On Wednesday’s episode of Jimmy Kimmel Live, Tommy Wiseau said he gives James Franco and The Disaster Artist a ‘99.9 percent’ accuracy rating. Franco’s new biographical comedy is based on the book of the same name, which Wiseau claims is only 40 percent accurate. They tell the story behind the creation of the ‘best’ worst movie ever made: The Room.
Wiseau wrote, directed, produced, financed, and starred in The Room, after his frustration at being passed over for good roles in Hollywood. Wiseau’s passion project cost him $6 million, made only $1,900 at the box office and was lambasted by the critics (it has a 28% on Rotten Tomatoes), but it’s popularity has persisted for 15 straight years. Wiseau’s tacky script and overly dramatic acting, along with his perplexing accent, lead to some very memorable and quotable scenes in The Room. My personal favorite is the incredibly strange flower shop scene, where he responds to “here you go” with “that’s me.”
Wiseau is an interesting character. He identifies as an American, although he tells Kimmel he’s originally from Europe in the interview. According to Wiseau, the country he picks is “New Orleans,” where he lived for some time with family before moving to San Francisco. Probably born in Poland in the 1950’s, Wiseau claims to have been born around 1969, and describes his accent as “always changing.”
While he’s been notoriously tight-lipped about where he got the $6 million to fund his masterpiece, others have hinted that he owns retail businesses in the Bay Area, and he told EW,
We import from Korea the leather jackets that we design here in America. If you work, you have to save money, right? I didn’t get money from the sky. I was preparing, let’s put it this way.
According to the Kimmel interview with Franco, Wiseau paid for a billboard in LA for 5 years to advertise his movie, which is awesome. They set up a similar billboard to promote The Disaster Artist because the massive sign with Wiseau’s phone number became rather famous in Hollywood.
According to Franco, there are “three mysteries” involving Wiseau: how old he is, where he’s from, and where he got his money.