Tommy Wiseau, the unparallelled visionary who brought us The Room, has frequently expressed a desire to see his work adapted into new media. In addition to a Broadway play, Wiseau now hopes to see The Room re-imagined in the form of a video game and cartoon targeted at viewers aged 6-11.
This was one of the most notable revelations made in an interview with Tommy Wiseau conducted by Tom Bissell for the August 2010 issue of Harper’s Magazine. This followed a stunning yet intimate analysis of The Room, as well as the subculture that it has spawned since its 2003 debut. (EDIT: The PDF has unfortunately been taken down. The article can be accessed here, although it is behind a paywall.)
“They will be the same characters,” Wiseau said in regards to his animated aspiration, ” however, they will be approached for kids.”
In regards to the video game, he mentioned that “you can be Johnny, you can be Lisa, you can do whatever you want to do . . . like play football, for example.”
I would like to think that this film needs no introduction, but since it has provided the namesake of this website, I should probably give it one. Although it is often classified as a film that is so bad it’s good, such a description is woefully inadequate for truly explaining the phenomenon that is The Room. Independently produced at a cost of over $6 million, it was intended to be a melodrama focusing on a love triangle between a banker named Johnny, his fiancée Lisa, and his best friend Mark. It is set in San Francisco, as the film never hesitates to point out through its excessive use of establishing shots and transitions. In reality, it was a vastly over-budgeted train wreck whose production was driven solely by the vanity of its creator. The end result is a movie that defies not only the nature of film, but also the nature of human reason.
In an attempt to resonate the unfortunate realities of life, The Room liberally introduces a host of inane subplots that are either immediately dropped or never fully explained. These include, but are not limited to, the mental state of Johnny’s disciple Denny, said character’s run-in with what we can only assume to be some kind of drug dealer named Chris-R (the closest thing to a last name any character in the film has), and Lisa’s mother announcing her breast cancer diagnosis.
The male characters also have an obsession with playing football while standing three feet apart. The film contains four agonizingly long and awkward sex scenes set to their own individual R&B tracks, one of which consists of entirely recycled footage from a previous sex scene. The acting is hilariously awful, but that should go without saying. The movie’s apex occurs near the end when Steven, a character who appears out of nowhere yet acts as if he has been around all along, summarizes the dire implications of the film’s plot by saying, “I feel like I’m sitting on an atomic bomb, waiting for it to go off.”
“Me too,” responds another incidental character.
While the film’s reception was understandably disastrous during its red carpet debut in 2003, it has since grown into a midnight phenomenon. Monthly screenings are held in Los Angeles, each one attracting thousands of fans who interact with the film in a fashion similar to The Rocky Horror Picture Show. They respond to certain lines, give standing ovations to the idealistic truisms spouted by Johnny, and throw plastic spoons at the screen. The screenings have since spread to different cities around the world, and continue to do so.
As astonishing as this film is, it is only half as interesting as its writer, producer, director, and star, Tommy Wiseau, who is a confoundedly fascinating human being. A man who devotes his entire life to travelling around the world stealing valuable artifacts and corporate secrets from aristocrats and businessmen and then spends his final days travelling from country to country running from his amassed enemies could never dream of being as fascinating as Tommy Wiseau. This is not only because of his various eccentricities, including his strange appearance and accent and the hypnotizing laugh he manages to punctuate every sentence with in his portrayal of “Johnny,” but also because he manages to keep himself shrouded in secrecy. He headlines every LA screening of The Room, which he always attends, with a Q & A session. The only two questions he refuses to answer is how he managed to attain the funds to create the film, and what country he is from. He truly is a man who lives in his own world, and it may be in his own best interests that he keeps it that way.
Regardless of what it has become, it is clear that the movie was intended to carry out some kind of therapeutic function for its creator. Wiseau not only depicts “Johnny” talking to a psychiatrist about his frustrations, he also has the audacity to have Johnny make fun of the psychiatrist in nearly every scene they share. Indeed some may feel that no film should ever materialize from an approach like this. In a way, The Room, like no other movie, may very well not have any right to exist at all. As Bissell stated in his article:
A collaborative medium like film is structurally designed to thwart people like Tommy Wiseau – and indeed during The Room‘s production, Wiseau fired the film’s crew four times over. He tried to make a conventional film and wound up with something so inexplicable and casually surreal that no practicing surrealist could ever convincingly ape its form, except by exact imitation. It is the movie that an alien who has never seen a movie might make after having had movies thoroughly explained to him.
Indeed, The Room is less a movie than it is a force of nature which could not be stopped. Bissell’s is not the first bewilderingly captivated analysis inspired by The Room, nor will it be the last one. However, it is one of the best, especially for those who have already seen the film. If you need any analysis to serve as a companion guide, by all means take the time to read the article.
I am not exaggerating when I say that seeing this movie will change your life. While The Room is not distributed on home video in Canada, it can be imported from Amazon.com. Although I strongly encourage you to catch a midnight screening of the film if possible. They are held regularly in Vancouver and Montreal, and sporadically in other cities across the country.
Wiseau intends to re-master The Room in 3-D in the near future. Also, citing an interest in the Twilight series, he is currently seeking investment for a vampire film. I hope that you’re all looking forward to it as much as I am.