That Time I Met Tommy Wiseau

The RoomAnd tried to impersonate his expression on the DVD cover.


INT. LOBBY – THE ROYAL CINEMA – TORONTO – EVENING

His eyes agape, clearly star-struck, a young TREVOR CHARTRAND hands his DVD copy to TOMMY WISEAU. Tommy presses the DVD against the wall and uncaps the lid to his marker, poised to begin writing…

TOMMY
What’s your name?

TREVOR
Trevor.

Tommy writes the letters: T, R, E, B-

TREBOR
(emphasis on the ‘v’ sound)
Uh, no it’s Tre-vor.

TOMMY
Yeah, I knowww.


April 24, 2011 – What an exciting night that was. When I heard Tommy was coming to Toronto, along with co-star and best friend Greg Sestero, I bought tickets right away. In the months that followed time has never moved so slowly, days spent dripping in anticipation of what I would experience. They say going in with high expectations is a bad thing, but on this night, not only were my expectations met, they were exceeded.

Together with my good friend Martin, we showed up over an hour early for the show and were first in line. As we waited I remember him telling me he didn’t expect to be this excited. I think my anticipation may have been contagious. I actually owe a lot of credit to Martin; this is the guy who first introduced me to The Room back in the fall of 2009.


IMG_4122-min   IMG_4123-min
Aren’t we cute?

As the line started to form behind us, we saw a limo pull up. Sure enough, Tommy and Greg got out and snuck into an alley beside the theatre.

IMG_4124-minOkay, it was a taxi.

A theatre employee soon came out and announced to the growing line that he was selling DVD copies of The Room for Tommy and Greg to autograph in the lobby before the show. I scoffed at these so-called fans who didn’t come prepared. I was one of the few people who already owned the DVD and had brought it with me.

The moment came when they finally opened those doors, and Martin and I were the first to step through . There they were before us. This, I am ashamed to say, was one of the greatest moments of my life. I greeted Tommy and Greg, or at least, I think I did; I was in such a state of awe it was difficult to stay grounded. Greg scribbled a quick signature on my DVD before it was passed on to Tommy, and well, the rest is history.

My only regret is that I didn’t think to remove the cover art from the plastic sleeve on the DVD case. Greg and Tommy both signed that plastic part with dry erase markers. To this day I have to be extremely cautious touching that cover for fear the marker might smear on the plastic.

Things only got better from there. Before filing into the theatre came the photo op. Now, it’s important to note that Martin brought with him an expensive DSLR camera – the type film students tend to buy. In order to get all four of us in the photo, we had to pass the camera off to the next person in line. But she had no idea how to use the camera despite our attempts to explain it; it was too complicated. Since there was a long line behind us, we had to move on. This is the photo we ended up with:

IMG_4127-min
I couldn’t be happier that it’s out of focus. It is all too fitting considering the film we were there to celebrate.

The movie itself was a lot of fun. Tommy and Greg did a quick introduction to the film, including a Q&A. Tommy was spontaneous and erratic and would call people up to the stage to toss the football around, or to admire all the Lisas who had come to the screening in their red dresses. Afterwards we enjoyed a typical screening of the film, and the energy in the room was unbelievable. Meeting Tommy was just such a special moment, and will always be my favourite memory of viewing of the film.

IMG_4151-min And the belt-around-the-thighs fashion trend will someday catch on.

Since then, I’ve met Greg at three other events, two of which Tommy also attended. When Greg released his book, The Disaster Artist: My Life Inside the Room, both Tommy and Greg returned to Toronto for a book signing. I’m not sure why Tommy was autographing a book he had nothing to do with, but it was great to see him there. Martin and I later attended another screening with the two of them, and managed to get a clearer picture this time:

11407296_10153835642808362_3481572220606484949_n
It’s just not the same when it’s in focus.

As much as we make fun of him, Tommy definitely gets his money worth. The film still screens internationally. Rifftrax recently did a live show featuring the motion picture, and I’m betting they paid a hefty fee to get the rights to do so. On top of ticket sales to screenings and the DVD purchase, over the years I’ve paid for gear from Wiseau’s store including a sweater, the film’s screenplay, and yes, even Tommy Wiseau Underwear. I’m still not sure if he’s in on the joke yet, but he’s definitely profiting from it.


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