Q&A: Director Tommy Wiseau discusses “The Room,” advice for independent filmmakers and underwear line

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Photo Credit: Lex Rojas | Daily Texan Staff

Director and actor Tommy Wiseau created 2003’s “The Room,” which many people claim is one of the best “worst movies” of all time. Online entertainment company RiffTrax, famous for mocking popular films, will broadcast a live “riffing” of “The Room” on May 6 in hundreds of movie theaters. After reading The Daily Texan’s article about The Texas Travesty’s special screening of the film last week, RiffTrax reached out to the Texan and set up a Q&A with Wiseau. 

The Daily Texan: Why did you choose film to express your version of art? 

Tommy Wiseau: I like to direct. I like to share what I have in my head. I always say you need ambition before you do anything. Without a vision, you don’t have anything. When you present it, you have to also take a risk because you don’t know if people embrace your project. As you know, some people call “The Room” ‘this way, that way and whatever,’ but I still feel that it’s my responsibility to present the world as I see it for a better tomorrow.

DT: What, in your view, makes a great movie?

TW: I personally think that when you present something real with emotion, that’s a part of it. But you cannot just use one word. Good movies relate to vision. If you have a vision, that’s one step, but the second step is the rehearsal process and how you present it. It’s a lot of preparation. You have production and performance, then you put everything together. 

DT: Your co-actor Greg Sestero has stated that you have a “fascination with all things America.” Can you elaborate what he means by that? 

TW: I honestly don’t know what Greg Sestero said. I read his book, [“The Disaster Artist”], but it’s [an] exaggeration. I love America because I’m American. I’ve lived in this country for quite a few years. My uncle grew up in New Orleans, and I grew up there as well. You may go to Europe, you may even go to Canada and find that they don’t have as much freedom as we [do]. I think this is the best country in the world.

DT: Do you think that the relationship dynamics presented in “The Room” between men and women have changed since the movie’s been released? 

TW: I don’t think so. I always say about girls that you don’t have to wear jeans to be tough. The ladies have a certain different approach in life. I don’t think this has been changed in decades. You may change environment, but if you look at the relationship between man and woman or friends, it has not changed that much. 

DT: How do you feel about people who enjoy the movie but enjoy it because they perceive it as terrible? 

TW: If you enjoy it and say it’s terrible, that’s your choice. But with the same token, if you know how I created “The Room” and all its obstacles, you may change your mind. I don’t think “The Room” is terrible. 

DT: You stated in previous interviews that you tend to dislike mainstream media and the politics in Hollywood. What advice do you have to filmmakers who will one day encounter the Hollywood system? 

TW: Just ignore media if they write about you. If you believe deeply about what they write, it’s not right for you. Believe in your project, and eventually you’ll have people who will actually respect you and will admire whatever you accomplish. It can be sometimes brutal, and you have to be strong and keep going. 

DT: Why did you choose to establish your own underwear line? 

TW: I decided to design underwear because I didn’t like what I saw in regular retail stores, to be honest. I have all kinds of different underwear. We all wear it, unless you don’t want to wear it. I put [my underwear] in “The Neighbors” [Wiseau’s new sitcom on Hulu] for product placement, but I wanted to see how people would react, and we did get a reaction. People were laughing. 

DT: What are your plans for future projects?

TW: I’m working on a movie about foreclosure. I’d like to produce three or four movies a year, but I think I will produce at least one for sure. I’m also working on a vampire movie, and I’d like to work on that this year, as well.