Thanks to James Franco and The Disaster Artist, Tommy Wiseau’s awful cult classic The Room, dubbed the ‘Citizen Kane of bad movies’, has its place in film history.
But another director is taking the blame/acclaim for it, and says that he, not Wiseau, was the man behind the camera.
Sandy Schklair has made the claim in a new book Yes, I Directed The Room, ahead of the original movie now getting a wider release in the US.
“I directed this entire movie, except for the love scenes and the second unit stuff in San Francisco,” he told The Hollywood Reporter.
“Anything in The Disaster Artist that shows Tommy directing, this never happened, ever.”
The Disaster Artist is partly based on the book of the same name by Greg Sestero, Wiseau’s friend and co-star in The Room, which does credit Schklair’s contribution (Schklair is played by Seth Rogen in the movie).
“Sandy helped set up eyelines, blocked scenes, worked on the dialog, and established a basic through-line of minimum coherence,” it says in the book, adding that he was the ‘only reason we’d gotten anything remotely watchable on film’.
Schklair also suggests that the film’s ‘unintentional comedy’ isn’t actually so unintentional, and that everybody knew, except for Wiseau.
“Don’t think any of this happened by accident,” says Schklair, suggesting that he never thought the film would ever reach cinemas.
“The idea was to keep the insanity, but push it as far over the top as I can and preserve the fact that everybody there knows I’m making a comedy… except one person.”
In the book, Sestero says that Schklair quit the movie to pursue other work, so Wiseau cut his name from the production.
Wiseau himself has also denied Schklair’s claims.
“I would say you cannot give [Schklair] any credit, because he quit,” Wiseau told THR in a previous interview.
“If you take out the San Francisco scenes, and you take away the love scenes, if you take away all that material, you do not have The Room. The Room would not exist, because all these elements are very important.”
However, Schklair does give Wiseau some props – namely, his decision to rent a massive billboard in Los Angeles to advertise the film, featuring his own personal phone number and his face.
“I hate complimenting Tommy under the worst situations, but that billboard was genius,” he added.
“This movie is never, ever going away. I keep trying to make it go away. And I don’t know a director on this planet, including Steven Spielberg, who would not want to take credit for a movie that will not die.
“It’s the most bizarre, weird and surreal movie ever made, but it’s hypnotic and engaging. And it’s my direction that contributed to that, together with Tommy’s insane persona and the wacky stuff he wrote.
“And every time he lies about me, he steals the credit that I took that s**t and got it noticed. And that’s not right.”