Tommy Wiseau's 'The Room' Almost Had Vampires
The Room is a strange film, as one or two people have already noted. The central plot makes little or no progress, with the leads repeating the same conversations in scene after scene, and yet the movie still finds time to check in with side characters with their own little stories of no consequence. Possibly, this was all very purposeful. Surely, director Tommy Wiseau wanted us to feel like we're peeking in on a real world rather than a script where everything only exists to serve a narrative.
Yes, Tommy Wiseau was interested in subverting traditional storytelling. He was also interested in vampires. He jokingly called himself a vampire, claiming his talent for scheduling his sleep cycle was a "vampire trick." He might also have been styling himself after a vampire physically, and his dream film project was something called The Vampire from Alcatraz: King of the Vampires.
These two sides of Wiseau—unconventional storytelling and a love of vampires—nearly made The Room even weirder than the film we got. This happened a little after they'd shot the movie's most out-of-place bit, a rooftop scene in which a drug dealer demands a character repay a debt (neither the dealer nor the debt are ever mentioned again).
Wiseau suggested that they reshoot the scene. He liked the drug dealer ("he is such a good character, like Al Capone") and wanted to make the confrontation more spectacular, with a fight that knocks the guy's gun off the roof. And then, to make the scene more spectacular still, Wiseau's character's Johnny would drive his car off the roof—and not crash, but fly into the sky. They would accomplish this the same way they made their set look like a San Francisco rooftop: using a green screen.
The reason Johnny suddenly had a flying car? He was a vampire. Maybe a vampire, said Wiseau; he was vague about this. They never ended up shooting this scene, however, because the drug dealer actor wasn't available (and perhaps for other reasons as well).
We get this story from The Disaster Artist, a book about the making of The Room. The book became a movie starring James and Dave Franco a couple years back, but the movie didn't include this story and went softer on Tommy Wiseau than the book in a few different ways. In the movie, unlike real life, Wiseau is hurt but then is quite happy when people find his serious work ridiculous, as he's ultimately pleased he's at least entertaining them. This is an unrealistic ending right out of a sitcom—it's exactly Michael Scott's reaction when screening Threat Level Midnight.
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