The Room (film)

Last updated on 22 November 2017

The Room is a 2003 American independent romantic drama film written, directed, produced by, and starring Tommy Wiseau. The film is primarily centered on a melodramatic love triangle among an amiable banker named Johnny (Wiseau), his deceptive fiancée Lisa (Juliette Danielle), and his conflicted best friend Mark (Greg Sestero). A significant portion of the film is dedicated to a series of unrelated subplots, most of which involve at least one supporting character and are unresolved due to the film's inconsistent narrative structure.

According to Wiseau, the title alludes to the potential of a room to be the site of both good and bad events; Sestero has elaborated on this by noting that the stage play script from which the film's screenplay is derived takes place in a single room. Sestero has also noted that the film is semi-autobiographical in nature, and attempts to serve as "an advisory warning about the perils of having friends".[4]

Ross Morin, an assistant professor of film studies at St. Cloud State University in Minnesota, described The Room to Entertainment Weekly as "the Citizen Kane of bad movies".[3] A number of publications have labeled it as one of the worst films ever made. Originally shown only in a limited number of California theaters, The Room quickly became a cult film due to its bizarre and unconventional storytelling and various technical and narrative flaws. Although Wiseau has retrospectively characterized the film as a black comedy, audiences have generally viewed it as a poorly-made drama, a viewpoint supported by some of the film's cast.

The Disaster Artist, Sestero's memoir of the making of The Room, was written in collaboration with Tom Bissell and published in 2013. A film based on the book, directed by James Franco, is scheduled for release on December 1, 2017; both the book and film received widespread acclaim. Additionally, the film inspired an unofficial video game adaptation titled The Room Tribute, which was released on Newgrounds in 2010.

The Room
TheRoomMovie.jpg
Directed by Tommy Wiseau
Produced by Tommy Wiseau
Written by Tommy Wiseau
Starring
  • Tommy Wiseau
  • Juliette Danielle
  • Greg Sestero
  • Philip Haldiman
  • Carolyn Minnott
Music by Mladen Milicevic
Cinematography Todd Barron
Edited by Eric Chase
Production
company
Wiseau-Films
Distributed by
  • Chloe Productions
  • TPW Films
Release date
  • June 27, 2003
Running time
99 minutes[1]
Country United States
Language English
Budget $6 million[2]
Box office $1,900[3]

Plot

Johnny is a successful banker who lives in a San Francisco townhouse with Lisa, his "future wife". Lisa, however, having become dissatisfied with her life and Johnny, seduces his best friend, Mark and the two begin a secret affair. As the wedding date approaches and Johnny's influence at his bank slips, Lisa alternates between glorifying and vilifying Johnny to her family and friends, both making false accusations of domestic abuse and defending Johnny against criticisms. Meanwhile, Johnny, having overheard Lisa confess her infidelity to her mother, attaches a tape recorder to their phone in an attempt to identify her lover.

Denny, a neighboring student whom Johnny financially and emotionally supports, has a run-in with an armed drug dealer named Chris-R, whom Johnny and Mark overpower and take into custody. Denny also lusts after Lisa, ultimately confessing to Johnny his attraction. Johnny slowly begins spiraling into a mental haze and calls upon Peter, his and Mark's psychologist friend. Peter alternates between defending Lisa and assessing her as a sociopath which results in Mark, feeling guilty about his and Lisa's affair, briefly trying to murder him.

At a surprise birthday party for Johnny, one of his friends catches Lisa kissing Mark while the rest of the guests are outside and confronts her about the affair. Johnny announces to the guests that he and Lisa are expecting a child, only for Lisa to tell the other guests that she lied about it. At the end of the evening, Lisa flaunts her affair in front of Johnny, who attacks Mark.

After the party, Johnny locks himself in the bathroom, prompting Lisa to carry out leaving him for Mark. Johnny finally comes out of the bathroom and retrieves the cassette recorder he attached to the phone and listens to an intimate call between Lisa and Mark. Johnny has an emotional breakdown, destroying his apartment and committing suicide via gunshot. Hearing the commotion, Denny, Mark and Lisa rush up the stairs to find his body. Mark and Denny blame Lisa for Johnny's death, with Mark abandoning her. Denny asks Lisa and Mark to leave, but they stay and comfort one another as the police arrive.

Cast

GregSestero (cropped).jpg
Greg Sestero, who portrayed Mark in The Room and served as its line producer, wrote The Disaster Artist based on his experiences of working on the film.
  • Tommy Wiseau as Johnny, the protagonist and a successful banker who is engaged to Lisa.
  • Greg Sestero as Mark, Johnny's best friend who is having an affair with Lisa.
  • Juliette Danielle as Lisa, the antagonist and Johnny's sociopathic fiancée who engages in an affair with Mark.
  • Philip Haldiman as Denny, a young neighbor who Johnny treats as a son.
  • Carolyn Minnott as Claudette, Lisa's mother.
  • Robyn Paris as Michelle, Lisa's best friend.
  • Scott Holmes as Mike, Michelle's boyfriend.
  • Dan Janjigian as Chris-R, a drug dealer who threatens Denny.
  • Kyle Vogt as Peter, a psychologist who is friends with Mark and Johnny.
  • Greg Ellery as Steven, a friend of Johnny and Lisa.

Production

Development

The Room originated as a play, completed by Wiseau in 2001.[3][5] Wiseau stated he then adapted the play into a 500-page book, which he was unable to get published.[6] Frustrated, Wiseau decided to adapt the work into a film, which he would then produce himself in order to maintain total control over the project.[6][7]

Wiseau has been secretive about exactly how he obtained the funding for the project, but he did tell Entertainment Weekly that he made some of the money by importing leather jackets from Korea.[3] According to Sestero in his book The Disaster Artist, Wiseau was already independently wealthy at the time production began, having amassed a fortune over several years of entrepreneurship and real estate development in and around Los Angeles and San Francisco.[8] The budget for The Room reached US$6,000,000 (equivalent to about $7,800,000 in 2016), all of which was spent on production and marketing.[3] Wiseau has stated that the reason the film was relatively expensive was because many members of the cast and crew had to be replaced, and each of the cast members had several understudies.[9] According to Sestero, Wiseau made numerous poor decisions during filming that unnecessarily inflated the film's budget, such as building sets for sequences that could have been filmed on location, purchasing unnecessary equipment, and filming identical scenes multiple times using different sets.[10] Sestero further wrote that the film's budget skyrocketed as a result of minutes-long dialogue sequences taking hours or days to shoot due to Wiseau's inability to properly remember his lines or move to the appropriate place on camera.[11]

According to Sestero and Greg Ellery, Wiseau came to the Birns and Sawyer film lot, rented a studio, and bought a "complete Beginning Director package," which included the purchase of two brand new film and HD cameras.[12] Wiseau, confused about the differences between 35 mm film and high-definition video, decided to shoot the entire film in both formats simultaneously, using a custom-built apparatus that housed both cameras side-by-side and required two crews to operate.[13][6] Commenting on his decision to shoot the film in this way, Wiseau said that he wanted to be able to say that he was the first director to film an entire movie simultaneously in two formats, although ultimately only the 35 mm footage was used in the final edit.[14]

Casting

Tommy-Wiseau-1.jpg
Tommy Wiseau in a promotional image for The Room as Johnny.

Wiseau has said that while casting the film, he selected his group of actors from among "thousands" of head shots,[5] yet nearly the entire cast of The Room had never before been in a full-length film. For example, The Room was the first film in which Carolyn Minnott had ever appeared.[15] Greg Sestero, who had known Wiseau for some time before production began, had limited film experience and had only agreed to work with Wiseau as part of the production crew. On the first day of filming, Wiseau fired the actor originally hired to play Mark, and Sestero agreed to fill in. He would later admit to being uncomfortable filming his sex scenes; because of this, he was allowed to keep his jeans on while shooting them.[16]

According to Greg Ellery, Juliette Danielle was just "off the bus from Texas" when shooting began, and that on the first day of shooting, "the cast watched in horror" as Wiseau jumped on Danielle and immediately began filming their "love scene".[12] Sestero has disputed this chronology, stating that the sex scenes were among the last to be filmed.[17] Wiseau has said that Danielle was originally one of three or four understudies for the Lisa character, and was selected after the original actress left the production.[9] According to Danielle, the original actress cast to play Lisa was closer in age to Wiseau and had an accent Danielle described as "random"; per Sestero, the actress was "Latina" and came from an unidentified South American country.[18] Danielle stated that she had originally been cast as Michelle, but was given the role of Lisa when the original actress was dismissed from the production because her "personality...didn't seem to fit" the character.[19] Danielle further corroborates that multiple actors were dismissed from the production prior to filming, including another actress hired to play Michelle.[19]

Kyle Vogt, who played Peter, told the production team at the outset of filming that he only had a limited amount of time to dedicate to the project. Not all of his scenes were filmed by the time his schedule ran out, and he left the production despite the fact that Peter was to play a pivotal role in the then-unrecorded climax. His lines in the last half of the film were given to Ellery, whose character is never introduced, explained, or addressed by name.[16][12][20]

Script

The original script was significantly longer than the one used during filming, and featured a series of lengthy monologues; it was edited on-set by the cast and script supervisor, who found much of the dialogue incomprehensible. Speaking to Entertainment Weekly, one anonymous cast member commented that the script contained "stuff that was just unsayable. I know it's hard to imagine there was stuff that was worse. But there was".[3][21] Sestero mentions that Wiseau was adamant characters say their lines the way they were written, but that several cast members managed to slip in ad libs that ended up in the final cut of the film.[16]

Sestero recalls in his book The Disaster Artist that Wiseau intended for the film to contain a subplot in which Johnny was revealed to be a vampire, due to Wiseau's own fascination with the creatures.[22] Sestero recounts how, at the outset of production, Wiseau tasked members of the crew with figuring out a way to execute a sequence in which Johnny's Mercedes-Benz would lift off from the roof of the townhouse and fly across the San Francisco skyline, revealing Johnny's vampiric nature.[23] However, this scene did not end up being created for the film.

Much of the dialogue is repetitive, especially that of Johnny, whose speech is partially composed of a series of catchphrases: he begins almost every conversation in the film with the salutation "Oh, hi!" and ends most conversations by saying "That's the idea". Many of the principal characters use the phrase "Don't worry about it" to dismissively end conversations, and Lisa often ends discussions about Johnny by saying "I don't want to talk about it". Almost every male character in the film has dialogue discussing Lisa's physical attractiveness, including an unnamed friend of Johnny's whose only line of dialogue in the film is "Lisa looks hot tonight". Despite the significant amount of dialogue regarding Johnny and Lisa's forthcoming wedding, no character ever uses the words "fiancé" or "fiancée", only referring to Johnny as Lisa's "future husband" or Lisa as Johnny's "future wife".[24]

Filming

Principal photography lasted six months. It was mainly shot on a Los Angeles soundstage, but some second unit shooting was done in San Francisco, California. The film's many rooftop sequences were shot on the soundstage, with exteriors of San Francisco later greenscreened in.[3] A behind-the-scenes feature shows that some of the roof scenes were shot in August 2002. The film employed over 400 people, and Wiseau is credited as an actor, an executive producer, the writer, producer, and director. Two others, Chloe Lietzke and Drew Caffrey, are credited as executive producers, but according to Sestero, Lietzke had no involvement in the film and Caffrey had died years prior to filming.[25] Wiseau had a number of problems with his behind-the-camera team, and replaced the entire crew twice, though he later said that they were replaced four times.[3][26] Some people had multiple jobs on the film; for example, in addition to playing the role of Mark, Sestero also worked as a line producer, assistant to Tommy Wiseau, and helped with casting.[20] Wiseau frequently forgot his own lines or missed cues, requiring numerous retakes and on-set direction from the script supervisor; as a result, much of his dialogue had to be re-dubbed in post production.[27]

Soundtrack

The Room
Soundtrack album by Mladen Milicevic
Released June 27, 2003
Genre Film score, R&B
Length 56:28
Label TPW Records

The score was written by Loyola Marymount University music professor Mladen Milicevic. Milicevic would later provide the score for Wiseau's 2004 documentary Homeless in America, as well as the 2016 documentary on The Room, Room Full of Spoons.[28][29]

The soundtrack features four R&B slow jams which play during four of the film's five love scenes, an oral sex scene between Michelle and Mike uses only instrumental music. The songs are "I Will" by Jarah Gibson, "Crazy" by Clint Gamboa, "Baby You and Me" by Gamboa with Bell Johnson, and "You're My Rose" by Kitra Williams & Reflection. "You're My Rose" is also reprised during the end credits. The soundtrack was released by Wiseau's TPW Records on July 27, 2003.[30][31] Gamboa later appeared as a semi-finalist on the 10th season of American Idol.[32]

All music composed by Mladen Milicevic, except where noted.
Track listing
No. Title Lead vocals Length
1. "The Room"   2:14
2. "Red Dress"   1:09
3. "I Will" (Kitra Williams, Jarah Gibson) Wayman Davis 3:28
4. "Lisa and Mark"   1:30
5. "You're My Rose" (Kitra Williams, Wayman Davis) Kitra Williams 2:22
6. "Red Roses"   3:15
7. "Street"   0:53
8. "Life"   2:43
9. "Street Two"   1:05
10. "Crazy" (Clint Gamboa, Wayman Davis) Clint Gamboa 2:52
11. ""Chocolate is the symbol of love.""   1:52
12. "Chris-R"   1:43
13. "Reason"   0:52
14. "Johnny Mark and Denny on the Roof"   1:09
15. "Lisa, Michelle, and Johnny"   1:55
16. "Yes or No"   1:20
17. ""I'll record everything.""   1:13
18. "XYZ"   1:05
19. "Mark and Peter"   1:08
20. "Jogging"   1:36
21. "Baby You and Me" (Kitra Williams, Clint Gamboa, Jarah Gibson) Clint Gamboa, Bell Johnson 3:17
22. ""Happy birthday, Johnny.""   1:36
23. "Lisa and Mark"   0:52
24. "Fight During the Party"   1:16
25. "Johnny in the Bathroom"   1:42
26. "Tape Recorder"   3:56
27. "Johnny Becomes Crazy"   2:48
28. ""Why? Why Johnny?""   2:39
29. "Reflection "You're My Rose"" (Kitra Williams, Wayman Davis) Kitra Williams 2:42

Directorial credit dispute

In a February 11, 2011 Entertainment Weekly article, veteran script supervisor Sandy Schklair announced that he desired credit for directing The Room. Schklair told EW shortly after being hired on as script supervisor, Wiseau became too engrossed with his acting duties to direct the film properly; according to Schklair, Wiseau then asked him to "tell the actors what to do, and yell 'Action' and 'Cut' and tell the cameraman what shots to get." The script supervisor also said that he had a conversation with Wiseau in which he refused to give up the title of "director", but asked Schklair to "direct [his] movie." The story is corroborated by at least one of the film's actors, who requested anonymity for the story. Wiseau has dismissed Schklair's comments.[33][34] Greg Sestero's memoir The Disaster Artist about the making of The Room partially corroborates Schklair's version of events, describing him taking charge of numerous sequences in which Wiseau found himself unable to remember lines properly or adequately interact with the rest of the cast, but jokes that claiming directorial credit was like "claiming to have been the Hindenburg's principal aeronautics engineer".[35] Wiseau said of Schklair's assertion, "Well, this is so laughable that… you know what? I don’t know, probably only in America it can happen, this kind of stuff."[7]

Analysis

Influences

The basic premise of The Room draws on specific incidents from Wiseau's own life, including the details of how Johnny came to San Francisco and met Lisa, and the nature of Johnny and Mark's friendship.[36][34] According to Greg Sestero, the character of Lisa is based on a woman to whom Wiseau once proposed with a US$1,500 diamond engagement ring, but who "betrays him multiple times", resulting in the breakup of their relationship.[37]

Sestero further postulates that Wiseau based Lisa's explicit conniving on the character Tom Ripley, after Wiseau had a profound emotional reaction to the film The Talented Mr. Ripley, and matches elements of its three main characters to those in The Room; Sestero has likewise indicated that the character Mark was named for the Ripley actor Matt Damon, whose first name Wiseau had misheard.[38] Wiseau also drew on the chamber plays of Tennessee Williams, whose highly emotional scenes he enjoyed acting out in drama school – many advertising materials for The Room make explicit parallels to Williams's work.[3][39]

In his direction and performance, Wiseau attempted to emulate Orson Welles, Clint Eastwood and James Dean, especially Dean's performance in the film Giant,[40] and went as far to directly use quotes from their films – the line "You are tearing me apart, Lisa!" is derived from a similar line performed by Dean in Rebel Without a Cause.[41]

Inconsistencies and narrative flaws

The script is characterized by numerous inexplicable mood and personality shifts in characters. In analyzing the film's abrupt tone shifts, Greg Sestero highlighted two scenes in particular. In the first scene, Johnny enters the rooftop in the middle of a tirade about being accused of domestic abuse, only to become abruptly cheerful upon seeing Mark; a few moments later, he laughs inappropriately upon learning that a friend of Mark's had been severely beaten. On set, Sestero and first assistant director Sandy Schklair repeatedly tried to convince Wiseau that the line should not be delivered as comical, but Wiseau refused to refrain from laughing.[42] In the second instance, occurring a few scenes later, Mark attempts to kill Peter by throwing him off a roof after Peter expresses his belief that Mark is having an affair with Lisa; just as Peter is about to fall to his death, Mark pulls Peter back over the edge of the roof, apologizes, and the two continue their previous conversation with no acknowledgement of what just occurred.[43]

In addition to being rife with continuity errors, the film has several plots, subplots and character details whose inconsistencies have been commented on by critics and audiences.[44] The Portland Mercury has stated that a number of "plot threads are introduced, then instantly abandoned."[6] In an early scene, halfway through a conversation about planning a birthday party for Johnny, Claudette off-handedly tells Lisa: "I got the results of the test back. I definitely have breast cancer."[9] The issue is casually dismissed and never revisited during the rest of the film.[6][9] In addition, the audience never learns the details surrounding Denny's drug-related debt to Chris-R or what led to their violent confrontation on the roof.[6][45]

Beyond being Johnny's friend, Mark's background receives no exposition; when he is first introduced he claims to be "very busy" while sitting in a parked car in the middle of the day, with no explanation ever given as to his occupation or what he was doing. Greg Sestero stated in his memoir, The Disaster Artist, that he created a backstory for the character in which Mark was an undercover vice detective which Sestero felt united several otherwise disparate aspects of Mark's character such as the secretive nature of various aspects of his behavior including marijuana use, his mood swings, and his handling of the Chris-R incident. However, Wiseau dismissed adding any reference to Mark's past to the script.[46] The makers of The Room video game would later introduce a similar idea as part of a subplot involving Mark's unexplained backstory, much to Sestero's amusement.[47]

At one point, the principal male characters congregate in an alley behind Johnny's apartment to play catch with a football while wearing tuxedos. When Mark arrives, he is revealed to have shaved his beard, and the camera slowly zooms in on his face while dramatic music plays on the soundtrack. Nothing that is said or occurs during the scene has any effect on the plot; the scene ends abruptly when the men decide to return to Johnny's apartment after Peter trips. Wiseau received enough questions about the scene that he decided to address it on a Q&A segment featured on the DVD release; rather than explaining the scene, though, Wiseau only states that playing football without the proper protective equipment is fun and challenging.[48] Greg Sestero has been questioned about the significance of Mark's shaving, though his only response for several years was "if people only knew."[16] Sestero describes in The Disaster Artist that Wiseau insisted he shave his beard on-set just so that Wiseau would have an excuse for Johnny to call Mark "Babyface," Wiseau's own nickname for Sestero, and that the revealing of beardless Mark would be "a moment". Sestero further detailed how the football-in-tuxedos scene was concocted on set by Wiseau, who never explained the significance of the scene to the cast or crew and insisted that the sequence be filmed at the expense of other, relevant scenes.[49]

Release

Promotion

The film was promoted almost exclusively through a single billboard in Hollywood, located on Highland Avenue just north of Fountain, featuring an image Wiseau refers to as "Evil Man": an extreme close-up of his own face with one eye in mid-blink.[9][5] Although more conventional artwork was created for the film, featuring the main characters' faces emblazoned over the Golden Gate Bridge, Wiseau chose the "Evil Man" for what he regarded as its provocative quality; around the time of the film's release, the image led many passers-by to believe that The Room was a horror film.[9] Wiseau also paid for a small television and print campaign in and around Los Angeles, with taglines calling The Room "a film with the passion of Tennessee Williams".[3]

Despite the film's failure to enjoy immediate success, Wiseau paid to keep the billboard up for over five years, at the cost of US$5,000 a month.[50][51] Its bizarre imagery and longevity led to it becoming a minor tourist attraction.[3][52] When asked how he managed to afford to keep the billboard up for so long in such a prominent location, Wiseau responded: "Well, we like the location, and we like the billboard. So we feel that people should see The Room. […] we are selling DVDs, which are selling okay."[5]

Critical reception

The Room premiered on June 27, 2003 at the Laemmle Fairfax and Fallbrook theaters in Los Angeles. Wiseau additionally arranged a screening for the cast and the press at one of the venues, renting a spotlight to sit in front of the theater and arriving in a limousine.[3] Ticket buyers were given a free copy of the film's soundtrack on CD. Although actress Robyn Paris described the audience laughing at the film, Variety reporter Scott Foundas, who was also in attendance, would later write that the film prompted "most of its viewers to ask for their money back — before even 30 minutes [had] passed."[3] IFC.com described Wiseau's speaking voice in the film as "Borat trying to do an impression of Christopher Walken playing a mental patient."[53] The Guardian described the film as a mix of "Tennessee Williams, Ed Wood, R. Kelly's Trapped in the Closet".[54]

The Room has received negative reviews for its acting, screenplay, dialogue, production values, score, direction, and cinematography. The film is described as one of the worst films ever made by several publications.[55][56] By 2017, the film had a score of 32% on Rotten Tomatoes based on 22 reviews with an average rating of 3.3 out of 10. The critical consensus states "A bona-fide classic of midnight cinema, Tommy Wiseau's misguided masterpiece subverts the rules of filmmaking with a boundless enthusiasm that renders such mundanities as acting, screenwriting, and cinematography utterly irrelevant. You will never see a football the same way again."[57] Despite the criticism, the film has received a positive reception from audiences for the same reasons, with some viewers calling it the "best worst movie ever".[58]

In 2013, The Atlantic's Adam Rosen wrote an article entitled "Should Gloriously Terrible Movies Like The Room Be Considered 'Outsider Art'?" where he made the argument "The label [of outsider art] has traditionally applied to painters and sculptors... but it’s hard to see why it couldn’t also refer to Wiseau or any other thwarted, un-self-aware filmmaker."[59]

In a 2017 interview for a Vox video, The Disaster Artist co-writer Tom Bissell explained his views on The Room's popularity, as well as his personal enjoyment of the film, by noting that:[60]

It is like a movie made by an alien who has never seen a movie, but has had movies thoroughly explained to him. There's not often that a work of film has every creative decision that's made in it on a moment-by-moment basis seemingly be the wrong one. The mood [...] ranges from startling cruelty, shocking misogyny, to unbelievable inventiveness. [...] The Room, to me, shatters the distinction between good and bad. Do I think it's a good movie? No. Do I think it's a strong movie that moves me on the level that art usually moves me? Absolutely not. But I can't say it's bad because it's so watchable. It's so fun. It's brought me so much joy. How can something that's bad do those things for me?

Midnight circuit

The Room Q%26A at the Roxy Theatre.jpg
Wiseau and Sestero taking questions from audience members before a showing of The Room.

The Room played in the Laemmle Fairfax and Fallbrook for the next two weeks, grossing a total of US$1,800 (equivalent to $2,343 in 2016) before it was pulled from circulation.[3][61] Toward the end of its run, the Laemmle Fallbrook theatre displayed two signs on the inside of the ticket window in relation to the film: one that read "NO REFUNDS" and another citing a blurb from an early review: "This film is like being stabbed in the head."[62] During one showing in the second week of its run, one of the few audience members in attendance was 5-Second Films' Michael Rousselet, who found unintentional humor in the film's poor dialogue and production values. After treating the screening as his "own private Mystery Science Theater", Rousselet began encouraging friends to join him for future showings to mock the film, starting a word-of-mouth campaign that resulted in about 100 attending the film's final screening. Rousselet and his friends saw the film "four times in three days," and it was in these initial screenings that many of The Room traditions were born, such as the throwing of spoons and footballs during the film.[3]

After the film was pulled from theaters, those who had attended the final showing began e-mailing Wiseau telling him how much they had enjoyed the film. Encouraged by the volume of messages he received, Wiseau booked a single midnight screening of The Room in June 2004, which proved successful enough that Wiseau booked a second showing in July, and a third in August. Celebrity fans of the film included Paul Rudd, David Cross, Will Arnett, Patton Oswalt, Tim Heidecker, Eric Wareheim, Seth Rogen, and James and Dave Franco. Kristen Bell acquired a film reel and hosted private viewing parties;[63] Veronica Mars creator Rob Thomas would also slip references into episodes of Mars "as much as possible".[3] The film eventually developed national and international cult status, with Wiseau arranging screenings around the United States and in Canada, Scandinavia, the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand.[2]

The film had regular showings in many theaters worldwide, with many as a monthly event.[64] Fans interact with the film in a similar fashion to The Rocky Horror Picture Show; audience members dress up as their favorite characters, throw plastic spoons in reference to an unexplained framed photo of a spoon on a table in Johnny's living room, toss footballs to each other from short distances, and yell insulting comments about the quality of the film as well as lines from the film itself.[55][3][65][66] Wiseau has claimed that it was his intent for audiences to find humor in the film, although viewers and some of the cast members generally have viewed it as a poorly-made drama.[67][68]

Home media

In December 2005, The Room was released on DVD and then Blu-ray in December 2012.[2][69][70]

The DVD's special features include an interview with Wiseau, who is asked questions by an off-screen Greg Sestero. Wiseau sits directly in front of a fireplace, with a mantel cluttered by various props from the film;[53] next to him sits a large framed theatrical poster for the film. A few of Wiseau's answers are dubbed in, although it is evident that the dubbed responses match what he was originally saying. Wiseau fails to answer several of the questions, instead offering non sequiturs.[71]

Among the outtakes included on the Blu-ray is an alternate version of the Chris-R scene, set in a back alley; instead of tossing a football, Denny is playing basketball and attempts to get the drug dealer to "shoot some H-O-R-S-E" with him to distract him from the debt. Another bonus feature on the Blu-ray is a more than half-hour long fly-on-the-wall style documentary about the making of The Room. The documentary includes no narration, very little dialogue, only one interview which is with cast member Carolyn Minnot, and consists largely of clips of the crew preparing to shoot.[71]

Wiseau announced plans in April 2011 for a 3D version of the film scanned from the 35 mm film of The Room.[7]

In 2018, Greg Sestero and Tommy Wiseau will reunite in a comedy-thriller entitled Best F(r)iends.[72][73]

Other media

Book

In June 2011, it was announced that Greg Sestero signed a book deal with Simon & Schuster to write a book based on his experiences making the film. The book, titled The Disaster Artist was published in October 2013.[74]

A film adaptation of The Disaster Artist was announced in February 2014, produced by Seth Rogen and scheduled to be directed by James Franco.[75] Franco stated The Disaster Artist was "a combination of Boogie Nights and The Master".[75] The film will star Franco as Wiseau, his brother Dave Franco as Sestero, and be written by The Fault in Our Stars screenwriters Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber. On October 15, 2015, it was announced Seth Rogen would play a role and cinematographer Brandon Trost would serve as the DP for The Disaster Artist.[76] On October 29, 2015, it was announced that Warner Bros. and New Line Cinema would distribute The Disaster Artist. Shooting began December 7, 2015.[77] A work-in-progress version was screened at South by Southwest in March 2017 with the wide release set on December 8, 2017.[78]

Video game

In September 2010, Newgrounds owner Tom Fulp released a Flash game tribute, in the form of a 16-bit styled adventure game played entirely from Johnny's point of view. The game's artwork was provided by staff member Jeff "JohnnyUtah" Bandelin, with music transcribed by animator Chris O'Neill from the Mladen Milicevic score and soundtrack.[79]

Live performances

On June 10, 2010, the AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center presented a live play/reading based on the original script for the movie. Wiseau reprised his role of Johnny and was joined by Greg Sestero playing the role of Mark.[80]

In 2011, Wiseau mentioned plans for a Broadway adaptation of the film,[81] in which he would appear only on opening night: "It will be similar to what you see in the movie, except it will be musical. As well as, you will see… like, for example, Johnny, we could have maybe 10 Johnnys at the same time singing, or playing football. So, the decision have to be made at the time when we actually doing choreography, ‘cause I’ll be doing choreography, as well I’ll be in it only one time, that’s it, as Johnny."[7] He mentioned the plans again during a 2016 interview describing his idea for it to be a "musical slash comedy."[82]

Web series

On October 21, 2014, cast member Robyn Paris launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise a budget for her comedy mockumentary web series, The Room Actors: Where Are They Now? A Mockumentary. On completion the campaign had raised US$31,556 (equivalent to $31,924 in 2016) from 385 backers.[83] Although a number of the original cast are to appear in the series, Wiseau, Sestero and Holmes are not involved.[84] The series premiered at the 24th Raindance Film Festival on September 30, 2016,[85] and is due for full release in 2017.[86]

In popular culture

The comedy show Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job! on Adult Swim, featured Wiseau prominently the fourth season March 9, 2009 episode titled Tommy.[87] Recruited as a "guest director", Wiseau is interviewed in mockumentary style along with the show's leading actors during the production of a fake film titled The Pig Man. Two scenes from The Room are featured during the episode. Adult Swim has broadcast the movie three times from 2009 to 2011 as part of their April Fools' Day programming. In 2012, they showed the first 20 seconds of it before switching to Toonami for the remainder of the night.[88]

On June 18, 2009, a RiffTrax for The Room was released, featuring commentary by Michael J. Nelson, Bill Corbett and Kevin Murphy, formerly of Mystery Science Theater 3000.[89] This was followed up with a live theater show by RiffTrax on May 6, 2015,[90] which was shown in 700 theaters across the U.S. and Canada. The show screened once more on January 28, 2016 as part of the Best of RiffTrax Live series.[91]

On his 2009 DVD My Weakness Is Strong, comedian Patton Oswalt parodied The Room with a fake infomercial. The spoof also features a cameo from Jon Hamm.[33]

In 2010, the film was mocked on the Internet comedy series Nostalgia Critic, which highlighted the film's bad acting and writing, but encouraged viewers to see the movie: "It truly is one of those films you have to see to believe."[92] The episode was taken down following claims of copyright infringement from Wiseau-Films. It was replaced by a short video titled "The Tommy Wi-Show", in which host Doug Walker, dressed as Wiseau, mocked the threatened legal actions. The main review was later reinstated.[93] Both Greg Sestero and Juliette Danielle have praised the review, and Sestero later made a cameo appearance on The Nostalgia Critic episode "Dawn of the Commercials", reprising his role of Mark.[94] Both Wiseau and Sestero appeared in separate episodes on Walker's talk show, Shut Up and Talk.[95][26]

In Wiseau's 2014 sitcom pilot The Neighbors, the character Troy watches The Room in a scene.[96]

In 2015, Sestero starred in 5-Second Films feature Dude Bro Party Massacre III directed by Michael Rousselet, the patient zero of The Room cult movement.[58][97]

The Sunday, July 5, 2015, installment of Amy Dickinson's advice column Ask Amy unwittingly featured a hoax letter that derived its situational premise from The Room and, even after being edited for publication, retained phrases from the film's dialogue;[98] Dickinson addressed the hoax in the following Saturday's July 11 edition of the National Public Radio comedy and quiz show Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me!, where she appears as a regular panelist,[99] and her July 20, 2015 column.[100][101]

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Further reading

External links

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