Tommy Wiseau, the cult star of The Room, says he’s going to be playing the Joker again sometime soon. Wiseau recently played the DC villain in a spoof sketch, and now it sounds like he’ll be suiting up as the Clown Prince of Crime once again.
“I love the Joker,” Wiseau told Yahoo Movies UK when we quizzed him on the original video.
“You’re going to have a surprise, when?”
“I’d say in a week or so,” added his The Room co-star Greg Sestero cryptically, “The surprise of your life is coming.”
Following the mainstream success of James Franco’s The Disaster Artist, centred around the making of The Room, (otherwise known as ‘the Citizen Kane of bad movies’) there’s a chance that a fresh audience of new The Room fans are wondering why Tommy Wiseau and Greg Sestero didn’t make another movie together.
Well, now they have – it’s called Best F(r)iends Volume 1 and it follows the adventures of an eccentric mortician (Wiseau) and his new homeless pal (Sestero) as they concoct a plan to get rich off gold fillings in dead people’s teeth.
Unlike The Room, it’s not directed by Wiseau, but it retains some of that film’s wacky humour – except here it feels more intentional.
It’s a strange but intriguing film, feeling like the artistic offspring of David Lynch and John Waters, and it’s sure to be popular with the actors’ enthusiastic following.
Yahoo Movies UK sat down with Tommy and Greg to find out why they’ve decided to work together again, and what it takes to survive near-constant public ridicule. You can also watch our extended 40-minute BUILD interview with Tommy and Greg below.
Yahoo Movies UK: Greg, you and Tommy have been friends for 20 years, what elements of his personality inspired you to write this character for him?
Greg Sestero: When I met him in acting class, I saw his way of performing as being unique. Obviously he wrote The Room, and The Room became what it is – and I think it became what it is because of his uniqueness, but I still felt like the Tommy I saw as an actor hadn’t really been given the right part. A few things he did after The Room didn’t have the depth I knew he could portray.
When I wrote The Disaster Artist I really enjoyed telling the story neutrally of my experience with him. And I thought that giving him a role with depth that would use his skills and his physique to his advantage would be really interesting. So that’s what I did, using my love of cinema and movies, I tried to tell a serious story with a part that fit him.
How hard is it to make a film that might be received ironically – how do you toughen yourself up?
Greg Sestero: The Room taught me a lot. It’s called the Citizen Kane of bad movies or whatever, but people love it – they spread it. What it taught me is that people decide if a film is successful. Critics can manipulate or guide, but it’s the people that respond to the movie. So, for me, when I was making this film, I wasn’t thinking about it at all.
I love movies, and had this idea to shoot LA in this very noir style, and try to make a genuine story and I didn’t really think about pleasing. I just thought ‘Hey, be honest, tell the story, and let the audience decide what happens. If they laugh at it, just accept it. Let it be what it is, don’t take it personally. As long as you’re sincere with the material I think that’s what’s most important.
Tommy Wiseau: You, as a director or an actor, you need a vision. You have to gamble with original material. Some actors want to make it big, but they’re not respectful. If you look at the history of The Room, I never criticise critiques, I just say ‘Hey, you don’t have enough information, you don’t understand my vision.’ I never say about actors that they did a good job, though, actually, they did do a good job. Even though some of what they say is very disrespectful.
I grew up in a family that taught me you should have respect for people who gave you a job and at least say thank you, if you don’t like them, move onto the next one, you know? Respect, I think, is the key to success in the entertainment industry. Sometimes it’s very selfish, especially actors, we actors, we’re very vulnerable, but you have to accept that, and you can’t be upset because someone says something.
You recently tweeted ‘You are better than Internet’ – what did that mean?
You are better than internet !
— Tommy Wiseau (@TommyWiseau) September 19, 2018
Tommy Wiseau: I’ve received dozens, maybe hundreds over all these years, of apology letters, statements which are unique. People who downloaded The Room illegally, who bought DVDs and want to apologise. One guy in Chicago bought five to ten Blu-rays and I said ‘God, you must have a lot of friends’ I was so enthusiastic and he said ‘I’ve got to tell you something, I illegally downloaded it and I apologise, I want to support you, I think it’s wrong.’
Young people, they are better than Internet. We can learn a lot from the Internet, we can be very passionate about it, use it to meet people, but by the same token it’s just a tool to improve your life – don’t believe too much because you’ll hurt your career. You as a filmmaker, you as a person.
I remember at a Q&A, a lady said ‘What do you do when people are bashing you online?’ and I said ‘Think positive’ but it’s very easy to say, you know? What does it mean, you know?
The best way is to do something else far away from the Internet, because they are so caught up with all this stuff. You lose the concept of who you are, how you want to create.
Have you almost created a character yourself, Tommy? You a different person when you’re doing Q&As to how you are now. Are the sunglasses part of that?
Tommy Wiseau: I love my sunglasses. It’s not a question of character, I like what I’m doing and I want to show the world that the guy with sunglasses can do something. It’s not my ego, it’s myself.
But by the same token, I’m a very responsible person. I built steel framed buildings in San Francisco, so when people ask where my money comes from, it’s laughable. Okay, are we in the foundation, are we in the building? Where are we, are we in a castle? It doesn’t make sense, sometimes.
Tommy, you’ve said you loved the Joker, how would you approach that character?
Tommy Wiseau: I love the Joker. You’re going to have a surprise, when?
Greg Sestero: I’d say in a week or so. The surprise of your life is coming.
Tommy Wiseau: What was the question?
How would you approach the character?
Tommy Wiseau: That was an idea I was very passionate about, because Heath Ledger did such a great job, and I see the passion there. And this is one thing that I’m preaching, in the sense that if you don’t have a passion, not just an interest, you have to go the extra mile. Forget about money for god’s sake, I know you have to pay your bills, right? But if you’re passionate about something, you’ll succeed.
Heath was the best performer, though I never criticise actors, so all the actors did a good job. You’ll find an audience if you are original as a person. How did it come about Greg?
Greg Sestero: I always thought that’s what was interesting about our friendship, people would see us as these Marvel Comics nemesis in a way, so that was always on my radar. Then there were all the memes of Tommy as the Joker ‘Wiseau serious,’ or whatever.
Then the Lionsgate team came up with the idea to do a Joker audition tape, which was great.
Tommy Wiseau: They didn’t want to do it at first, but they supported us. I said ‘Let’s do Joker’ – and I said to Greg, you should do Batman. You didn’t want to do it in the beginning, let’s be honest. But later on he changed his mind, because of the Lionsgate supporting team.
In terms of preparation, it was the same thing. We had a script, we knew what would be in the script and it’s make take on how to present it – that’s the skill you have as an actor.
It feels like there was improvisation in Best F(r)iends, it has that energy at times – Greg, how did you feel about Tommy changing your script?
Greg Sestero: I wrote the part with Tommy in mind, so I very much understand how he works, so we rehearsed every night, because I wanted him to believe in the dialogue, to feel it. He would throw in things that he felt he would say, which was great, because the more natural and true to his character the better.
So he didn’t really improvise too much. There’s a few scenes where he put his own stamp on things, like the scene with the Chinese food. When he would go on and do something that was off script it made it even better – because that’s stuff you can’t think of.
So that was great, that’s us working off each other – a lot of the dialogue was stuff we say to each other, so it felt very natural.
BEST F(R)IENDS VOLUME 1 AVAILABLE WORLDWIDE ON DIGITAL & ON-DEMAND 25TH SEPTEMBER. You can pre-order it here.