

How will history remember Tommy Wiseau?

This is a good one. I always say that you can laugh, you can cry and you can express yourself but just don’t hurt each other. That’s my motto at any screening.

I always say that The Room eliminates some crime in America because 90 percent of the time we screen at midnight. Between 12 and three o’clock that’s, statistically speaking, when you have a lot of crime around the world. Let’s say you don’t like my movie, well I still love you. Why? Because eventually you will find something within The Room that will strike you. The Room connects people.

The Room screens midnight August 29 and 30 at the Piedmont Theatre in Oakland. 

For events in San Francisco this week and beyond, check out our calendar section. Follow us on Twitter at @ExhibitionistSF, Jonathan at @jonramos17, and like us on Facebook.   

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Jonathan Ramos

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