Enter “The Room”

Director Tommy Wiseau discusses his neo-cult classic and what the label “worst film ever made” means to him.

Andrew Penkalski

What: âÄúThe RoomâÄù screening and Q&A with Tommy Wiseau

When: Nov. 19 and 20

Where: The Uptown Theatre (2906 Hennepin Ave.)

 

The first-time viewing of âÄúThe Room,âÄù creative mad hatter Tommy WiseauâÄôs weird work of either unrealized genius or profound idiocy, can be a bit disorienting. With its excessive collection of sex scenes that bear greater similarity to softcore pornography than melodrama or the abandoned plotlines, it could be easy to immediately brush this work off as nonsense.

But in the case of WiseauâÄôs film, it just isnâÄôt that easy. There is something hypnotizing in âÄúThe RoomâÄù and its confused and illogical ways. In the course of those 100 minutes, the abomination becomes an obsession, which is dominated by the ultimately unanswered inquiry: Who thought this was a good idea?

Wiseau did. And this self-proclaimed man of âÄúmany skillsâÄù has been put through the Q&A wringer time and time again as critics and fans attempt to exhume some nugget of truth from WiseauâÄôs mind that will explain how such an inexplicable artistic effort warranted a $6 million budget, four crew firings and a whole lot of simulated intercourse. But in WiseauâÄôs eyes, it could only have been bigger.

âÄúIf I have unlimited budget, this movie will come out to two-hour movie,âÄù Wiseau said in his trademark accent âÄî one that sounds entirely foreign yet utterly unrecognizable. âÄúI want to have a standard film based on my research, because thatâÄôs what people will see in the theater.âÄù

So where did this start? In conversation, it repeatedly appears that some bit of biographical context would function as a Rosetta Stone placing every oddity in this twisted tale of a love triangle into the most simple of translation. Yet WiseauâÄôs back-story and even original places of residency are kept a mystery with the exception of a few details.

âÄúI had a tendency when I was little kid actually to write on a piece of paper all kinds of different stuff,âÄù Wiseau said. âÄúI have thousands of stories to tell âĦ and I say, âÄòYou know, I want to create something unique, something different.âÄôâÄù

For better or for worse, he did, and for all of the filmâÄôs efforts, the endearing aspect comes not only from WiseauâÄôs blatant sincerity, but also this Tennessee Williams approach to tragedy, stemming from his stage training âÄî a mode of acting he continues to utilize in his work.

âÄúIn America, the actors are not coming from [the stage].âÄù Wiseau said. âÄúItâÄôs just, âÄòOK, I write the script. I read the lines,âÄô etc., but thatâÄôs not enough.âÄù

He presents himself as a man with high standards. And while he is both buoyant and excited through discussions of his film, he takes his vision very seriously. He even nonchalantly mentions his lofty plans to have a screening at Yankee Stadium (since conquering the midnight movie slots of Canada, the United Kingdom and New Zealand is not enough).

âÄúNinety percent of America should see âÄòThe Room,âÄôâÄù Wiseau said. âÄúAll the characters âĦ are part of our lives âĦ We have a hundred million Johnnies and Lisas.âÄù

As old fans and the newly initiated continue to faun over the prospect of cracking the dramatic code behind âÄúThe Room,âÄù it still begs the question of how Wiseau has internalized both fandom and panning of his pet project.

âÄúPeople say this is the worst movie ever,âÄù Wiseau said, âÄúTo say that, I think itâÄôs complementary indirect. It doesnâÄôt affect me.âÄù

Wiseau, with his long, weird locks of black and a physique of indiscernible age, is clearly detached from reality on some level. His persona has only grown more enigmatic as his cultâÄôs population increases. It is kind of understandable. Even if it does stem from the mildest of insanity, Wiseau will create what he wants to create. And there is something brave in that.