Tommy Wiseau

Photo Credit: Lex Rojas | Daily Texan Staff

Director and actor Tommy Wiseau created 2003’s “The Room,” which many people claim is one of the best “worst movies” of all time. Online entertainment company RiffTrax, famous for mocking popular films, will broadcast a live “riffing” of “The Room” on May 6 in hundreds of movie theaters. After reading The Daily Texan’s article about The Texas Travesty’s special screening of the film last week, RiffTrax reached out to the Texan and set up a Q&A with Wiseau. 

The Daily Texan: Why did you choose film to express your version of art? 

Tommy Wiseau: I like to direct. I like to share what I have in my head. I always say you need ambition before you do anything. Without a vision, you don’t have anything. When you present it, you have to also take a risk because you don’t know if people embrace your project. As you know, some people call “The Room” ‘this way, that way and whatever,’ but I still feel that it’s my responsibility to present the world as I see it for a better tomorrow.

DT: What, in your view, makes a great movie?

TW: I personally think that when you present something real with emotion, that’s a part of it. But you cannot just use one word. Good movies relate to vision. If you have a vision, that’s one step, but the second step is the rehearsal process and how you present it. It’s a lot of preparation. You have production and performance, then you put everything together. 

DT: Your co-actor Greg Sestero has stated that you have a “fascination with all things America.” Can you elaborate what he means by that? 

TW: I honestly don’t know what Greg Sestero said. I read his book, [“The Disaster Artist”], but it’s [an] exaggeration. I love America because I’m American. I’ve lived in this country for quite a few years. My uncle grew up in New Orleans, and I grew up there as well. You may go to Europe, you may even go to Canada and find that they don’t have as much freedom as we [do]. I think this is the best country in the world.

DT: Do you think that the relationship dynamics presented in “The Room” between men and women have changed since the movie’s been released? 

TW: I don’t think so. I always say about girls that you don’t have to wear jeans to be tough. The ladies have a certain different approach in life. I don’t think this has been changed in decades. You may change environment, but if you look at the relationship between man and woman or friends, it has not changed that much. 

DT: How do you feel about people who enjoy the movie but enjoy it because they perceive it as terrible? 

TW: If you enjoy it and say it’s terrible, that’s your choice. But with the same token, if you know how I created “The Room” and all its obstacles, you may change your mind. I don’t think “The Room” is terrible. 

DT: You stated in previous interviews that you tend to dislike mainstream media and the politics in Hollywood. What advice do you have to filmmakers who will one day encounter the Hollywood system? 

TW: Just ignore media if they write about you. If you believe deeply about what they write, it’s not right for you. Believe in your project, and eventually you’ll have people who will actually respect you and will admire whatever you accomplish. It can be sometimes brutal, and you have to be strong and keep going. 

DT: Why did you choose to establish your own underwear line? 

TW: I decided to design underwear because I didn’t like what I saw in regular retail stores, to be honest. I have all kinds of different underwear. We all wear it, unless you don’t want to wear it. I put [my underwear] in “The Neighbors” [Wiseau’s new sitcom on Hulu] for product placement, but I wanted to see how people would react, and we did get a reaction. People were laughing. 

DT: What are your plans for future projects?

TW: I’m working on a movie about foreclosure. I’d like to produce three or four movies a year, but I think I will produce at least one for sure. I’m also working on a vampire movie, and I’d like to work on that this year, as well.

Photo Credit: Lex Rojas | Daily Texan Staff

During the Texas Travesty’s screening of the cult classic movie "The Room," audience members will chunk plastic spoons at the screen, participate in a costume contest and openly crack jokes.

The satirical news organization will host its second annual screening of the so-bad-it’s-good masterpiece “The Room” on Tuesday. The film follows a romantic triangle between a man named Johnny, his fiancée, Lisa, and his best friend, Mark. Subplots involving many of Johnny's friends unfold, but several are disappear or go nowhere.

In one scene, Lisa’s mother reveals she has breast cancer, and the detail is never brought up again. The film is notorious for its terrible acting, inconsistent storyline and cringe-worthy dialogue. Entertainment Weekly labeled it “the ‘Citizen Kane’ of bad movies.”

Radio-television-film senior Marshall Kistner, who organized the screening, said he’s excited to give fans of the bizarre drama an opportunity to get together for a night of hilarity.

 “My hope whenever someone goes to a wide screening of this movie is that they have the same experience I had,” Kistner said. “If you go in with an open mind and see the true absurdity and passion that’s put into it, it’s almost weirdly inspiring.”

Shortly after the film’s 2003 release, it developed a cult following. The horrible script and director Tommy Wiseau’s bizarre acting made the movie a comedy gem. More than a decade later, fans still attend several nationwide midnight screenings where they dress up as the characters, reenact scenes and openly mock the film.

Communication sciences and disorders sophomore Taylor Boswell first saw “The Room” during her freshman year. She said she is excited to attend the screening and relive the insanity.

“You don’t think a movie can be done that badly but still be good at the same time,” Boswell said. “It’s just interesting that [Wiseau] created this horrible movie that he, to this day, thinks is a piece of cinematic gold.”

A majority of the interest surrounding the film centers on Wiseau and his flamboyant personality. He is famous for his broken English — although he claims he grew up in Louisiana — and his odd mannerisms, such as his affinity for always wearing sunglasses, even at night.

When Kistner contacted the film’s official email asking for permission to screen the film in Austin, he never expected the director himself to respond.

“He gave us [the film rights for the screening] for free for Christmas,” Kistner said. “He kept calling me ‘Marhal.’ He also sent us a package of his official underwear line and wanted us to show them off at the first screening.”

Despite its status as cult hit, a large, growing fan-base will surely immortalize the film as a memorable look at how filmmaking can go wrong. Boswell said the film will continue to get recognition for years to come, similar to cult hit “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” today.

“I think it can still be viewed by generations to come,” said Boswell. “I think everyone should see ‘The Room’ at least once in a lifetime.”


When: 8 p.m.

Where: Texas Union Theater

What: Screening of “The Room”

Admission: Free (ID not required)