Although The Room is considered to be the "Citizen Kane of bad movies", 13 years after it was first screened, this cult classic continues to entertain audiences around the world – a feat that most awful films can never hope to achieve.
But now The Room and its quirky director Tommy Wiseau are entering the spotlight once more, as James Franco and Seth Rogen are currently making a movie based on a book called The Disaster Artist by The Room's co-star Greg Sestero, which chronicles the chaos of the original film production process.
IBTimes UK recently caught up with Wiseau in London during his Love Is Blind 2016 annual world tour of the film, and we were fortunate to get to speak with him on video, as nowadays the elusive star rarely exposes himself to scrutiny from mainstream media.
Unlike most celebrities today, very little is known about Wiseau, even after 13 years. No one knows exactly where he's from, what he used to do for a living or even how he managed to raise the $6m (£4.2m) he spent on The Room. Sestero's book provides some information and insights into Wiseau's personality, but as the man himself contests most of the book and is often seen in interviews defending his work, it's difficult to get a clear picture of who Wiseau is.
So we decided that we would like to get to know Wiseau better. What does he care about? What matters to him? How does he think, and most importantly, what sort of person do you have to be to decide that you want to become a Hollywood star, and then actually make it happen, all by yourself, without the help of a big studio or other veterans at your back; and even more amazingly, make back the money you put in?
Getting the respect he deserves
"I believe in intuition, as well as destiny. Your destiny will guide you if you believe in it. You have to take the risk. You will have a lot of people who will criticise you, but I will say, you are so smart, just grab the camera, do your own stuff," says Wiseau.
"Basically you have to be strong and you have to believe in what you believe, otherwise people will hurt you. I would tell you differently, but I can't. It can be very brutal to be part of this industry, but again, if you have good spirit, good respect, you will conquer the world."
And throughout our interview, respect and why it is important emerge as a common theme. "When you have respect for people, eventually you get it back. And if some people don't respect you, you let it go, you don't be too attached to it. If you want to accomplish something, you want to be an actor, singer, lawyer... if you're optimistic towards your goal, you will succeed," he says.
Wiseau says that although it was tough going before, he has gradually seen a shift in how he is treated and perceived by both audiences of The Room and the Hollywood movie industry.
"It's much different. Sometimes I'm surprised, you know, by the audience's reaction. In fact, I would say that the past two years it's been better than expected. The audience is much more respectful and much more appreciative to the movie. When we have a Q&A session, they ask questions in a very sincere way, which never happened, like, 10 years ago," he says.
"They have a great respect for me, the entire Hollywood, I have great support with the big stars. I don't want to drop any names, but everyone knows about The Room right now. So that's a good thing."
Likes and dislikes
Wiseau says he is currently very interested in action movies, and he is working on several side projects. One of these projects is a vampire movie, and he claims that he has now written a 100-page script for it. Then there is his TV sitcom The Neighbors, which is a caricature of the random people one can meet in Los Angeles, and that's not counting yet another project in the works with James Franco, that will probably be a drama.
And then there is his passion for fashion. Wiseau is very proud of his underwear line, which he claims is much more durable than popular branded underwear, and he is also expanding to design more clothes for both men and women, such as vests, jeans, jackets and even sports clothing – "basic stuff, but comfortable," he says.
Talking to Wiseau about current affairs, it's clear he keeps up to date with the news. He is excited about a future where everything is solar-powered and robots run our lives, and he doesn't seem to be worried about robots taking over his job or even a robot uprising.
And when asked about his favourite figure from history, he chooses George Washington – "a very cool guy, he was creative, he had vision". At first, he says Napoleon, but then he changes his mind because he knows about French history and he disagrees with the values Napoleon represented.
On how his life has turned out
Interestingly, Wiseau says he never expected The Room to become this big, or its cult status and the fame it brought.
"No, I thought I would make one movie, and move on to the next one," he says, shrugging. He definitely isn't happy with how Sestero depicted him in the Disaster Artist, but at the same time, he admits that it isn't an out-and-out lie, giving the book a "40% approval rating".
He also admits that although he ignores the insults, the criticism and the taunts, he isn't immune to it, but he has learnt to live with it and thrive despite it.
"It always bothers me, it always will, because it's not fair. If you do hard work, and some people don't know about it, and later on they criticise you, and they don't even know about it. It's just ridiculous. And you know it's funny how the media operates – I'm talking about some of the gossiping columns. One person says one thing, and then everyone else just follows through, as if it's true, and it's not. It's pretty disrespectful, but... all actors, even the big stars, we all have the same issues. People will always try to discredit you for your work," he says.
Nevertheless, Wiseau still wants to have the last word. He intends to release his own book, entitled "The Disaster Artist by Tommy Wiseau: The Truth Prevails", however he doesn't know when he will be able to get it published, as he is now becoming so busy with other projects.
In the end, we might not have learned a great deal of concrete hard facts about Wiseau, but we have seen a side to his personality that might be more honest and real despite that.
"I would say you should keep trying until you succeed. I've learnt that everything is possible if you keep going, you just have to have the will to do it," he says.
And whether you think Wiseau is a terrible film-maker and actor or not, when it all comes down to it, rather than just talking about it or wishing he could do it, Wiseau actually did it, and that, is an achievement in itself.