- - Monday, November 13, 2017

He may not be a household name like Depp, Pitt or Travolta, but to fans of late-night cult films, Tommy Wiseau is a superstar. As star, writer, producer and director of the 2003 film “The Room,” Mr. Wiseau went from wannabe filmmaker to underground cult icon. “The Room” features some of the best “so terrible it’s good” over-the-top acting, stilted dialogue and off-kilter camera work in history.

Despite its poor quality of filmmaking, thanks to a series of midnight screenings, “The Room” went from being called “just bad” to “The Citizen Kane of bad movies,” gaining an ever-growing audience of devotees. Those acolytes even include James Franco and Seth Rogan, who have made a new film about the notorious stinker, “The Disaster Artist,” which stars Mr. Franco as Mr. Wiseua, and which opens in December.  

At Stan Lee’s 2017 pop culture conclave LA Comicon, the mysterious Mr. Wiseau discussed how his small indie film became a midnight craze.

Question: How did “The Room” come about?

Answer: You know the story, right? People don’t want to give me credit. Long story short, they didn’t understand what I was trying to create. Long story short, now everything has turned around. Positively. People get my vision.

Q: Why do you think it became such a cult classic?

A: Because it’s from my heart. (Laughs)

Q: Is that the truth?

A: That’s the truth. People don’t understand it’s different entertainment. I have said many, many times in interviews that Hollywood is not ready for new entertainment. 

Q: What is it about the film that makes new generations discover it?

A: Because the main theme of “The Room” is about relationships. And that is why “The Room” survives. Hopefully it will survive for 10 more years, but I don’t know what will happen.

Q: Would you allow Hollywood to do a big budget remake of “The Room”?

A: Why not? But I think if you have original material, that is what the key is. As I said, and as you know, at first a lot of people criticize “The Room,” and they didn’t understand because it was different and original.

I always said from the beginning it is a different kind of entertainment. Basically, that’s what it is. Now people understand that.

Q: What was your background before you made the film?

A: I studied cinema and filmmaking for 20 years. For the film I used a two-format camera, and people didn’t understand why I [was] doing this. Just like Orson Wells [when] he did “Citizen Kane.”

Again this is the thing: In Hollywood they say, “Do something different.” But if you do different, then they’re not ready. I’m very happy that we have all the support from the people right now.

Q: Do you consider yourself a modern-day Orson Wells?

A: Maybe. I dunno.

Q: What are you working on?

A: I’ve been working with Tim and Eric [of “Tim & Eric Awesome Show Great Job”] a little bit on TV shows. I also have my new film, “The Neighbors.” This is a DVD for you. You check it out. Maybe review it. We also have a new project called “Best Friends.” We use animation.

Q: Where can people your new work?

A: “The Neighbors” is also on Hulu. But Hulu has a different version from the DVD. We had a big event in New York last month. We had about 1,800 people, but your guys (the media) never show up. I know your people. You have to [tell people] how it works.

Q: Do you think you will ever make a sequel to “The Room”?

A: We might. Yes. Someday. But we did it in 3-D recently.

Q: What did you think of the James Franco and Seth Rogan film clip about the making of “The Room”?

A: You’re talking about “The Disaster Artist”?

Q: Yes. The mockumentary.

A: Actually, it’s not a mockumentary. He did an excellent job. Actually, he doesn’t do the parody. I would strongly recommend to see it. Then we could [talk] about it.

Q: Will you work with James Franco in the future?

A: In the future, after “The Disaster Artist” comes out, we’ll see what will happen. I don’t know what will happen. Never do.

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