Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Tommy Wiseau interview: Full & Uncorrected

So Tommy Wiseau was in London a few weeks ago to attend the monthly showing of The Room at the Leicester Square Prince Charles Cinema. Although he has made a career out of attending such showings since he made the film in 2004, this is the first time he has done so in the UK. And of course I couldn't miss the opportunity for an interview, and was granted ten minutes to spend with the director.

Without further ado, here's the full transcript. [Please keep in mind that I still know how to write in English and any odd written bits are not typos but transcriptions of the audio. Basically imagine there is a '[sic[' after everything Tommy says.]

MK: How do you like England?

TW: Yeah. Very much, yeah.

Have you been here before?

Yeah, I’ve been here before. Fifteen years ago.

Fifteen years…

Tommy laughs.

It’s very cold.

It wasn’t that cold last week. You should’ve come earlier.

Yeah? So how are you? What’s your name?


Nice to meet you. So let’s start the interview. We have ten minutes, right?


No problem.  You may ask whatever you want, no restriction. But you may not get answer.

That’s fair.

Tommy laughs.

Did you see “The Room”?

Of course. Actually, I did not want to talk as much about “The Room” as I wanted to talk about you.

Whatever you decide.

So you said that “The Room” started out as a book.

Yes, exactly.

So why did you decide that the visual media would the best one to present your ideas?

Well, you know I…in the beginning was that the…Are you recording?


In the beginning was that the…you know I studied film, theatre, whatever. And I said, you know, it would be nice to build a play. That was original idea. But then I discovered by research, you know…I don’t know if you know about America, but we have less people go to the play theatre than the regular theatre.  


So you know what, I said I’m writing a script. Of course it was very difficult because you know you have to pay rent etc etc. it’s different style and the people can only see two weeks. So you know what, no, I have to do the script. So I wrote the script and decided to make a movie.  And that’s the story. Very simple. 

Tommy laughs.

I read that the book was fairly long, around 600 pages.

800. Close to 800.


Yeah. And we going to publish this year or next year.

Just in America or are you planning on publishing it…

No. No. We publish in America we see what happen. Probably spread all over because right now…none of you know. But just for your info or your readers…info, that The Room, we screen all over the World. Here UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealend, Denmark, and is coming other countries as well. So just spread out, people play football, have fun, whatever.  
At L.A. University for example we have many screenings, Berkeley, I don’t know if you’re familiar with Harvard.

There was a screening in Cambridge, that’s where I saw it.

Oh yeah it did actually play in Cambridge, that’s correct. You’re right.

It was one of the most amazing cinema experiences I have ever had.

Yeah, you should write about it. That’s what you should write.  You could interview the fans. Don’t believe what you read online sometimes.  You can contact directly to us, like you do it now, you may ask any question you like. So we are very thrilled. Like here in the UK, you know, they been screening like to and a half years or so. Very successful.  This was the second country in the world to actually screen The Room after America.


Yeah. The Canada was first and then UK.


But going back to what I started earlier, don’t you feel that condensing, since you went from 800 pages to 99…

99 minutes (the length of the film).

…would detract from your…

Well yeah, you see The Room is a little choppy in the sense that I put so many different elements like the drugs and relationship etc. So the condensed of the 99 minutes, that’s the form of the feature movie based on the Hollywood standards.

And don’t you feel it was too little for what you wanted to say?

Well, that’s what I was working with so you have to adjust. You know my background is in stage and acting. So you decide as a producer and director what you want to put in. Yes, it would be ideal, I appreciate your comment. You can do three, four hours but what to costs would be, you know. So we have certain format, you know…in The Film Industry. Of course you could do two hours movie, but the cost would be...


Absolutely.  Plus we use two cameras, HD and 35. Which is in the theatre is 35.

Really. I’ve read you were the first one to use both cameras.

Yes, we were actually the first one in the entire world using both format at the same time also as a standard feature movie.  Big studio, I don’t know if you know, about twelve years ago, they did testing. But they did not put two cameras. That’s in only one theatre, in one film, which is called The Room. [Tommy laughs] And I also write a book about that as well, the difference between HD and 35.


Absolutely. Because you know, you still. I don’t know how it’s in Europe but in America we don’t have the data, like, let’s say you have a book, or some kind format information like that says, ok this is HD, this is 35, what is the difference? The film is the film, ok? We’re very close to the standard, you know, film, you know, depth of film etc. But is not the same. Never will be the same. But the good news is that today industry, film industry, they shooting to save money on the HD Camera, or Direct Camera they call it and transfer to 35, so a beautiful project. Bet then you go back to digital again because you want to screen in some theatres 35mm digital. It’s like go backwards this way and that way.

And what’s going on with Mr. Wiseau right now? I know you’ve pitched a sitcom and you are doing a play based on The Room as well. How is all that going?

Well The Neighbours, they approve. One of the TV networks approved one episode. So we decided shooting starts March this year, fifteen episodes. And we try to put online first before we put on TV, because we cannot work on one episode, it doesn’t make sense.  That’s not enough, you know, for me.

Are you working with the same people I saw in the trailer that you have on your site?

No. Actually will be new people. We are casting new people. Couple of them will be the same, but we are casting new people. But you know, you can send us e-mail. Tell your readers to contact us. I did the show Tommy Wiseau (read We-Sho’) and I noticed a lot of people actually watch online. So that’s why we actually will probably first do online The Neighbours. But the premiere of The Neighbours will actually be in the theatre, believe it or not. All the theatre across the World. You will have a teaser like thirty-five maybe one minute and then we have a half-hour show, with connected to The Room together. That’s the idea that I have in my head right now.

If you don’t mind, could you repeat the correct pronunciation of your name, since I’ve heard several versions.

Wiseau (read Wha’-zo).

Thank you.
The Room turned out quite successful. Since it was made it has been playing continuously around the World, monthly in London for example. Did you expect this success?

No. I’m honest. Well the success in the sense, the idea that I had in the beginning, I make a movie, people see it one time, and I make another movie. We submitted it to the Academy Awards, I don’t know if you knew. Academy Awards?

Yes, I know them.

We submitted it there. Golden Globe Awards as well.  And others. We got a nomination. Not nomination. Sort of. At the New York Festival, Audience Awards. But I did not expect to answer your question. I put a nice billboard, I wanted people to see it. Now it’s different level I guess. People like it.

Do you think that since the movie had such a success, which you didn’t expect, and now you are touring with it, you are loosing time and energy you could have invested into other projects?

Oh my. Let me shake your hand. That is a very good question. My God. You are absolutely correct. But you see, I’m stubborn guy, I don’t want this movie be on the shelf. We have a company, we call shark in America, which like to distribute the movie. They saw the project and say we don’t do this thing and say Tommy if you want next time let us know. And now the same people come to me and say maybe we can do something, but I say no, it’s too late. You see, I already did the groundwork they call it, we distribute ourselves, or a subcontractor, whatever, we are comfortable where we are now. But yeah, to respond to your question again, because I’m touring, because people want to see with me, want to have fun, whatever, I like that. But it take a lot of time, but I like it, because we are promoting more. People are aware. You know in London we have ten shows sold out, it’s a real thrill, it’s really cool. I love it. I like to travel. Absolutely. We actually go to Chicago after that. And I’m fully booked till December. If you go the website you can see all the schedule. I just come back from Portland, Oakland University and San Diego University. You know San Diego University?


And from Canada. We have a groovie screening in Canada. And we did The Room at Washington DC AFI on stage, live on stage.

Thanks. And good luck tonight.

And before you leave, the line you will never forget:

Check out this online review by The Nostalgia Critic for a better picture:

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