Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Tommy Wiseau|
|Produced by||Tommy Wiseau|
|Written by||Tommy Wiseau|
|Music by||Mladen Milicevic|
|Edited by||Eric Chase|
|Box office||$1,800 (initial)|
The Room is a 2003 American romantic drama film written, produced, and directed by Tommy Wiseau, who stars in the film alongside Juliette Danielle and Greg Sestero. The film centers on a melodramatic love triangle between amiable banker Johnny (Wiseau), his deceptive fiancée Lisa (Danielle), and his conflicted best friend Mark (Sestero). A significant portion of the film is dedicated to a series of unrelated subplots, most of which involve at least one supporting character and are left unresolved due to the film's inconsistent narrative structure. The work was reportedly intended to be semi-autobiographical in nature; according to Wiseau, the title alludes to the potential of a room to be the site of both good and bad events. The stage play from which the film is derived was so-called due to its events taking place entirely in a single room.
A number of publications have labeled The Room as one of the worst films ever made. An assistant professor of film studies was the first to describe The Room as "the Citizen Kane of bad movies." Originally shown only in a limited number of California theaters, The Room quickly became a cult film due to its bizarre and unconventional storytelling, technical and narrative flaws, and Wiseau's off-kilter performance. Although Wiseau has retrospectively described the film as a black comedy, audiences have generally viewed it as a poorly made drama, an opinion shared by some of the cast.
The Disaster Artist, Sestero's memoir of the making of The Room, was co-written with Tom Bissell and published in 2013. A film of the same title based on the book, directed by and starring James Franco, was released on December 1, 2017; the book and film received widespread acclaim and numerous award nominations. The Room also inspired an unofficial video game adaptation, The Room Tribute, released on Newgrounds in 2010.
Johnny is a successful banker who lives in a San Francisco townhouse with his fiancée Lisa, who has become dissatisfied with their relationship. She seduces his best friend, Mark, and the two begin a secret affair. Meanwhile, Johnny, having overheard Lisa confess her infidelity to her mother, Claudette, attaches a tape recorder to their phone in an attempt to identify her lover.
Denny, a neighboring college student Johnny financially and emotionally supports, has a run-in with an armed drug dealer, Chris-R, but Johnny and Mark overpower and detain him. Denny also lusts after Lisa, and confesses this to Johnny, who understands and encourages him to instead pursue one of his classmates. Johnny spirals into a mental haze and calls upon Peter – his and Mark's friend and a psychologist – for help. Mark also confides in Peter that he feels guilty about his affair. When Peter asks Mark if the affair is with Lisa, Mark attacks Peter and attempts to kill him, but they quickly reconcile.
At a surprise birthday party for Johnny, his friend Steven catches Lisa kissing Mark while the other guests are outside and confronts them about the affair. Johnny announces that he and Lisa are expecting a child, although Lisa later reveals she lied about it in order to cover up the truth about the affair. At the end of the evening, Lisa flaunts her affair in front of Johnny, who physically and verbally attacks Mark.
After the party, Johnny locks himself in the bathroom in despair. When he leaves, he retrieves the cassette recorder that he attached to the phone and listens to an intimate call between Lisa and Mark. Outraged, Johnny berates Lisa for betraying him, prompting her to end their relationship permanently and live with Mark. Johnny then has an emotional breakdown, angrily destroying his apartment and committing suicide by shooting himself in the mouth.
Hearing the commotion, Denny, Mark, and Lisa rush up the stairs to find his dead body. Mark blames Lisa for Johnny's death, admonishes her for her deceitful behavior, and tells her to get out of his life. Denny tells Lisa and Mark to leave him with Johnny, and they step back to give him a moment, but ultimately they all stay and comfort each other as the police arrive.
- Tommy Wiseau as Johnny, a successful banker who is engaged to Lisa.
- Juliette Danielle as Lisa, Johnny's fiancée, who engages in an affair with Mark.
- Greg Sestero as Mark, Johnny's best friend, who is having an affair with Lisa.
- Philip Haldiman as Denny, a young college student who is financially and emotionally supported by Johnny.
- Carolyn Minnott as Claudette, Lisa's mother.
- Robyn Paris as Michelle, Lisa's best friend and personal advisor.
- Scott Holmes as Mike, Michelle's boyfriend.
- Dan Janjigian as Chris-R, a drug dealer who threatens Denny.
- Kyle Vogt as Peter, a psychologist and friend of Mark and Johnny
- Greg Ellery as Steven, a friend of Johnny and Lisa
Tommy Wiseau originally wrote The Room as a play in 2001. He then adapted the play into a 500-page book, which he was unable to get published. Frustrated, Wiseau decided to adapt the work into a film, producing it himself to maintain creative control.
Wiseau has been secretive about how he obtained funding for the project, but told Entertainment Weekly that he made some of the money by importing leather jackets from Korea. According to The Disaster Artist (Greg Sestero's book based on the making of The Room), Wiseau was already independently wealthy at the time production began. Over several years, he had amassed a fortune through entrepreneurship and real estate development in Los Angeles and San Francisco. Wiseau spent the entire US$6,000,000 (equivalent to about $8,300,000 in 2019) budget for The Room on production and marketing. Wiseau stated that the film was relatively expensive because many members of the cast and crew had to be replaced. According to Sestero, Wiseau made numerous poor decisions during filming that unnecessarily inflated the film's budget—Wiseau built sets for sequences that could have been filmed on location, purchased unnecessary equipment, and filmed scenes multiple times using different sets. Wiseau also forgot his lines and place on camera, resulting in minutes-long dialogue sequences taking hours or days to shoot. Wiseau's actions further caused the film's cost to skyrocket, according to Sestero.
According to Sestero and Greg Ellery, Wiseau rented a studio at the Birns & Sawyer film lot and bought a "complete Beginning Director package", which included two film and HD cameras. Wiseau was confused about the differences between 35mm film and high-definition video. He wanted to be the first director to film an entire movie simultaneously in two formats. He achieved this by using a custom-built apparatus that housed both cameras side by side and required two crews to operate. Only the 35 mm footage was used in the final edit.
Wiseau selected actors from thousands of head shots, although most of the cast had never been in a full-length film. Sestero had limited film experience, and only agreed to work as part of the production crew as a favor for Wiseau, with whom he had been friends for some time before production began. Sestero then agreed to play the Mark character after Wiseau fired the original actor on the first day of filming. Sestero was uncomfortable filming his sex scenes, and was allowed to keep his jeans on while shooting them.
According to Greg Ellery, Juliette Danielle had "just gotten off the bus from Texas" when shooting began, and "the cast watched in horror" as Wiseau jumped on Danielle, immediately beginning to film their "love scene." Sestero disputed this, stating that the sex scenes were among the last filmed. Wiseau said that Danielle was originally one of three or four understudies for the Lisa character, and was selected after the original actress left the production. According to Sestero, the original actress was "Latina" and came from an unidentified South American country; per Danielle, the actress was closer to Wiseau's age with a "random" accent. Danielle had been cast as Michelle, but was given the Lisa role when the original actress was dismissed because her "personality...didn't seem to fit" the character. Danielle corroborates that multiple actors were dismissed from the production prior to filming, including another actress hired to play Michelle.
Even though Kyle Vogt (who played Peter) told the production team that he only had a limited amount of time for the project, not all of his scenes were filmed by the time his schedule ran out. Despite the fact that Peter was to play a pivotal role in the climax, Vogt left the production; his lines in the last half of the film were given to Ellery, whose character is never introduced, explained, or addressed by name.
The original script was significantly longer than the one used 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. An anonymous cast member told Entertainment Weekly 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." Sestero mentions that Wiseau was adamant characters say their lines as written, but that several cast members slipped in ad libs that made the final cut.
Much of the dialogue is repetitive, especially Johnny's. His speech contains several catchphrases: he begins almost every conversation with "Oh, hi!" or "Oh, hi (name of character)!" To dismissively end conversations, many characters use the phrase "Don't worry about it", and almost every male character discusses Lisa's physical attractiveness (including an unnamed character whose only line is "Lisa looks hot tonight"). Lisa often stops discussions about Johnny by saying "I don't want to talk about it." Despite the significant amount of dialogue regarding Johnny and Lisa's forthcoming wedding, characters only use the words "future husband" or "future wife" rather than "fiancé" or "fiancée."
In The Disaster Artist, Sestero recalls that Wiseau planned a subplot in which Johnny was revealed to be a vampire because of Wiseau's fascination with the creatures. Sestero recounts how Wiseau tasked the crew with devising a way for Johnny's Mercedes-Benz to fly across the San Francisco skyline, revealing Johnny's vampiric nature.
Principal photography lasted four months. Shooting mainly took place on the Birns & Sawyer soundstage in Los Angeles, with some second unit shooting in San Francisco, California. The many rooftop sequences were shot on the soundstage, and exteriors of San Francisco were greenscreened in. A behind-the-scenes feature shows that some of the roof scenes were shot in August 2002. The film employed over 400 people, and Wiseau is credited as an actor, writer, producer, director, and executive producer. Other executive producer credits include Chloe Lietzke and Drew Caffrey. According to Sestero, Lietzke was Wiseau's ESL tutor and had no involvement in the film, and Caffrey, who had been an entrepreneurial mentor to Wiseau, died in 1999. Wiseau had several problems with his behind-the-camera team, and claims to have replaced the entire crew four times. He also assigned multiple (and often disparate) responsibilities to several crew members, a process Sestero described as "sandwich[ing] two roles into one" that frequently resulted in shooting delays: aside from playing the role of Mark, Sestero worked as the film's line producer, helped with casting, and assisted Wiseau; script supervisor Sandy Schklair also served as a de facto first assistant director, and Birns & Sawyer sales representative Peter Anway acted as another assistant to Wiseau. Wiseau frequently forgot his lines or missed cues, and required numerous retakes and direction from Schklair and a stagehand named Byron; much of his dialogue had to be dubbed in post-production.
|Soundtrack album by|
|Genre||Film score, R&B|
The score was written by Mladen Milicevic, a music professor at Loyola Marymount University. Milicevic later provided the score for Wiseau's 2004 documentary Homeless in America and Room Full of Spoons, a 2016 documentary on The Room.
The soundtrack features four R&B slow jams which play during four of the film's five love scenes; Michelle and Mike's oral sex scene uses only instrumental music. The songs are "I Will" by Jarah Gibson, "Crazy" by Clint Gamboa, "Baby You and Me" by Gamboa with Bell Johnson, and "You're My Rose" by Kitra Williams & Reflection. "You're My Rose" is also reprised during the end credits. The soundtrack was released by Wiseau's TPW Records in 2003.
All music is composed by Mladen Milicevic, except where noted.
Directorial credit dispute
In a February 11, 2011 Entertainment Weekly article, Schklair announced that he desired credit for directing The Room. Schklair told EW that Wiseau became too engrossed with his acting duties to direct the film properly and asked him to "tell the actors what to do, and yell 'Action' and 'Cut' and tell the cameraman what shots to get." The script supervisor also said that Wiseau asked Schklair to "direct [his] movie", but refused to give up the "director" title. The story is corroborated by one of the film's actors (who requested anonymity) and by Sestero in The Disaster Artist. Sestero describes Schklair taking charge of numerous sequences in which Wiseau found himself unable to remember lines or adequately interact with the rest of the cast, but jokes that claiming directorial credit was like "claiming to have been the Hindenburg's principal aeronautics engineer", and also notes that Schklair left production before the end of principal photography in favor of the short film Jumbo Girl due to that project being shot by Janusz Kamiński. Wiseau has dismissed Schklair's comments, saying, "Well, this is so laughable that...you know what? I don't know, probably only in America it can happen, this kind of stuff"; he similarly implied that Schklair's abandoning of the film during filming was justification for not receiving such a credit.
Interpretations, themes and influences
I had a sobering, sad, and powerful realization: our friendship was the most human experience Tommy had had in the last few years. Maybe ever. The happy news was that whatever Tommy had been running from, he'd managed to turn and face it down in his script. Instead of killing himself, he wrote himself out of danger. He did this by making his character [Johnny] the one spotless human being amid chaos, lies and infidelity.
– Sestero on his initial reaction to The Room's script
The Room is considered to be semi-autobiographical as it draws on specific incidents from Wiseau's own life, such as the details of how Johnny came to San Francisco and met Lisa, and the nature of Johnny and Mark's friendship. According to Sestero, the character of Lisa is based on a former lover of Wiseau's to whom he intended to propose marriage with a US$1,500 diamond engagement ring, but because she "betray[ed] him multiple times", their relationship ended in a break-up. Defining the script as "an advisory warning about the perils of having friends", Sestero has described The Room as Wiseau's "life study of human interaction", dealing with additional themes of trust, fear and truth.
Sestero further postulates that Wiseau based Lisa's explicit conniving on the character Tom Ripley, after Wiseau had a profound emotional reaction to the film The Talented Mr. Ripley, and matches elements of its three main characters to those in The Room; Sestero has likewise indicated that the character Mark was named for the Ripley actor Matt Damon, whose first name Wiseau had misheard. Wiseau also drew on the chamber plays of Tennessee Williams, whose highly emotional scenes he enjoyed acting out in drama school – many advertising materials for The Room make explicit parallels to the playwright's work through the tagline "A film with the passion of Tennesee [sic] Williams."
In his direction and performance, Wiseau attempted to emulate Orson Welles, Clint Eastwood, Marlon Brando and James Dean, especially Dean's performance in the film Giant, and went so far as to directly use quotes from their films – the famous line "You are tearing me apart, Lisa!" is derived from a similar line performed by Dean in Rebel Without a Cause.
Inconsistencies and narrative flaws
The script is characterized by numerous inexplicable mood and personality shifts in characters. In analyzing the film's abrupt tone shifts, Sestero highlighted two scenes in particular. In the first scene, Johnny enters the rooftop in the middle of a tirade about being accused of domestic abuse, only to become abruptly cheerful upon seeing Mark; a few moments later, he laughs inappropriately upon learning that a friend of Mark's had been severely beaten. On set, Sestero and script supervisor Sandy Schklair repeatedly tried to convince Wiseau that the line should not be delivered as comical, but Wiseau refused to refrain from laughing. In the second instance, occurring later in the film, Mark attempts to kill Peter by throwing him off a roof after Peter expresses his belief that Mark is having an affair with Lisa; seconds later however, Mark pulls Peter back from the edge of the roof, apologizes, and the two continue their previous conversation with no acknowledgement of what just occurred.
In addition to being rife with continuity errors, the film has several plots, subplots and character details whose inconsistencies have been commented on by critics and audiences. The Portland Mercury has stated that a number of "plot threads are introduced, then instantly abandoned." In an early scene, halfway through a conversation about planning a birthday party for Johnny, Claudette off-handedly tells Lisa: "I got the results of the test back. I definitely have breast cancer." The issue is casually dismissed and never revisited during the rest of the film. Similarly, the audience never learns the details surrounding Denny's drug-related debt to Chris-R, or what led to their violent confrontation on the roof.
Beyond being Johnny's friend, Mark's background receives no exposition; when he is first introduced he claims to be "very busy" while sitting in a parked car in the middle of the day, with no explanation ever given as to his occupation or what he was doing. In The Disaster Artist, Sestero states that he created a backstory for the character in which Mark was an undercover vice detective, which Sestero felt united several otherwise disparate aspects of Mark's character, including the secretive nature of various aspects of his behavior – including marijuana use – his mood swings, and his handling of the Chris-R incident. Wiseau dismissed adding any reference to Mark's past to the script. The makers of The Room video game would later introduce a similar idea as part of a subplot involving Mark's unexplained backstory, much to Sestero's amusement.
At one point, the principal male characters congregate in an alley behind Johnny's apartment to play catch with a football while wearing tuxedos. When Mark arrives, he is revealed to have shaved his beard, and the camera slowly zooms in on his face while dramatic music plays on the soundtrack. Nothing that is said or occurs during the scene has any effect on the plot; the scene ends abruptly when the men decide to return to Johnny's apartment after Peter trips. Wiseau received enough questions about the scene that he decided to address it on a Q&A segment featured on the DVD release; rather than explaining the scene, though, Wiseau only states that playing football without the proper protective equipment is fun and challenging. Sestero has been questioned about the significance of Mark's shaving, though his only response for several years was "if people only knew." He describes in The Disaster Artist that Wiseau insisted he shave his beard on-set just so that Wiseau would have an excuse for Johnny to call Mark "Babyface," Wiseau's own nickname for Sestero, and that the revealing of beardless Mark would be "a moment." Sestero further detailed how the football-in-tuxedos scene was concocted on set by Wiseau, who never explained the significance of the scene to the cast or crew and insisted that the sequence be filmed at the expense of other, relevant scenes.
The film was promoted almost exclusively through a single billboard in Hollywood, located on Highland Avenue just north of Fountain, featuring an image 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. Wiseau also paid for a small television and print campaign in and around Los Angeles, and hired publicist Edward Lozzi in his efforts to promote and self-distribute the film after it was turned down by Paramount Pictures.
Despite the film's failure to enjoy immediate success, Wiseau paid to keep the billboard up for over five years, at the cost of US$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. [...] we are selling DVDs, which are selling okay."
The Room premiered on June 27, 2003 at the Laemmle Fairfax and Fallbrook theaters in Los Angeles. Wiseau additionally arranged a screening for the cast and the press at one of the venues, renting a spotlight to sit in front of the theater and arriving in a limousine. Ticket buyers were given a free copy of the film's soundtrack on CD. Actress Robyn Paris described the audience laughing at the film, and Variety reporter Scott Foundas, who was also in attendance, would later write that the film prompted "most of its viewers to ask for their money back—before even 30 minutes [had] passed." IFC.com described Wiseau's speaking voice in the film as "Borat trying to do an impression of Christopher Walken playing a mental patient." The Guardian described the film as a mix of "Tennessee Williams, Ed Wood, R. Kelly's Trapped in the Closet."
The Room was panned by critics for its poor acting (particularly Wiseau's), screenplay, dialogue, production values, score, direction, and cinematography. The film is described by several publications as one of the worst films ever made. On the review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 25%, based on 28 reviews, with an average rating of 2.74/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "A bona-fide classic of midnight cinema, Tommy Wiseau's misguided masterpiece subverts the rules of filmmaking with a boundless enthusiasm that renders such mundanities as acting, screenwriting, and cinematography utterly irrelevant. You will never see a football the same way again." On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 9 out of 100, based on 5 critics, indicating "overwhelming dislike." Despite the criticism, the film has ironically received acclaim from audiences for its perceived shortcomings, with some viewers calling it the "best worst movie ever."
In 2013, The Atlantic's Adam Rosen wrote an article entitled "Should Gloriously Terrible Movies Like The Room Be Considered 'Outsider Art'?" where he made the argument "The label [of outsider art] has traditionally applied to painters and sculptors... but it's hard to see why it couldn't also refer to Wiseau or any other thwarted, un-self-aware filmmaker."
It is like a movie made by an alien who has never seen a movie, but has had movies thoroughly explained to him. There's not often that a work of film has every creative decision that's made in it on a moment-by-moment basis seemingly be the wrong one. [...] The Room, to me, shatters the distinction between good and bad. Do I think it's a good movie? No. Do I think it's a strong movie that moves me on the level that art usually moves me? Absolutely not. But I can't say it's bad because it's so watchable. It's so fun. It's brought me so much joy. How can something that's bad do those things for me?
The Room played in the Laemmle Fairfax and Fallbrook for the next two weeks, grossing a total of US$1,800 (equivalent to $2,502 in 2019) before it was pulled from circulation. Toward the end of its run, the Laemmle Fallbrook theatre displayed two signs on the inside of the ticket window in relation to the film: one that read "NO REFUNDS" and another citing a blurb from an early review: "This film is like being stabbed in the head." During one showing in the second week of its run, one of the few audience members in attendance was 5-Second Films' Michael Rousselet, who found unintentional humor in the film's poor dialogue and production values. After treating the screening as his "own private Mystery Science Theater", Rousselet began encouraging friends to join him for future showings to mock the film, starting a word-of-mouth campaign that resulted in about 100 attending the film's final screening. Rousselet and his friends saw the film "four times in three days," and it was in these initial screenings that many of The Room traditions were born, such as the throwing of spoons and footballs during the film.
After the film was pulled from theaters, those who had attended the final showing began e-mailing Wiseau telling him how much they had enjoyed the film. Encouraged by the volume of messages he received, Wiseau booked a single midnight screening of The Room in June 2004, which proved successful enough that Wiseau booked a second showing in July, and a third in August. These screenings proved to be even more successful, and were followed by monthly screenings on the last Saturday of the month, which began selling out and continued up until the theatre was sold in 2012. Wiseau frequently made appearances at these screenings, and often engaged with fans afterwards. On the fifth anniversary of the film's premiere, it sold out every screen at the Sunset 5 and both Tommy Wiseau and Greg Sestero did Q&As afterwards. The film was featured on the 2008 Range Life tour, and expanded to midnight screenings in several other cities soon after. Celebrity fans of the film included Paul Rudd, David Cross, Will Arnett, Patton Oswalt, Tim Heidecker, Eric Wareheim, Seth Rogen, and James and Dave Franco. Kristen Bell acquired a film reel and hosted private viewing parties; Veronica Mars creator Rob Thomas would also slip references into episodes of Mars "as much as possible." The film eventually developed a national and international cult status, with Wiseau arranging screenings around the United States and in Canada, Scandinavia, the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand.
The film had regular showings in many theaters worldwide, with many as a monthly event. Fans interact with the film in a similar fashion to The Rocky Horror Picture Show; audience members dress up as their favorite characters, throw plastic spoons in reference to an unexplained framed photo of a spoon on a table in Johnny's living room, toss footballs to each other from short distances, and yell insulting comments about the quality of the film as well as lines from the film itself. Wiseau has claimed that it was his intent for audiences to find humor in the film, although viewers and some of the cast members generally have viewed it as a poorly-made drama.
The DVD's special features include an interview with Wiseau, who is asked questions by an off-screen Greg Sestero. Wiseau sits directly in front of a fireplace, with a mantle cluttered by various props from the film; next to him sits a large framed theatrical poster for the film. A few of Wiseau's answers are dubbed in, although it is evident that the dubbed responses match what he was originally saying. Wiseau fails to answer several of the questions, instead offering non sequiturs.
Among the outtakes included on the Blu-ray is an alternate version of the Chris-R scene, set in a back alley; instead of tossing a football, Denny is playing basketball and attempts to get the drug dealer to "shoot some H-O-R-S-E" with him to distract him from the debt. Another bonus feature on the Blu-ray is a more than half-hour long fly-on-the-wall style documentary about the making of The Room. The documentary includes no narration, very little dialogue, and only one interview (with cast member Carolyn Minnott), and consists largely of clips of the crew preparing to shoot.
In June 2011, it was announced that Sestero had signed a deal with Simon & Schuster to write a book based on his experiences making the film. The book, titled The Disaster Artist, was published in October 2013.
A second memoir, Yes, I Directed The Room: The Truth About Directing the "Citizen Kane of Bad Movies", written by Schklair, was published on December 4, 2017, in which he again asserts his desire to receive credit for directing the film.
A film adaptation of The Disaster Artist was announced in February 2014, produced by Seth Rogen and directed by James Franco. Franco has stated The Disaster Artist was "a combination of Boogie Nights and The Master." The film stars Franco as Wiseau and his brother Dave Franco as Sestero, with the script written by The Fault in Our Stars screenwriters Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber. On October 15, 2015, it was announced Rogen would co-star (playing Sandy Schklair), and cinematographer Brandon Trost served as the DP. On October 29, 2015, it was announced that Warner Bros. and New Line Cinema would distribute The Disaster Artist. Filming began December 7, 2015. A work-in-progress version was screened at South by Southwest in March 2017, with the wide release beginning on December 8, 2017.
A Canadian documentary about the film, titled Room Full of Spoons and directed by Rick Harper, was initially given a brief theatrical release in April 2016. However, the film was pulled from theaters and plans for a wide release in conjunction with the release of The Disaster Artist were hampered when it became the subject of legal proceedings by Wiseau, who claimed copyright infringement and defamation. Ultimately, Wiseau's lawsuit was dismissed in 2020 by Ontario Superior Court of Justice judge Paul Schabas, who ordered Wiseau to pay the filmmakers nearly $1 million CAD in countersuit damages and lost revenue.
In September 2010, Newgrounds owner Tom Fulp released a Flash game tribute, in the form of a 16-bit styled adventure game played entirely from Johnny's point of view. The game's artwork was provided by staff member Jeff "JohnnyUtah" Bandelin, with music transcribed by animator Chris O'Neill from the Mladen Milicevic score and soundtrack.
On June 10, 2010, the AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center presented a live play/reading based on the film's original script. Wiseau reprised his role of Johnny and was joined by Sestero playing the role of Mark.
In 2011, Wiseau mentioned plans for a Broadway adaptation of the film, in which he would appear only on opening night: "It will be similar to what you see in the movie, except it will be musical. As well as, you will see... like, for example, Johnny, we could have maybe 10 Johnnys at the same time singing, or playing football. So, the decision have to be made at the time when we actually doing choreography, 'cause I'll be doing choreography, as well I'll be in it only one time, that's it, as Johnny." He mentioned the plans again during a 2016 interview, describing his idea for it to be a "musical slash comedy."
On October 21, 2014, cast member Robyn Paris launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise the budget for her comedy mockumentary web series, The Room Actors: Where Are They Now? A Mockumentary. On completion, the campaign had raised US$31,556 (equivalent to $34,080 in 2019) from 385 backers. Although a number of the original cast appeared in the series, Wiseau, Sestero and Holmes are not involved. The series premiered at the 24th Raindance Film Festival on September 30, 2016, and debuted on the website Funny or Die on November 30, 2017.
A satirical fan-made musical called OH HAI!: The Rise of Chris-R, written by Tony Orozco and Peter Von Sholly, was released on SoundCloud on July 27, 2017. The work builds on the backstory of the film, particularly the character of Denny and his relationship with Chris-R.
In 2018, Oh Hi, Johnny! The ‘Room’sical Parody premiered at the Orlando Fringe Festival. Written by Bryan Jager and Alex Syiek, the show subsequently ran at the Chicago Musical Theatre Festival in February 2019. The work explores if Tommy Wiseau actually made a stage adaptation of The Room.
In popular culture
The comedy show Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job! on Adult Swim featured Wiseau prominently in the fourth season March 9, 2009 episode titled Tommy. Recruited as a "guest director", Wiseau is interviewed in mockumentary style, along with the show's leading actors, during the production of a fake film titled The Pig Man. Two scenes from The Room are featured during the episode. Adult Swim broadcast the movie three times from 2009 to 2011 as part of their April Fools' Day programming. In 2012, they showed the first 20 seconds of it before switching to Toonami for the remainder of the night.
On June 18, 2009, a RiffTrax for The Room was released, featuring commentary by Michael J. Nelson, Bill Corbett and Kevin Murphy, formerly of Mystery Science Theater 3000. This was followed up with a live theater show by RiffTrax on May 6, 2015, which was shown in 700 theaters across the U.S. and Canada. The show screened once more on January 28, 2016 as part of the Best of RiffTrax Live series.
In 2010, the film was mocked on the Internet comedy series Nostalgia Critic, which highlighted the film's bad acting and writing, but encouraged viewers to see the movie: "It truly is one of those films you have to see to believe." The episode was taken down following claims of copyright infringement from Wiseau-Films. It was replaced by a short video titled "The Tommy Wi-Show", in which host Doug Walker, dressed as Wiseau, mocked the threatened legal actions. The main review was later reinstated. Both Greg Sestero and Juliette Danielle have praised the review, and Sestero later made a cameo appearance on The Nostalgia Critic episode "Dawn of the Commercials", reprising his role of Mark. Both Wiseau and Sestero appeared in separate episodes on Walker's talk show, Shut Up and Talk.
In 2011, Greg DeLiso and Peter Litvin directed and produced a video titled "The Room Rap", telling the story of The Room's production while mocking the green screen work and sub-par acting found in the movie. The video was listed in the Acknowledgements of Greg Sestero's 2014 book The Disaster Artist: My Life Inside The Room, the Greatest Bad Movie Ever Made.
In the 2016 Marvel comic book Spider-Man/Deadpool #12, Captain Marvel (Carol Danvers) receives a DVD copy of The Room as a Christmas gift from Deadpool, but complains that she actually wanted Room, starring Brie Larson (who would later be portraying her in the Marvel Cinematic Universe). She also goes on to state that Tommy Wiseau is actually an alien criminal wanted by the Guardians of the Galaxy.
The Sunday, July 5, 2015, installment of Amy Dickinson's advice column Ask Amy unwittingly featured a hoax letter that derived its situational premise from The Room and, even after being edited for publication, retained phrases from the film's dialogue; Dickinson addressed the hoax in the following Saturday's edition of July 11 of the National Public Radio comedy and quiz show Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me!, where she appears as a regular panelist, and in her July 20, 2015 column.
Comic #1400 of the online comic xkcd, which appeared July 28, 2014, presented a satirical equivalence between Wiseau and still-unidentified hijacker D. B. Cooper, with comparisons between the money, age, and speaking style of the two, and speculated on a connection between Wiseau's background and Cooper's fate.
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