Tommy Wiseau

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Tommy Pierre Wiseau
Tommy Wiseau.jpg
Wiseau in 2010
Born1968/1969 (age 44–45)
OccupationFilm director, screenwriter, actor, film producer
Years active2003–present
Known forThe Room
 
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Tommy Pierre Wiseau
Tommy Wiseau.jpg
Wiseau in 2010
Born1968/1969 (age 44–45)
OccupationFilm director, screenwriter, actor, film producer
Years active2003–present
Known forThe Room

Tommy Pierre Wiseau /wəˈs/ (born c. 1968/1969)[1] is a screenwriter, film director, film producer, and actor. He is the founder of the film production company Wiseau Films, and is best known for his film The Room (2003), which has been described as "one of the worst movies ever made" and has gained cult film status.[2] Wiseau also made the documentary Homeless in America and filmed the pilot episode of the sitcom The Neighbors.[3][4]

Early life[edit]

Wiseau is secretive about his past,[5] and his early life has been debated by members of the press, fans, and even those who worked on The Room.[citation needed] In various interviews given following the release of The Room, Wiseau simply claims to have grown up in New Orleans, Louisiana,[6][7] and lived in France "a long time ago",[8] moving back and forth between the United States and Europe throughout his life. Wiseau spent some time in France before moving to Chalmette, Louisiana.[9]

In his 2013 memoir The Disaster Artist, Greg Sestero relates a number of stories that Wiseau had offered throughout their 15-year friendship concerning his past.[10] Sestero puts forth that Wiseau was born in the 1950s somewhere in the war-torn Eastern Bloc of communist Europe, possibly Czechoslovakia,[10] and that after leaving his home country he moved to Strasbourg in eastern France, where he adopted the name Pierre and worked as a restaurant dishwasher.[10] Sestero describes how Wiseau saw the Disney film One Hundred and One Dalmatians at a young age, and quickly became obsessed with American pop-culture and cinema, and following a brief stint in Paris, Wiseau moved to Chalmette, Louisiana,[9] where he lived with his uncle and aunt while employed at a grocery store.[10] Sestero claims that Wiseau later moved to San Francisco working as a street vendor selling toys to tourists near the Fisherman's Wharf. Locals nicknamed him "The Birdman" due to the fact that he sold unique bird toys that were only popular in Europe at the time; as a result of this moniker, he later legally changed his name to Thomas Pierre Wiseau, "taking the French word for 'bird,' oiseau, and swapping out the O for the W of his birth name".[10] Sestero describes Wiseau continuing working in the San Francisco Bay area as a hospital worker, and later starting a clothing company, Street Fashions USA, the profits of which Wiseau used to purchase and rent out large retail buildings around the city, allowing him to fund the production of The Room.[10]

Career[edit]

Film[edit]

Wiseau's best known production is the cult film The Room, released in 2003. The movie was immediately lambasted by critics.[11] However, The Room soon became a "cult classic" with late-night showings at theaters around the country. Audience members typically arrive wearing wigs resembling their favorite characters, interact with the dialogue on screen, and throw plastic cutlery and footballs around the theater. This attention grew into what was dubbed The Room's 2010–2011 "Love is Blind" International Tour, with the movie being screened in the United Kingdom, Germany, Denmark, Australia and India, among other locations. Wiseau appears at many of these events, posing for photographs with fans and often addressing them before the screenings as well.[12]

In 2004 Wiseau produced and appeared in a short documentary, Homeless in America. In 2010, Wiseau acted in a short film entitled The House That Drips Blood on Alex, a parody horror film written and produced by sketch comedy group Studio8. The film had a preview showing at Comic-Con on July 24, 2010. It premiered on Comedy Central and appeared online on October 14, 2010.[13][14]

Television[edit]

In 2008, Wiseau produced and appeared in the pilot episode of a television series titled The Neighbors, which he intended to become a regular sitcom. As of October 2011, the pilot had not been picked up by any network for broadcast.[4] In 2009, Wiseau guest starred in an episode of Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job! entitled "Tommy", wherein Wiseau guest directed a segment entitled "Pigman". He later told an interviewer he was merely an actor on the episode, and would work with the duo again "any time".[15] In a 2009 interview, Tim and Eric announced that they were developing two series for Wiseau.[16]

Internet[edit]

In 2011, Wiseau starred in a YouTube web series called Tommy Explains it All. The episodes feature Wiseau explaining his views on various topics ranging from Citizen Kane to the art of kissing.[17] Wiseau has also starred in segments on Machinima.com called The Tommy Wi-Show. The segments show Wiseau playing various video games, such as Mortal Kombat and offering commentary.[18][19]

Personal life[edit]

Wiseau was interested in becoming a rock star before turning to a career in acting.[20] He has said that he has been influenced by The Guns of Navarone, James Dean, Marlon Brando and Citizen Kane.[15][21]

Filmography[edit]

YearTitleDirectorProducerWriterActorRoleNotes
2003The RoomYesYesYesYesJohnny
2004Homeless in AmericaYesYesYesYesInterviewer
2009Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!YesHimselfEpisode: "Tommy"
2010The House That Drips Blood on AlexYesAlex
2011BumpYesRickShort film
Tommy Explains it AllYesHimselfWeb series
2011–2012The Tommy Wi-ShowYesYesYesYesHimselfWeb series

Awards[edit]

YearAwardCategoryFilm
2004New York International Independent Film & Video FestivalBest Social Documentary (L.A. Festival)Homeless in America
Audience Award – Feature (Miami Festival)The Room
2010Harvard's Ivory Tower (Harvard Undergraduate Television) Filmmaker of the YearFilmmaker of the YearThe Room and other projects

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Interview with Tommy Wiseau, actor/writer/director/producer of The Room | Cinetology". Blogs.crikey.com.au. 2010-02-16. Retrieved 2012-12-19. 
  2. ^ Collis, Clark (2008-12-30). "'The Room': Worst movie ever? Don't tell that to its suddenly in-demand star.". popwatch.ew.com. Retrieved 23 November 2009. 
  3. ^ Star Phoenix article: "Shlocking encounter: Notoriously bad cult film spawns curious collective contempt[dead link]."
  4. ^ a b Portland Mercury article: "Tommy Wiseau: The Complete Interview(s)"
  5. ^ Collis, Clark (2008-12-12). "The Crazy Cult of 'The Room'". EW.com. Retrieved 2013-10-30. 
  6. ^ "Interview: Tommy Wiseau « Terminal Laughter". Terminallaughter.wordpress.com. Retrieved 2009-07-18. 
  7. ^ Maddux, Rachael (May 8, 2012). "Trapped in The Room with Tommy Wiseau". CL Atlanta. Retrieved January 3, 2013. 
  8. ^ Seattle Post Intelligencer article: "Is 'The Room' the worst movie of all time?"
  9. ^ a b "Capone's wacky Windy City weekend with Wiseau, creator of THE ROOM!!!". Ain't It Cool News. April 12, 2010. Retrieved 2013-01-20. 
  10. ^ a b c d e f The Disaster Artist: My Life Inside the Room by Greg Sestero and Tom Bissell. Simon and Schuster, 2013.
  11. ^ Entertainment Weekly "The Crazy Cult That is the Room"
  12. ^ "The Room Official Movie Site". Retrieved March 12, 2011. 
  13. ^ "SD Comic-Con 2010: Teaser Trailer: Tommy Wiseau's The House that Dripped Blood on Alex". Dreadcentral.com. 2010-07-14. Retrieved 2010-09-15. 
  14. ^ "Get Ready For The Comic-Con Premiere Of Tommy Wiseau In The House That Drips Blood On Alex | The Atom Blog". Atom.com. 2010-06-23. Retrieved 2010-09-15. [dead link]
  15. ^ a b "nonTV Interview: Tommy Wiseau". nonTV.tumblr.com. Retrieved 2009-05-19. [dead link]
  16. ^ "Wired article". "Wired article". 2009-10-19. Retrieved 2010-09-15. 
  17. ^ "Episode 2: How Do You Know When You're In Love". "TommyExplainsItAll". 2011-06-01. Retrieved 2011-11-20. 
  18. ^ "The Tommy Wi-Show Ep. 1: Mortal Kombat (Machinima)". "Machinima.com". 2011-09-24. Retrieved 2011-09-25. 
  19. ^ "The Tommy Wi-Show is a video game show with Tommy Wiseau". "Joystiq". 2011-09-14. Retrieved 2011-09-25. 
  20. ^ Knegt, Peter. "Tommy Wiseau Goes Legit". IndieWire. Retrieved 8 August 2012. 
  21. ^ The A.V. Club article: "Interview: Tommy Wiseau"

External links[edit]