Past the hawkers on Hollywood Boulevard, past a giant merch stand selling “You’re Tearing Me Apart, Lisa!” bomber jackets emblazoned with Tommy Wiseau’s face from The Room, past wig-clad Tommy Wiseau impersonators posing for pictures with other guests, sat Tommy Wiseau himself. He was onstage at Hollywood’s Egyptian Theater (historical site of the first-ever movie premiere, and “the anus of Los Angeles” according to at least one attendee), happily answering questions about his most recent gig: starring in Best F(r)iends, alongside The Room co-star and The Disaster Artist co-author Greg Sestero. The film is scheduled to open in 600 locations beginning this weekend, courtesy of Fathom Events.
Or, not answering questions, as it were.
With Tommy, you never really know what you’re going to get, which seemed to be the guiding principle of the entire event, as well as the film it was designed to celebrate. The Q & A, for instance, came before the movie, an unusual move (“We are Hollywood rebel! Ha ha ha,” said Tommy). Jen Yamato from the LA Times emceed, while Tommy, clad in his trademark Terminator shades and abundance of jingling metal jewelry, including a series of metal rings attached to his waist, flanked by Greg Sestero and Paul Scheer, threw out garbled platitudes and nonsensical one liners, which the crowd ate up.
Scheer has a brief cameo in the film, but perhaps even more relevant for such a surreal event, is a professional improviser. At one point Tommy attempted to bring out a band called The Neighborhood, who debuted a music video starring Wiseau before the film, though he got the band members confused with the theater staff, possibly due to his dark sunglasses.
Conspicuously absent was the actual director of Best F(r)iends, Justin MacGregor, who was present only as a name at the end of the credits. Which lead some in attendance to wonder whether he even existed.
“He was in Vancouver,” Sestero, who also wrote Best F(r)iends, texted me after the event. “He saw The Room when he was 16 and we really clicked on movies we liked and what kind of film we wanted to make — not trying to recreate The Room but attempt to make film with a totally different feel and take Tommy seriously.”
Oh right, Tommy. What was that I said about him not answering questions?
“I enjoyed to do acting,” Tommy said at one point, drawing snickers from the audience over his unique syntax and verb conjugation. Which in turn prompted mild but clearly visible indignation from Tommy.
When asked what happened to Lisa’s mother in The Room, who matter-of-factly tells Lisa “I definitely have breast cancer,” and then mysteriously disappears from the story, Tommy responded “Love is blind.”
And then a beat later, “She survive, for God’s sake!”
Another audience member asked Tommy’s favorite Burt Reynolds movie. “I take my fifth,” Tommy said. “In America, we have choice.”
Asked his favorite genre of movie, and favorite movie of that genre, Tommy starts in with a diatribe. “When you talk about comedy, you talk about drama. When you talk about drama, you talk about comedy, I don’t know if you know that.”
“I don’t know if you know that” is one of Tommy’s, and the crowd’s, favorite Tommyisms, a verbal tic that is at once child-like and pedantic.