Tommy Wiseau's The Room is an enigma. It's not just a bad film - it's a film so inexplicably terrible that the realm of its awfulness doesn't even feel like it should exist on this planet. Between the out-of-sync, overdubbed dialogue, the plot lines that never resolve, and Wiseau's bizarre accent, it reads like an alien interpretation of a human love triangle. In fact, most of us wouldn't be surprised if Wiseau was an extraterrestrial in a human suit a la Men In Black. Yet, we can't help but love it - just ask the leagues of admirers that attend midnight showings and throw handfuls of plastic spoons at the screen in adoration.
The Room behind-the-scenes is exactly the brand of bizarre that you'd expect from a film so bafflingly awful that it actually elicits a positive emotional response. Many people herald it as the Citizen Kane of bad movies, and it's so widely beloved that James Franco transformed its story into the Golden Globe-winning film The Disaster Artist.
Wiseau's path to success (or failure, depending on how you look at it) is deeply inspiring. He proves that you can achieve your wildest dreams with hardly any technical ability, as long as you never give up. After 14 years, Wiseau finally received his Golden Globe in 2018 by proxy, but it still counts. Or at least it should.
The Room versus The Disaster Artist is truly an exploration of awful. The former is the worst film ever made, and the latter is heralded as the highest form of art. So where do we draw the line? What makes our idea of terrible anything other than thinly-veiled genius? The true story behind The Disaster Artist questions our rigid ideas of success and has us screaming, "You're tearing me apart, Lisa!" And maybe, one day, if we all try hard enough, we'll forget the image of Wiseau's bare, pale butt that's permanently burned into our retinas.
It Took Tommy Wiseau 32 Takes To Say "Oh, Hi Mark" With The Proper Level Of Conviction
Tommy Wiseau casually saying "oh, hi, Mark" after screaming about his girlfriend's abuse allegations is arguably one of the film's most revered scenes (and not because it's any good). According to co-star Greg Sestero, this Academy Award nominated piece of artistic expression took more than a few tries.
It took Wiseau a whopping 32 takes to perfect the lines, "I did not hit her! It's not true! It's bullsh*t! I did not hit her! I did not! Oh, hi, Mark!"
And he needed cue cards. The effort was clearly worth it because it was the performance of a lifetime.
Tommy Wiseau Put His Cellphone Number On A $300,000 Billboard That Advertised 'The Room' For Five Years
Most movies don't bother advertising outside of the first year or the DVD release, but Tommy Wiseau was in it for the long haul. In 2003, Wiseau purchased a massive billboard that overlooked Hollywood's Highland Ave. and left it up for a whopping five years. The number shown in the advertisement turned out to be Wiseau's personal cellphone (a move that James Franco copied to promote The Disaster Artist). The final cost was an upwards of $300,000.
All in all, you can't really knock it. This ad was innovative in an era where creators had no direct line to fans.
The Rooftop Scenes Were Shot With A Green Screen Despite Having Access To An Actual Rooftop
Sometimes, the fake thing is better than the real thing... at least according to Tommy Wiseau. Despite the fact that production had access to a real San Francisco rooftop, Wiseau decided to shoot the scenes on a set with a green screen. When you have a $6 million budget, you have to spend it somewhere, right?
There's A Good Reason The Shots On The Stairs Are Reused Multiple Times
Anyone who's seen The Room knows the shots of Johnny running up the stairs to Lisa's apartment play over and over again like the background of a '60s cartoon. The same shot is reused over and over thanks one major oops - Tommy Wiseau neglected to get a San Francisco outdoor filming permit, which was legally required to shoot.
Instead of getting the proper permit, Wiseau filmed scenes in front of random people's houses without permission. Of course, he was repeatedly reported to the cops by people who saw a strange man hanging around their front lawn with a camera. As a result, Wiseau didn't quite get enough footage to cut every outdoor scene with new material.