At a screening of cult classic The Room, we met enigmatic mumbler Tommy Wiseau and his exhausted, depressed-looking co-star, Greg Sestero.
On February 6th, I went to a screening of cult classic good-bad movie, The Room, at London’s Prince Charles Cinema. The first time I’d ever seen the movie was here, which had been a blur of people humming the Mission: Impossible theme tune, playing ball in front of the screen and spoons flying everywhere. Since then I’d watched The Room perhaps four more times, and still it never stopped being hilarious in an utterly mystifying way. This screening was different, however, for one very good reason: star and director Tommy Wiseau and co-star Greg Sestero were in attendance. I was so excited that I felt the need to tell everyone around me, many of whom looked at me as if I was an alien that had just jumped out of a space ship.
In truth, nobody who’s seen the Room really cares what it’s about. The real joy of The Room is the event itself
It seemed almost wrong that so many people had never heard of The Room, yet I guess the explanation of it (or at least my explanation of it) wouldn’t have most running to the nearest computer to order a copy. Whenever I’ve been asked what The Room is about, I usually end up rambling something like, “OK. So it’s basically about this man called Johnny, who lives with his fiance, Lisa, and they’re in love, but not really as Lisa gets bored and starts sleeping with Johnny’s best friend and then her mum has cancer too, but that doesn’t really matter, and there’s a pug, and I don’t know. It’s just really funny because it’s so bad, and everyone chucks spoons at the screen and stuff.”
In truth, nobody who’s seen the Room really cares what it’s about, because the plot makes very little sense, and if you invest too much time in trying to understand it you’ll just find yourself confused and angry. The real joy of The Room is the event itself. There’s a community of people that have a lot of love for this movie, and they know all the appropriate cues to interact with throughout – where else can you randomly scream things during a film and be actively cheered on?
The queue to go inside spilt around the cinema, and a man in front of me had been re-enacting moments from the script. It’s safe to say that everyone was feeling pretty enthusiastic, and as one of the cinema managers got everyone pumped up even more, he also reminded visitors to leave any metal spoons behind. Ambling down the stairs amongst the hoards of people, the buzz of laughter and chatter got closer. It was the kind of energy you knew meant Tommy Wiseau must be nearby, and as we turned the corner, there he was – wearing shades indoors and what looked like about five belts, mumbling indecipherable sentences and surrounded by bobbing head doll versions of himself.
My friend and I queued to meet Wiseau as the ushers tried to hurry us into the screening room. After quickly nabbing myself one of the pug dog toys (which, when you squeeze its paw, says the classic, “Oh hai doggeeee,” line) I hugged Tommy and even touched his hair a bit. It was glorious, even if I did feel a bit bad for leaving Greg out. We then posed for a picture with both of them and, on a Danny-style high, went to find seats.
Before the film started there was a Q&A full of Wiseau wisdom. The first question dived right in with, “What are the plans for a sequel?”
Tommy: Next year, before the sequel, we do The Neighbours and (mumble, mumble), next question!
Audience member: In the biopic of your lives, who would you have play you?
Tommy: (Points to Greg) Greg.
Greg: I was actually talking about adapting my book into a feature, and I was thinking Javier Bardem for Tommy.
Tommy: You know who can play me: Johnny Depp. That’s it. And maybe, MAYBE, James Franco. (Seemingly out of nowhere, Tommy decides to follow that answer with some advice on women) Don’t believe too much, that’s my advice to you. You see it’s like a love. When you say to a girl, what do you say to a girl? You, hey you! (Points to someone in the audience) Yeah you. What do you say to a girl?
(Guy leans in and gives answer)
Tommy: Yeah, you know, “How you doing beautiful? Let’s go and get a coffee”, she slap your face, what d’you want from me! Next thing you probably say, “how you doing?” she say, “OK, let’s buy a coffee.” Move on, next question.
Audience member: OK, first thing for Greg, obviously half way through the movie…
Tommy: Wait a minute, let me correct you guys. No statement! My assistant is a little off today, please inform people no statement, give a question, my God!
Audience member: (to Greg) So half way through the movie, you shave your facial hair…
Tommy: He gave up on life.
Audience member: The tag line for your movie is, ‘Can you ever really trust anyone?’ My question for you is have you learnt to trust people, and have you found love finally?
Tommy: Wow, you know what, I give you a hug right now. (Guy comes on stage and Tommy awkwardly holds his hand for a moment) Hold on one second, yes I did find love and almost hurt myself, nevermore about that, that’s the electricity which you have, which I’m in love with that, OK? You say you recuperate yourself and uh, the second part of the question was?
Audience member: Have you found love?
Tommy: Yes I did I said, the first part of the question?
Audience member: Have you learnt to trust people?
Tommy: Oh yeah, this is the question I think relates to all of us, I don’t know about you but I’m just thinking aloud. One of my friends long time he said to me, “Tommy?” I said, what? “You have to start trusting people.” So I have advice for you, do you want to hear? My advice is, it’s like a trial you know? You have a friend, he may betray you (gestures to Greg), then he became your best friend ever, OK? So you put your friends on a trial and then you start trusting people. That’s my advice, thank you very much.
Once the film started, Tommy and Greg left the room, to greet those that wanted to have pictures taken, chat or buy merchandise. By this point Greg just looked exhausted and depressed by the whole thing, though was still much obliging to sign our special The Room bags, which Tommy also scrawled with, “Love is Blind”. As we walked back home, we realised there was something else Tommy had written that we couldn’t for the life of us work out. It would have to remain a mystery, just like the man himself.
Featured image: Amber Bryce
Inset image: ed_needs_a_bicycle (via Flickr)