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Movies & TV

02nd Feb 2016

JOE’s Film Flashback: The Room (2003)

Colm Boohig

JOE’s Spoiler Series… The Room.

Welcome to JOE’s Film Flashback, where we take you behind the scenes of some of the finest motion pictures ever made. This is your *SPOILER ALERT* warning, no more excuses now.

Ready? Then follow us as we find out all there is know about the modern day classic from 2003, The Room.

Film Flashback

Title: The Room

Director: Tommy Wiseau

Irish release date: Tragically, it was only initially released in Los Angeles, on June 27, 2003

Worldwide box office: $9,901,663

Irish certificate rating: Rated R

Tag Line: ‘Once you go in… You never come out.’

Clip via YouTube/OperationDumpTheDuge

Plot’s it all about?

The Room is an unquestionable cult-classic belter and is the sweet, sweet lovechild of Tommy Wiseau – the movie’s writer, director and lead actor.

The plot is somewhat irrelevant. Instead, the movie shines through its truly unforgettable scenes. Roughly speaking though, the picture revolves around a love triangle between Johnny, his missus Lisa and Tommy’s best friend, Mark.

That is all you need to know really, because Tommy Wiseau takes care of the rest.

JOE recently met Lenny Abrahamson, director of the Irish-celebrated and Oscar-nominated Room who, it turns out, regular gets mistaken for being responsible for The Room.

With James Franco’s movie The Disaster Artist, a behind-the-scenes look at Wiseau’s masterpiece, set for release later this year, there is no better time to share a few fun facts that you may or may not know about the best worst movie ever made.

Tommy Wiseau’s background is as captivating as his directorial debut masterpiece

It is impossible to talk about The Room without mentioning its star, because Tommy Wiseau is no ordinary individual.


He is extremely secretive about his past, with nobody actually knowing his true identity, age or place of birth.

Greg Sestero, who plays Mark, actually wrote about the captivating film in the 2013 memoir, The Disaster Artist; the inspiration behind James Franco’s project.


Wiseau claims to have spent a lot of time growing up in France, as well as living in New Orleans. Sestero though, who struck up an unlikely friendship with the mysterious man during filming, reckons that Wiseau was raised in Eastern Europe during the 1950s.

He also has major reservations about how Wiseau claims the movie was financed, because….

The origins of the funding for the film were rather inconclusive

Contrary to visual evidence, The Room was not cheap. In fact, it is estimated to have cost about $6 million. Wiseau was a nobody at the time, so how did he possibly fund this enterprise?

The writer/director/actor claims to have raised the necessary capital by selling leather jackets, imported from Korea. While Wiseau refuses to elaborate on this story, it seems highly unlikely that such a venture would reap such eye-watering profits.


A more sinister rumour is that the budget for The Room was connected to a sophisticated money-laundering scheme for a well organised crime bracket. Yet, to this day, the latter story remains complete hearsay.

Nevertheless, Wiseau’s naivety in the hot seat was clear. He purchased all the camera equipment with his own money (it’s industry-standard to rent) and often failed to tell the difference between high-definition and 35mm video.

Clip via YouTube/86sterjo

In the end, between helming and penning, he was on screen for less than 40 minutes, despite being the lead character.

All was not rosey on set

For starters, Greg Sestero and Juliette Danielle were not first choices to play Mark and Lisa. In fact, Wiseau initially hired Sestero as his line producer – even though Sestero had absolutely no idea what that role entailed.

The director liked the look of the unknown actor to such a degree that he forced out the original lead so that Sestero could take the reigns.

Meanwhile, Danielle was actually supposed to play the character of Michelle, but secured the role of Lisa when the first actress was fired.

The Room Tommy Lisa

Tension was rife throughout the six months of shooting. Danielle was extremely uncomfortable with the quantity and length of the sex scenes which Wiseau insisted upon (totalling about 10 minutes and filmed on an open set).

Additionally, two sets of cinematography crew quit, while a number of actors were either replaced or removed entirely.

Arguably though, the most striking declaration came from Sandy Schklair – the movie’s script supervisor. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Schklair claimed that he actually directed most of the film, as Wiseau was too preoccupied with his acting performance.

giphy (46)

Unsurprisingly, the official director has strenuously denied this assertion.

To put it mildly, the lead actor had some difficulties remembering his lines

In his memoir, Sestero intimates that it took Wiseau a grand total of 32 takes to nail the opening line of this rooftop scene.

Clip via YouTube/trashwire

In fact, Wiseau’s memory of the script was plagued throughout filming.

Often, he would require cue cards to remember his lines, while much of the film’s dialogue was dubbed in by the sound crew at a later stage.

The Room is extremely popular among an array of well-known actors

The Disaster Artist will have a star-studded cast, including; James Franco, Bryan Cranston, Zac Efron, Seth Rogen, Dave Franco, Sharon Stone and Tommy Wiseau himself, plus many more.

If you’ve had the pleasure of seeing the original, then you’ll completely understand this global affection.

Clip via YouTube/Opie Radio

The above clip aptly demonstrates Seth Rogen’s deep love for The Room, as he recalls the first time he watched the cult hit with his pal, Jonah Hill.

Similarly, stars like Paul Rudd, Will Arnett and Alec Baldwin are all known to be big fans of this unique project.

The cult has become a global phenomenon

The popularity of this movie around the world should not be underestimated.

Screenings are aired on a regular basis and audiences are known to get very involved.

Tommy Wiseau

For instance, it is not unusual for the cinema-goers in attendance to dress up as the characters, throw plastic spoons at the screen, play ‘catch’ with footballs or count how many times Johnny mentions that he and Mark are best friends – all in homage to the proceedings.

Wonderfully, Wiseau actually embraces this and is known to attend many of the screenings worldwide.

He is even happy to conduct Q&A sessions with the fans, often answering questions like; “Why do the main characters suddenly start throwing a football around in tuxedos?”


You Dubliners are also in luck though, because there is a screening at 8pm this Thursday at the Odessa Cluband yes, plastic spoons will be provided.

Super Happy Bonus Fun Fact: The woman behind the counter in the flower shop scene was actually a genuine florist who worked in that store

Clip via YouTube/DVDon’t

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