Tommy Wiseau is best known for his film “The Room”. The film has gained an incredible cult status and is a popular midnight screening. Tommy is currently touring with the film all over the world. Some hate the movie calling it “one of the worst movies ever made” and others love it calling it “so bad it is good”. Media Mikes had a chance to chat with Tommy about the success of the film and what else he has planned.
Mike Gencarelli: Are you surprised by the cult status that “The Room” has achieved and has become a midnight screening cult classic?
Tommy Wiseau: Oh yeah, with our last screening we had over 900 people show up. I did a Q&A and I love it. We travel a lot with the film. I love talking with the people and I guess they like me too [laughs]. The midnight screenings started because we got thousands of emails demanding to see “The Room” in Los Angeles, which is how everything started. The background to the story started when we submitted the film to the Academy Awards. We were screening it in Los Angeles two a half weeks after that and we received all those emails. We then started screening at Wilshire Screening Room in Los Angeles. We got so many people showing up we had problems with fire marshal and people were literally sitting on the floor. I called the theater and said if we could screen it also at midnight and that is how the midnight screenings started. Now we have screenings spread out all over the entire world like UK, Canada, New Zealand etc. So we are very happy with what happened.
MG: Tell us about how you shot “The Room” with both 35mm and HD cameras?
TW: Yep, we used two cameras shooting “The Room”. One was HD and one was 35mm. Some people are blogging about this incorrect, I shot it that way to learn about it. At the time, eight years ago or so there was not enough information about HD. Right now HD is the biggest ever. “The Room” is the only feature movie in the world that is shot at the same time on the same rig with both cameras. I am very happy with what I did.
MG: Did you find any real challenges shooting “The Room” that way?
TW: Some people think that all this has just happened by accident with “The Room”. You have to prepare to film or a TV show or whatever. It is a process and you have to apply certain things and be organized. It is a lot of work but I enjoy it. Some things take a long time. I have been working on “The Room” almost 15 years before we released. It is not something that just happened by accident. On the set of “The Room” using the process of working with the two cameras, I changed the crew four times while filming. Some of them quit and some I fired. People tried to tamper with the project and you could write a book about it. Actually, I am writing a book about it between the difference between 35mm and HD. What is the difference? What is the cost? I think my book, which will be released this year, will relate to the simplicity of the industry and how Hollywood embraced HD. From the beginning Hollywood did not want to embrace HD format, the reason was because everything was set on the 35mm umbrella. We find now that a lot of people are changing between the two formats.
MG: What can you tell us about “The Room” in 3-D and the Blu-ray release?
TW: We will be releasing it on Blu-ray before Christmas and I am also working releasing the film in 3D. With HD it is a great format for 3D but so is 35mm. Film is film. You cannot match film by using an HD camera, you can come pretty close but it is not the same. The fact is also when you watch 3D, you have a slightly different experience. I have been experimenting already with some clips from “The Room” and it looks great and that is why I want to do it. I also wanted to show viewer that they have choices. It is very detail oriented work. So first the Blu-ray will be released this year before Christmas and we will be doing “The Room” Blu-ray tour across the country…maybe across the world. The 3D will be between 2011 and 2012. It is definitely the future.
[UPDATE: The Blu-ray is finally arriving on December 28, 2012. Click here to purchase on Amazon.]
MG: With the huge following of “The Room”, why haven’t you made another feature follow-up?
TW: Well I am not sure if you know but, I am working on this sitcom called “The Neighbors” currently, which will be released this year. I am also working on another movie relating to the economy and then also a vampire movie. If you are referring to “The Room” prequel or sequel, at this time I think we need to get at least 80% of America to see “The Room” first [laughs]. Then I might consider something else with “The Room”.
MG: What can you tell us about the sitcom “The Neighbors”?
TW: It is a TV sitcom I am working on and you can check out the site at http://www.theneighborssitcom.com. We will be releasing the first episode in about 45-60 days on that site. I am acting in the show as a character named Charlie. One of the actors from “The Room” will be connected to the production as well. It is for entertainment and is slightly different from what you are used to on the TV station. When you watch the sitcom people will have a groovy time and enjoy it and that is basically what it is.
MG: How did you get involved with the horror comedy short “The House That Drips Blood on Alex”?
TW: They sent me a script. It was sponsored by Comedy Central and Atom.com and they hired me as an actor. I did not direct the project. My background is an actor. It was a pretty excited project. They could have done a better job but it is what it is.
MG: Tell us about working with showing the movie on Adult Swim and appearing on “Tim & Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!”?
TW: I have been on the show four times now. Tim and Eric are really great people to work with. They have great vision of what they want. They also hired me as an actor, not a director. Some of their stuff is completely off the wall. They are fans of “The Room” as well and are just so fun to work with. I hope I will be working with them again soon. I believe Adult Swim will be screening “The Room” again for the third year in a row on Adult Swim on April 1st. So, I am very happy with that.
MG: What can you say to people that haven’t yet seen “The Room”?
TW: I like people to express themselves. You don’t have to like the whole movie. I want people to have a groovy time and forget the world a little bit. I realize that during the screenings in Los Angeles that people are really enjoying it and that is what “The Room” is all about. The people that give the negative stigma about the film should just grow up. This is just to entertain you and that is what it is. I don’t think that it is the best of the best, [laughs] actually everyone says it is the worst of the worst [laughs]. My job as an actor/director is to make people laugh. When you see “The Room”, people need to forget what is happening at home, at work, in society and just isolate yourself and have fun. What shocked me the most Michael is that people are quoting the script and I love it. It is a compliment to me. I just want people to have fun and enjoy.