Inside The Room: Or, my coffee date with Tommy Wiseau

The News in Brief:

  • Tommy Wiseau, to dispel claims from former collaborators that his 2003 cult hit The Room  was filmed without a script or with scripts written during takes, plans to release the entire original script in March 2015 on TommyWiseau.com and TheRoomMovie.com.  (Note: As promised, Wiseau released the script on 25 Feb. 2015.  Fans can purchase the script on either website for $17.99.  Each script comes with a “free” pair of Wiseau-brand underwear.)
  • Wiseau announced in Edinburgh on 13 Feb. that he has filmed four full episodes of his new TV series, The Neighbors, and has secured US distribution.  He is currently seeking a UK distribution deal.
  • In an exclusive interview Wiseau shared that he still hopes to publish the 800-page manuscript (also titled The Room) which predates his film. Wiseau condensed the novel into his sleeper-hit screenplay after failing to secure a publisher.  He would also consider writing a book in response to co-star Greg Sestero’s critical 2013 memoir The Disaster Artist, his account of the making of The Room.
  • While working on further episodes of The Neighbors, Wiseau is finishing a second feature-length film.  Titled The Foreclosure, the film will center on “Richard” (played by Wiseau), the foreclosure of his house, and his subsequent battle with banking interests.  Asked whether the film was a response to the 2008 financial crisis, Wiseau suggested the real focus of the movie was a more timeless question: ” ‘Will truth prevail?’ you know.”
  • I had a coffee with Tommy Wiseau.

.     .     .

I was inside The Room before I knew it.  As a college freshman my dorm  walls bore the obligatory Animal House and Reservoir Dogs posters, but it was Tommy Wiseau’s baffling 2003 cult classic that came to dominate my armory of hip film quotes.  I didn’t hit her.  I did naaahhht.  I overheard these words in the library; I caught them from across the room in the early hours of flat parties.   I laughed.  I didn’t know why I was laughing.  Finally one of my friends sat me down and played a YouTube montage of the best quotes from The Room, a film usually among the top five in lists of the worst movies of all time, a work so bafflingly bad that the viewer’s most burning questions – Does writer, director, producer, and star Tommy Wiseau know how bad this is? – did he intend it? – is it all some kind of … comment? … on … something? – are made ludicrous when refracted through it, and discussions of it soon prove as futile as an inquiry into angels salsa dancing on the head of a pin.  So, as a freshman, I started to quote from The Room – even though, aside from a seven minute YouTube clip watched countless times – I hadn’t actually seen the movie.  Most people hadn’t.  We promised ourselves we would.  We planned viewing parties which never materialized, or else ended in giddy intoxicated readings of the film’s WikiQuotes page, an illegal copy of the feature never located.

The legend grew.  It grew so much that when on one foggy Friday the 13th I found myself sipping a black coffee across from Tommy Wiseau – wearing dark Oakley shades in a dim theatre bar some time before midnight, downing his own heavily-creamed Americano, which he took after two Red Bulls (sipped through straws) and yet another Americano – telling me for the second time about how the US bought the great state of Louisiana from Napoleon himself, it struck me that I was still in “The Room” – that though the movie had ended, some part of me hadn’t left; indeed, might never leave.

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Atlas Obscura, Travel Guide to the Wonderful and Weird

I recently discovered the website Atlas Obscura, run by a group of dedicated travelers passionate for the weird, the forgotten, the unacknowledged and the almost-unbelievable.  Aside from allowing users to create profiles with maps of all the places they’ve been and bucket lists of the things they’ve yet to see, it’s a great platform for sharing weird discoveries that might not find a home in a Rick Steve’s travel guide or a Buzzfeed article of “Must Sees.”

You can find my entries – places and articles – on my AO profile, here.  I’m sure I’ll be adding more soon (expect pictures of one of Edinburgh’s underappreciated ruins, hidden, as it were, in plain sight) – in the meantime, here are two of my entries into AO’s compendium of fascinating places:

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