You don’t know passion until you’ve talked to Tommy Wiseau. A director, actor and producer, Wiseau is best known for his cinematic opus The Room celebrating its 10th anniversary this year. Originally booked for two weeks at a movie theater in Los Angeles, the film quickly gained attention through local reviews and word of mouth. Wiseau himself was so confident about the film that he rented a billboard on L.A.’s Highland Avenue! He even submitted the movie to the Academy Awards.
While the studio system may have ignored his efforts the movie quickly gathered a cult following and continues to play midnight shows all over the world. The movie itself is relatively straightforward. Johnny (Wiseau) is a banker in San Francisco that is engaged to Lisa (Juliette Danielle). Lisa has decided she is tired of Johnny and decides to have an affair with his best friend Mark (Greg Sestero). Betrayal and heartbreak ensues. The final product is very clearly the result of one man’s passion to bring the story to film at all costs.
Wiseau is currently touring movie houses all over the country as a part of the Love Is Blind Tour to celebrate the movie’s anniversary and its release on blu-ray late last year. Press Pass LA had the chance to sit down with Wiseau to discuss how he feels about his new role as a cult icon and what it takes to be a great filmmaker.
PPLA: You went through a lot to complete the film and bring it to the big screen. What was it about the story that made you so passionate?
TW: I’m very passionate about life and how positively unique people are all over the world. I don’t know if you know this but The Room was originally supposed to be a play. I wrote 800 pages and then decided that a movie would be a way to reach more people at once. I may still publish the full play this year. I want my work to positively influence people, I feel that way about all of my art. Thank you, next question!
PPLA: In the decade since the release of The Room you’ve become what’s considered a bit of a cult figure. How do you feel about that kind of attention?
TW: First of all, what do you mean by a bit? I don’t like that word. We have consistently filled theaters all across the world for the past 10 years. People don’t understand, we’ve been successful worldwide and that drives me crazy. Do not use the words a bit, if it was not a good film we would not have been featured in Variety and Time and Entertainment Weekly. Reporters always misquote me and that’s not fair. We’ve been working very hard letting people know about the movie and people really enjoy the film. I just came back from Europe and they love it over there.
PPLA: Who were your inspirations in making this film? What actors and directors do you look up to?
TW: When it comes to directing I try and follow the pioneers like Spielberg and Hitchcock, they really knew how to make movies.
PPLA: Do you have advice for first time filmmakers like yourself?
TW: If you want to be the best of the best it is a process. You cannot get to 100 percent right away. Think about 20 percent first before you have 100 and that’s how you will be a success.
You can meet Wiseau and the rest of the cast as the tour the country on the Love is Blind Tour