'The Room' Director Tommy Wiseau Talks James Franco Playing Him, Breaking China and Underwear (Q&A)
The iconic director says he's hoping to release his cult classic — which celebrates its 13th anniversary next year — in 3D.
The story of The Room, arguably the biggest cult film of modern times and a title dubbed the "Citizen Kane of bad movies," will soon be brought to the big screen by James Franco and Seth Rogen in The Disaster Artist.
Based on the book by Greg Sestero, who famously co-starred in the romantic drama as the backstabbing best friend of its now almost-legendary director/producer/writer/lead actor Tommy Wiseau, The Disaster Artist (which will be directed by and star Franco) is sure to draw in the hundreds of thousands who still pack out cinemas around the world to see The Room some 12 years after it first premiered in L.A.
Wiseau dropped by AFM on Friday to help promote The Room and Samurai Cop 2, the new Gregory Hatanaka-directed Cinema Epoch sequel to another cult classic, in which he stars as a masked bad guy (although he reportedly wanted to kill off the actual Samurai Cop so he could take the lead role in the follow-up).
The Hollywood Reporter caught up with Wiseau — still sporting his trademark sunglasses and unkempt long black locks — about his feelings towards The Disaster Artist, remaking The Room in 3D and introducing the film to the second biggest box office on the planet. Oh, and his own brand of underwear.
How involved have you been in The Disaster Artist?
You have to go to Franco. But generally speaking, I’m partially involved.
Did you have to give approval for Franco to play you?
Let me say it one more time — you have to go to James Franco. That’s the agreement I have.
Are you going to appear in it?
Again, I can't talk about it. All I can tell you is that they're nice people. One time we had a screening of the room in Los Angeles, and Dave [Franco] was there, and he asked me questions, and I said "Yeah, you can play Greg Sestero, and James can play me." Johnny Depp can play me, too, so we’ll see. But I think James Franco is a good actor. I hope it’ll be a hit.
Do you think James Franco will do a good Tommy Wiseau?
Absolutely. I talked to him, but it's up to him how he wants to handle it. I'm a difficult person. No, I'm a nice guy!
Who would you like to play Lisa, the main female character who famously sleeps with your best friend?
I have no idea who they're thinking off, but maybe Kristen Bell would be good. But this is just an idea. It's up to them. I'm not in charge, and I don't want to be in charge.
Are you not going to be watching from the sidelines? After all, it's a story about you and your most famous film. Are you not curious to see how they do it?
Well yeah, hopefully they'll invite me. You'll have to talk to them. It's tricky — I'm too old for this but keep trying! But they're a nice production team — Seth Rogen, James Franco — they are nice people and have been in the business for x number of years and know what they're doing. Greg Sestero’s book, I'm not supporting 100 percent, just 45 percent — I'm giving you 5 percent extra because they're making a movie. But I think it's a cool story, an American story: a guy coming from Europe with long hair, nobody support him and suddenly everybody supports him. I think it's a good story.
But you’ve read the book, right? Is it all true?
I already said to you — you don’t listen. Forty-five percent!
And are you happy with the books portrayal of you and The Room's production.
Forty-five percent! I give you five percent extra because of James Franco.
Do you think the film is going to lead to a whole new generation of people watching and enjoying The Room?
The answer is yes, I don't know — I don’t have a clue. But I always say, we've been seeing The Room for 12 years. Next year will be its 13th anniversary. I'm very proud of what I did. Some of the time, you guys say quirky stuff about The Room, but that's OK. But the long-story short, I'm happy where I am now. We are very big in Australia, U.K., Canada and other countries as well. We're always promoting it — I like that.
Would you ever consider remaking The Room?
We’re actually thinking of doing in 3D. We may do it, we’ll see what happens. Keep in mind it was shot with two cameras HD and 35mm at the same time. But right now, I'm happy where I am. Also, I design underwear. I'm very proud of it. It improves your sexuality by 40 percent.
The Room is still packing out cinemas around the world 12 years on. It must be a great feeling.
I really enjoy it. We got a lot of good responses. We may go to China with The Room. It hasn't come out in China or Japan yet.
Great, so what's the plan there — when might you take it to China?
I don't know what the plan is — you ask too many questions! I don't know, but I think they'll have the same reaction there. But by the way, the Blu-ray of The Room, we’re actually dubbing in four different languages.
Will you dub The Room for China?
It'll be interesting if we can meet someone, perhaps at AFM, to find out if we can dub in Mandarin or Cantonese.
Which is a bigger business for you, The Room or your underwear collection?
I cannot answer that. We're happy where we are. We're very happy.