After years on the midnight circuit, The Room is back in the spotlight - and we had the chance to interview stars Tommy Wiseau and Greg Sestero - who reflect on their time making the best-worst movie in Hollywood history along with the recent adaption of Sestero's book, The Disaster Artist, starring James Franco. Any Screen Rant reader, and Screen Rant Underground listener, will recall that our team is packed with spoon-throwing Room enthusiasts - making the film's recent jump to the mainstream especially fun to cover.
That said, despite the recent explosion of Room awareness among non-cinephiles, it's safe to say that the film's writer/director/star and his acting partner-turned-friend haven't been changed by the increased attention (not to mention a Golden Globes acting win for Franco or an Academy Award adapted screenplay nomination for the film's writers); instead, they're still the same guys who dreamed of making a name for themselves in Hollywood - on their own terms. In the end, The Room might not have been received the way the pair had hoped - but the cult-classic film has, for better or worse, allowed Wiseau and Sestero a platform on which they have been able to produce other projects, such as their upcoming project: Best F(r)iends. In our interview, Wiseau and Sestero discuss their original intentions for The Room, its legacy, a possible Room 3D re-release, The Room on Broadway, and which superhero characters they'd like to portray on screen (together).
Screen Rant: I’m curious, what has been most surprising to you guys about this new wave of interest in The Room? I have been attending midnight screenings of The Room for years but it’s cool as a fan of The Room to see a new batch of people coming through.
Greg Sestero: The Room has just been something that has spread for so many years in such an organic way because, it’s just people wanting to share it with their friends and take people to the theater to see it. So what was really exciting, I think, for The Disaster Artist was it told a universal story that was original and that brought people into this phenomenon, through a personal story rather than this film that people go interact with. And I thought it was great because The Room has just gotten so many different audiences over the years that with The Disaster Audience I feel like it brought, perhaps, people that wouldn’t have checked out The Room but now can really enjoy it and really understand it in a different way and I think it rounded out the audience and grew it in a way that I think has been really interesting to watch.
Tommy Wiseau: Yeah, I think that the more people who see The Room, the better. That’s what I can tell you. We've been screening The Room for the past 14 and a half years. The Disaster Artist all of a sudden as well is beneficial, is very beneficial to actually explore with the audience but we’ve been very grounded with the audience the past 14 and a half years. I noticed in the past few years this very positive response from the media, etc - and I like it.
Screen Rant: I know Tommy that you might re-release The Room in 4K and 3D. Do you have any idea when that might happen and if you’re going to include any special features that weren’t included on the original Blu-ray?
Tommy Wiseau: Well, first I want to do The Room on Broadway, that’s to be the first thing. Keep an eye out for that not off-Broadway - on-Broadway. And then my idea is to actually do 3D, but you know, technology has been changed and I’m leaning to maybe reshooting it, with all the imperfections of course, in 3D. Because I do think with that style, it’s cheaper to reshoot it, if you ask me, based on the technology and my resources, than just using what we have. So that’s the plan for The Room and I’m working on other projects as well. I’m still doing Q & A and other projects as well.
Screen Rant: Is there anything, as this was adapted into The Disaster Artist film, that you guys were especially nervous about seeing? Something that you felt was an important moment in the original production that you knew has to be portrayed in a very specific way to be true to what happened.
Tommy Wiseau: Well keep in mind that The Disaster Artist on the Greg Sestero book, The Disaster Artist, so Greg can tell you more than I do, but I think overall the team on The Disaster Artist did a good job. So people will have an opportunity to see behind-the-scenes, I believe it’s to be released March 13th and you have a DVD/Blu-ray combo disc. So you will see what transpired. Just frankly speaking, I think the way that it was presented, I like it because, it’s truthful. Like I said before, the team on The Disaster Artist, they took a risk because it’s a movie about the movie. As you know, people say, “What are you talking about?” And I think it’s very interesting how sincere and how serious they put into practice their ideas. Otherwise it will not work, over past 14 years we've allowed parody on YouTube, which I’m against it, because parody equals stealing. Simple as this. However, I’m for freedom. [SIC] Nothing wrong with people sending out emails saying, “Hey, you know what? I’m only using one minute of your movie.” For those, I say 99% yes. But, as you know, as soon as you grab it or duplicate it from DVD or Blu-ray any footage, I don’t care if from my movie or Paramount Pictures, the same principle – you don’t have the same image, you don’t have the same quality. I speak very openly about it because I want people to understand that you, average person – you, me – we all have ideas. And yes, you can do it. We’ve done it. Greg just completed the movie. James Franco for his excellent job with The Disaster Artist in a very sincere way, where a parody would’ve been very easy to do - as people know about it. But I think some examples there. I’m glad you asked me these questions because I think it’s essential to understand transpired here.
Screen Rant: Was there anything on your experience that influenced how you guys approached Best F(r)iends? Anything that you made a conscious effort to do again or do differently?
Greg Sestero: [Laughs] Yeah, I learned a lot from The Room and this was a very different experience from making The Room. It was just more personal. It was smaller in the sense in the amount of people – it was mainly Tommy and I getting to work together. So, there’s a lot of true story, friendship stuff thrown in there and it was just really refreshing, all these years later, to work on something different. And in a very different setting and just go out and try to make a film that - I’m happy we tried to do something all these years later because I knew there was more to us than just The Room. I thought that this was a good chance to go out and do something different for your fans.
Screen Rant: I know Tommy you’ve expressed interest in playing The Joker for DC [Comics] and we were a little bit curious: if, for some reason, that part isn’t available is there a different villain or a different hero that you would like to take a stab at? And Greg, once Tommy has said which hero or villain he would play, what hero or villain would you want to portray alongside Tommy?
Tommy Wiseau: I would say that I’m ready to play Joker and people will have a little taste of that soon, but you know what, I’m ready for anything. I personally think that I’m very strong. I can play strong person, strong character, caricature or otherwise hero or villain or whatever. At the end of the day, if the producer says he has a part for me, let me know. [LAUGHS] I’m ready for whatever you have from any kind of role, if you guys want to put something together, I’m ready to do it.
So Greg, he’s sticking with Joker.
Greg Sestero: Something funny I put in the opening few pages of The Disaster Artist, I said that Tommy and I were more like Marvel Comics nemesis than people who could be friends and this was like 6 years ago, so I still stick with the fact that Tommy should play The Joker and I should play Bruce Wayne. Why not? Why not?
For more information about Tommy Wiseau, check out the filmmaker's official website at TommyWiseau.com. To learn about Wiseau and Sestero's new movie Best F(r)iends, or to buy tickets, head to BestFriends.Movie.
The Room is currently available on Blu-ray (and playing as a special engagement in select theaters).
The Disaster Artist arrives on Blu-ray, DVD, and streaming platforms March 13th.
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