The Room (2003) Poster



In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, script supervisor Sandy Schklair claimed that it was he who actually handled the direction of the film. According to Schklair, Tommy Wiseau was too busy with his acting duties leaving Schklair to do the directing. Schklair's claim was corroborated in the article by a cast member who remained anonymous. Greg Sestero partially corroborates Schklair's version of events, describing him taking charge of numerous sequences in which Wiseau found himself unable to remember lines properly or adequately interact with the rest of the cast; Sestero further questioned Schklair's desire to receive a directorial credit, equating it with bragging about "[working] on the Hindenburg". Wiseau said of Schklair's assertion, "Well, this is so laughable that... you know what? I don't know, probably only in America it can happen, this kind of stuff."
Greg Sestero stated in his book The Disaster Artist that Tommy Wiseau took 32 takes to say the lines "It's not true! I did not hit her! It's bullshit! I did not. Oh, hi, Mark!" Wiseau sometimes needed cue cards to help him with his lines.
According to Juliette Danielle, when Tommy Wiseau said the line "In a few minutes, bitch," everyone on the set began laughing at him. Wiseau came out of the bathroom and demanded to know what was so funny.
According to Greg Sestero, Tommy Wiseau submitted the film to Paramount, hoping to get them as the distributor. Usually, it takes about two weeks to get a reply. The film was rejected within twenty-four hours.
Entire scenes were out of focus because nobody bothered to check the lens.
Shot simultaneously on 35 mm film and high-definition video. Tommy Wiseau was confused about the differences between the formats, so he used both cameras on the same mount. He also purchased the cameras, instead of renting them as film productions usually do.
Drew Caffrey, who is credited as an executive producer and casting agent, died in 1999, three years before production began.
According to Greg Sestero's book, Tommy Wiseau insisted on having his bare bottom filmed. "I have to show my ass or this movie won't sell" was Wiseau's reasoning.
A billboard for the film was erected on Highland Avenue in Los Angeles, where it stayed for five years. Later, the same billboard was used to promote the book The Disaster Artist, written by co-star Greg Sestero about the film's making.
Mark (Greg Sestero) is named after Matt Damon. According to Sestero, Tommy Wiseau misheard the actor's name despite his obsession with the actor.
Tommy Wiseau claims to have financed the film by importing and selling leather jackets from Korea. He refuses to further elaborate on this. But according to Greg Sestero's book "The Disaster Artist", he said Tommy financed the film from working in real estate and entrepreneurship.
After a very limited theatrical run, the film has become popular as a "midnight movie," with a cult following. Audience members dress up as the characters, throw plastic spoons at the screen, and toss footballs to each other. Tommy Wiseau attends many screenings, and holds Q&A sessions with the audience.
Filming took over six months. In that time, two cinematographers (along with their crews) resigned and three actors left, being either recast or replaced with a completely different character.
The phrase "Oh, hi" is spoken nine times, and "Oh, hey" seven times.
The film's editor tried to convince Tommy Wiseau to cut the shot of his naked ass from the movie, on the grounds that the sight of it scared his wife.
Post release Tommy Wiseau has claimed that this film was always meant to be a comedy full of so-bad-it's-good elements. The rest of the cast has cast doubt on this theory however.
According to Greg Sestero, Tommy Wiseau intended for the film to contain a subplot in which Johnny was revealed to be a vampire, due to Wiseau's own fascination with the creatures. Sestero recounts how, at the outset of production, Wiseau tasked members of the crew with figuring out a way to execute a sequence in which Johnny's Mercedes Benz would lift off from the roof of the townhouse and fly across the San Francisco skyline, revealing Johnny's vampiric nature. Wiseau eventually decided to drop the subplot after learning that there was no practical way to film the flying car scene on the production's budget.
Nothing between the second sex scene and the birthday party has any actual effect on the plot.
Unlike most movies, where the sets are generally closed while filming nude sequences, Tommy Wiseau insisted that the set be open while filming the long love scene between Lisa and Johnny.
After filming the first love scene, Tommy Wiseau decided to write in a second love scene, but the actress playing Lisa was uncomfortable. As a compromise, the second love scene between Johnny and Lisa was created from unused shots from the first love scene (which is why the candles are already lit when they arrive).
According to Tommy Wiseau, Lisa's mother makes a full recovery from her breast cancer.
There are seven mentions of Johnny and Mark being best friends. Often at screenings of the film, attendees loudly count these mentions.
The reason why Peter seemed dazed and was touching things in one scene was because the actor had suffered a concussion and Tommy Wiseau wouldn't let him leave for treatment.
Tommy Wiseau was adamant about only using English in the movie. While shooting the 'Mark and Johnny play catch' scene Greg Sestero said 'catch this' in French and Tommy lost his cool and tackled him saying 'No French dammit!'.
The woman in the flower shop was not an actress but the woman who actually worked there. According to Greg Sestero, Tommy Wiseau, upon seeing the dog, asked if it was "the real thing". Tommy wanted to know if it was a real, living, actual dog.
Cartoon Network's block Adult Swim aired a somewhat censored version of the film every April Fools' Day from 2009 to 2011.
Much of the furniture and decor for the living room set was a complete display room taken from the window of a thrift shop. The glass-top television table supported by white pillars belonged to Tommy Wiseau. When the cinematographer complained that the set was too sparsely furnished, Wiseau sent the art department out to buy new items. They returned with framed pictures of plastic spoons, which Wiseau, impatient to continue filming, ordered hung up. Plastic spoons have become a staple of midnight screenings of the film, often being thrown at the screen upon the occurrence of a spoon shot. There are thirty-four spoon shots.
The original script was significantly longer than the one used during filming, and featured a series of lengthy monologues; it was edited on-set by the cast and script supervisor, who found much of the dialogue incomprehensible. Speaking to Entertainment Weekly, one anonymous cast member claimed that the script contained "stuff that was just unsayable. I know it's hard to imagine there was stuff that was worse. But there was".
According to Tommy Wiseau, Denny has some sort of mental disorder, which explains his behaviour in the film. Philip Haldiman was not told about this.
Most of the crew were convinced the film would never be seen by anyone.
Philip Haldiman, who was one of the oldest members of the cast, played the youngest character, Denny.
The phrases "future wife" and "future husband" are spoken three times and once, respectively, but neither "fiancée" nor "fiancé" are said.
Kyle Vogt had to leave before all his scenes were shot because of a prior acting commitment. He told Tommy Wiseau about it months prior, and Wiseau assured him filming would be wrapped by that time. That explains why his character, Peter, is not at the party at the end. Peter's lines were given to Steven (Greg Ellery), a completely new character who unexpectedly shows up at Johnny's birthday party. One of Peter's last lines is "That's it; I'm done."
Tommy Wiseau esoterically addressed several fan questions in a special Q&A feature filmed for the DVD release. Among these are "Why is it called 'The Room'?" (to which Wiseau replies that the title is meant to evoke a safe place for viewers) and "Why is everyone playing football in tuxedos and standing only three feet apart?" (which Wiseau doesn't answer except to say that football is fun and that playing it without protective gear is a challenge).
Many of the crew members had to conceal their laughter about what they were witnessing. Even the cameraman began to laugh so hard the camera would shake during takes. The first DP even had his own tent where he would laugh out of sight, while ostensibly watching the footage.
The famous "Oh hi doggy" line was improvised on the spot when Tommy Wiseau noticed the tiny pug dog sitting on the counter of the flower shop he was filming the scene in. Nobody else in the crew noticed the dog, as it sat perfectly still on the counter (probably because, according to the flower shop lady, the dog was really old). He took a liking to "doggy", fascinated by its quietness and cuteness.
Greg Sestero stated in his book The Disaster Artist that Tommy Wiseau took his movie so seriously during production, that he told Sestero that the lines he wrote were so amazing that they wouldn't be able to put people to sleep. Ironically, Sestero found some truth in that.
Tommy Wiseau insisted on the entire cast being present during the filming of every scene, in case he suddenly felt like throwing them into the background.
As of 2015, James Franco is currently working to develop Greg Sestero's book "The Disaster Artist" into a film.
Tommy Wiseau actually made Juliette Danielle cry when he tactlessly pointed out that she had pimples and everyone heard it.
Juliette Danielle was shocked by the lengthy sex scenes during a screening; she thought they were going to last a couple of seconds. In fact, Tommy Wiseau was so pleased with the sex scene footage that he wanted all of it in the film, before being talked out of it by the editor. The first sex scene between Johnny and Lisa was nearly six minutes before being cut in half.
Despite Mark and Johnny's friendship being an integral part of the story they do not talk with each other until 38 minutes into the movie.
The film employed 400 people.
The film contains just over 10 minutes of sex scenes.
Although the rooftop scenes were shot with green screen, an actual rooftop was available but never used during filming.
On the first day of filming, Tommy Wiseau and Greg Sestero showed up to the set several hours late. (Greg arrived to pick up Tommy on time, but Tommy has a very different biological clock). Tommy's first act was to bark orders at the production crew, saying they were too slow and being unprofessional. Again, this was the first day.
This movie is often referred to as the "Citizen Kane of Bad Movies".
While filming the fight between Johnny and Mark, Tommy Wiseau really was hurting Greg Sestero. By the end of it, the latter had bruises all over his arms and wrists from the former's hands, which have apparent "cyborg-like strength".
A lot of the film's dialogue was dubbed in, which is why there are many out-of-sync scenes, particularly those involving Johnny. Tommy Wiseau was said to be unable to memorize lines, necessitating the use of cue cards, and the sound crew was reportedly plagued with difficulties.
Greg Sestero, who played Mark, wrote a critically acclaimed book about his friendship with Tommy Wiseau and his experiences making the film entitled "The Disaster Artist." The book was published in 2013, the 10th anniversary of the film's premiere.
While writing one scene with Lisa and her mother, Tommy Wiseau had Lisa talking on the phone with Claudette, and it ended with Lisa walking her mother to the door because he forgot they were on the phone.
When Greg Sestero had to call Dan Janjigian to tell him that they were going to reshoot his scenes, Dan's response upon picking up the phone was "Did Tommy blow up the studio yet?"
The film was promoted almost exclusively through a single billboard in Hollywood, located on Highland Avenue just north of Fountain, featuring an image Tommy Wiseau refers to as "Evil Man": an extreme close-up of his own face with one eye in mid-blink. Although more conventional artwork was created for the film, featuring the main characters' faces emblazoned over the Golden Gate Bridge, Wiseau chose the "Evil Man" for what he regarded as its provocative quality; around the time of the film's release, the image led many passers-by to believe that The Room was a horror film. Despite the film's failure to enjoy immediate success, Wiseau paid to keep the billboard up for over five years, at the cost of $5,000 a month. Its bizarre imagery and longevity led to it becoming a minor tourist attraction. When asked how he managed to afford to keep the billboard up for so long in such a prominent location, Wiseau responded: "Well, we like the location, and we like the billboard. So we feel that people should see The Room (2003). [...] we are selling DVDs, which are selling okay."
Dan Janjigian stayed in character during his entire time on set, resulting in the other actors being genuinely scared of him.
Tommy Wiseau actually annoyed Dan Janjigian between takes. His onscreen anger is genuine.
Greg Sestero's venomous delivery of "Keep your stupid comments in your pocket" is due to him channelling all the frustrations of the shoot, and imagining he was actually saying to Tommy Wiseau "Why are you doing this to me?"
Though it's been claimed that Johnny's phone recorder setup couldn't work in real life, Greg Sestero reveals that Tommy Wiseau actually uses that same recorder to tape every phone conversation he has.
Tommy Wiseau once yelled at a crew member for farting on set.
There are eight instances of the phrase "Don't worry about it", plus one "Don't worry about that", one "Don't worry about me", two "Don't worry about Johnny"s, one "Don't worry about those fuckers", and two plain old "Don't worry"s.
Carolyn Minnott had always wanted to act and this was one of the only parts she could get. As such, she gave it everything she had, even nailing a scene right after being hospitalized for heat stroke.
In his book "The Disaster Artist," Greg Sestero describes being originally hired as a line producer (despite having no knowledge of what that entailed, let alone experience). However, Tommy Wiseau always intended Sestero to play Mark, and since the role was already cast, he devised a scheme to force out the original actor. Sestero originally refused the role because the love scenes made him uncomfortable. Wiseau compromised by allowing him to wear jeans.
Michael Rousselet and Scott Gairdner started the cult movement in 2003 upon seeing the first initial run of The Room in theaters. Mesmerized and obsessed, they brought a hundred friends to the final four screenings during the last three days of The Room's theatrical run. They ran amock in the theater bringing props such as spoons, football, and roses as a sort of "viking funeral" believing the film would never be seen again.
Tommy Wiseau picked the outfit that Johnny wears in the infamous "I Did Not Hit Her!" rooftop scene himself while the costume designer was out running an errand and refused to change it.
During the alley scene, the "windows" on the wall behind the characters are clearly seen to be made of paper, as they are slightly rippled.
Originally, Chris-R was going to be played by Scott Holmes, who already played Mike, wearing a hat and glasses. Holmes convinced Tommy Wiseau to give the role to his roommate, Dan Janjigian, whose performance so impressed Wiseau that he thought about writing more scenes for Chris-R, but never did.
After his scene had been reshot, Dan Janjigian's boots got scuffed and he had to replace them. Tommy Wiseau initially refused to replace his $80 boots, even though the scene they just filmed cost a thousand times as much.
During the filming of the party confrontations and the "trashing the apartment" scenes, Tommy Wiseau had been taking heavy dosages of Nyquil to counter a stuffed nose and sore throat, coupled with a severe lack of sleep. In the movie he looks convincingly drunk or stoned, slurring and barely awake, but the reality was that he was just exhausted.
Greg Sestero maintains that Tommy Wiseau was adamant characters say their lines the way they were written, but that several cast members managed to slip in ad libs that ended up in the final cut of the film.
According to Greg Sestero, Tommy Wiseau was already independently wealthy at the time production began, having amassed a fortune over several years of entrepreneurship and real estate development in and around Los Angeles and San Francisco.
The budget for the film reached $6 million, all of which was spent on production and marketing. Tommy Wiseau has claimed that the reason the film was relatively expensive was because many members of the cast and crew had to be replaced, and each of the cast members had several understudies.
Dan Janjigian was the only actor in the cast with no acting experience. He was a motivational speaker and serial entrepreneur.
Greg Sestero considered leaving the set due how difficult it was. He stayed because he needed the money.
Tommy Wiseau paid for a small television and print campaign in and around Los Angeles, with taglines calling The Room "a film with the passion of Tennessee Williams".
Greg Sestero admitted to phoning in his performance.
The script was originally written as a play, then a novel.
The original script the rooftop scene with ChrisR features Tommy as a vampire in a car hovering over the rooftop.
Greg Ellery has claimed that Juliette Danielle was just "off the bus from Texas" when shooting began, and that on the first day of shooting, "the cast watched in horror" as Tommy Wiseau jumped on Danielle and immediately began filming their "love scene". Greg Sestero has disputed this chronology, stating that the sex scenes were among the last to be filmed.
The famous "hospital on Guerrero Street" was thrown in by Greg Sestero because that was where Tommy Wiseau's San Francisco apartment was. Even though no one who saw the film would ever get the reference, Tommy was furious (yet kept the take since it was the best one they had).
When asked in the DVD director's interview why there are so many scenes of characters playing catch with a football, Tommy Wiseau simply responded that football is fun.
When Kyle Vogt tried to bring up that legally, Greg Sestero could not be filmed until they signed a contract, Tommy Wiseau replied "I hire you as actor, smart guy! Act!"
Tommy Wiseau has recorded behind-the-scenes in both video and audio format, with the latter being used by the tape recorder seen in the film.
Juliette Danielle was originally cast as Michelle. When the original actress cast as Lisa was fired, Danielle offered to take over the role and won it after several other actresses auditioned.
The costume designer was working with a limited budget and was forced to go to thrift shops.
A common belief is that Lisa and Johnny are drinking "scotchka", but according to the script it is in fact cognac and vodka.
According to Greg Sestero, the character of Lisa is based on a woman to whom Tommy Wiseau once proposed with a $1,500 diamond engagement ring, but who "betrayed [him] several times", resulting in the breakup of their relationship. Sestero further postulates that Wiseau based Lisa's explicit conniving on the character Tom Ripley, after Wiseau had a profound emotional reaction to The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999).
According to Juliette Danielle, the original actress cast to play Lisa was closer in age to Tommy Wiseau and had an accent Danielle described as "random"; per Greg Sestero, the actress was "Latina" and came from an unidentified South American country.
The furniture in the film was purchased from a thrift store display window and Tommy Wiseau insisted to keep it exactly as it was, which is why the living room does not look like it would be inhabited. Sandy Schklair offered his own house to use for the living room set, but Tommy refused as he "didn't want Sandy seizing control of the film."
Tommy Wiseau frequently forgot his own lines or missed cues, requiring numerous retakes and on-set direction from the script supervisor; as a result, much of his dialogue had to be re-dubbed in post production.
The movie has only showed in very few countries and all of them in direct-to-video. According with a Spaniard distributor, Tommy Wiseau has a very tight control over the distribution of the film, making the international distribution of the film really hard. As a side-effect, the film has not been dubbed yet, even in countries when dubbing is mandatory by law.
Tommy Wiseau had the alley set rebuilt so he could film the football/Mike falling down scene. This move took two days and cost thousands. He also wanted to rebuild the rooftoop set for the "We're expecting!" subplot.
While filming establishing shots in a high-end residential area of San Francisco, Tommy Wiseau got into an argument with a police officer, who asks to see their filming permit (which Tommy insisted they wouldn't need). After a few minutes, the crew immediately start packing everything with a lens or a cable and fled.
Two cinematographers quit the film early in filming. The first, Rafael Smadja left after only three days, accusing Tommy Wiseau of being unprofessional and impossible to work with. His replacement, Graham Futerfas quit when Wiseau refused to pay the still photographer after trying to cancel her call time at 3 in the morning, and also because Wiseau wanted to get rid of the generator that was powering the set, even though they were still shooting in there.
Lisa says, "I don't wanna talk about it" five times: twice to Claudette, once to Johnny, once to Michelle and Steven collectively, and once to Michelle only.
Todd Barron was the film's third director of photography. He was a cameraman who was one of the few people who didn't walk out with the second director. He just asked for the job, and got it.
Lisa was originally named Blondie.
Some people had multiple jobs on the film; for example, in addition to playing the role of Mark, Greg Sestero also worked as a line producer, assistant to Tommy Wiseau, and helped with casting.
Tommy Wiseau has expressed plans in adapting the movie into a Broadway musical.
Tommy Wiseau claimed that while casting the film, he selected his group of actors from amongst "thousands" of head shots, yet nearly the entire cast had never before been in a full-length film. For example, this was the first film in which Carolyn Minnott had ever appeared.
Principal photography lasted six months.
A stage play based on the movie's original script was performed on June 2011. Tommy Wiseau and Greg Sestero both reprized their parts.
Juliette Danielle claims that she had originally been cast as Michelle, but was given the role of Lisa when the original actress was dismissed from the production because her "personality...didn't seem to fit" the character. Danielle further corroborates that multiple actors were dismissed from the production prior to filming, including another actress hired to play Michelle.
Alex Rynders, a famous movie reviewer, has once quoted, "The Room (2003) is something everyone should watch at least once; it's a great family movie."
In the famous flower shop scene, the line "Oh, hi doggy" wasn't scripted.
Despite being the main character, Johnny (Tommy Wiseau), has less than forty minutes of screen time.
It was mainly shot on a Los Angeles soundstage, but some second unit shooting was done in San Francisco. The film's many rooftop sequences were shot on the soundstage, with exteriors of San Francisco later greenscreened in.
The vodka used in the film is Sobieski Vodka from Poland. The amber liquid, although not identified in the film, is believed to be Scotch by many fans.
According to "The Disaster Artist," Greg Sestero broke up with his girlfriend just before second unit filming began for outdoor scenes in San Francisco. Tommy Wiseau, to Sestero's horror, decided to use this as inspiration and wrote a few new scenes between Johnny and Mark to film in SF, such as the talk in the coffee shop and the football game in the park.
Other actors were originally cast as Michelle and Mark, but either quit or were fired. Their scenes were re-shot.
Among the numerous differences between the film and the stage-play script on which it was based is the treatment of Denny's character. In the play, he is named "Billy", and is described as Lisa's homosexual younger brother who is romantically interested in Johnny.
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Despite the significant amount of dialogue regarding Johnny and Lisa's forthcoming wedding, no character ever uses the words "fiancé" or "fiancée", only referring to Johnny as Lisa's "future husband" or Lisa as Johnny's "future wife".

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