Ever since The Room became a critically panned cult classic, its star and director Tommy Wiseau has been leveraging the fan love into other gigs and products. His website sells all The Room merch one might expect (shirts, posters, footballs), as well as a line of unisex underwear with "TOMMY WISEAU" prominently displayed on the waistband of each pair. So I wasn't entirely surprised when I heard about a new dating site catering primarily to fans of The Room.
On the surface, TheRoomDating.com sounds cute, if not a bit niche—a place for fans of the film to congregate and find love. Sure, the interface looks like it was built in the Myspace era, with all its widgets and sidebar menus, but it's got all the standard-issue components for a dating site.
Once you make an account, you can choose to connect with boys, girls, or The Room movie fans. You can also select whether you're there for friends, chatting, dates, felatio [sic], or whatever "vampire cutting" is. Then there's a "3D chat" function, which puts you in a 3D-rendered penthouse overlooking the ocean while a demonic voiceover of Tim Curry from the 1985 film Legend narrates: "Beneath the skin, we are already one. Was it not your sin that trapped the unicorn? Even now, the evil seed of what you've done germinates within you."
For a dating site purportedly for fans of The Room, though, TRD has scant few nods to its namesake film. Besides the aforementioned checkbox to connect with other fans, the only real connections to the movie I could find were on the site's social-media pages (like a "tearing apart" reference on the Twitter page). Even weirder, when I looked up the site's domain registration, it appeared to be registered to none other than Greg Sestero, Wiseau's longtime friend and co-star in The Room.
Every answer I sought about this website only yielded more questions. I reached out to Sestero, but he did not return multiple requests for an interview. So in a desperate Hail Mary, I reached out to Wiseau himself—and surprisingly, he agreed to talk to me.
Here is the transcript of our phone call. All very much [sic].
VICE: I came across the site the other day and wondered if it was real and if you were behind it. Are you?
Tommy Wiseau: What are you referring to?
Oh. So what we're doing there… Well, we're promoting the underwear. I don't know if you know, but I'm the designer as well.
**Yes, the "open style" ones? [Editor's note: **Wiseau's assistant had mentioned that the underwear was called this in an email before setting up the call.]
No. TommyWiseau.com. The underwear.
Yes. I was told by your guy you called them "open style underwear."
No, I'm not familiar with that one.
OK. Sorry about that.
You go to TommyWiseau.com… I've been doing this for five years actually. And we are trying to promoting in a different way. And I think one of the ways we are promoting is TheRoomDating.com, and they have a tremendous response there, so this is one of the, you know, territories where it happens, basically.
So did you, yourself, set up TheRoomDating.com, or did a third party?
Well, I think it's from third party. You know, I'm promoting underwear, as I mentioned. So that's what we're doing here.
I appreciate the opportunity to link up with you about that but—
We'll see what happens.
Right. Well, can you tell me more about how your underwear fits into dating, then?
Well, my design is very unique. There's a special pocket inside the underwear. It's for ladies as well as for guys. We've had really great response. As you probably know, I travel across the country once a month for special events. You can go to TheRoomMovie.com and, next time, we're actually going to Portland, we've just come back from Philadelphia. Actually The Room right now is much bigger than ever. I don't know why, but I think it's good.
Yeah. Why question success?
[Laughs] So basically, either way, you have 100 percent cotton. Actually 95 percent with the spandex, which is 5 percent, and it's very comfy. And we have three different styles, actually three different styles, actually six different styles, but it's typical two styles. Three styles. Like a brief, boxer, and… as well as… um…
No. And also trunks. Also we have a style called "open style." Like the fly you open. But we have a really great response. I may open a store. I'm not sure yet. I have a lot going on. I'm working, as you know, on [my web series] The Neighbors, and we're doing a vampire movie.
Oh? You're working on a vampire movie too?
Mmhm. Well, it's the first one. Not two.
I meant "also," not the number two.
That's what I meant, too. [Laughs] That's funny. Sometimes on the phone, when you talk, it's funny. So that's basically pretty exciting. As I said, we have a tremendous TheRoomDating.com response, and my understanding is it's really beneficial for us to promote the underwear in a way. The concept is like you meet someone, you go to see The Room, or vice versa. I think with different couples we'll see what happens.
But how do you think you can grow a whole relationship out of a shared love of one movie?
What do you mean?
OK, what would you say is the best way The Room and the site can bring people together?
You know, The Room, I discovered, also, you know, as I mentioned, we have many events called "special events" right now while we're touring: 2016 Love is Blind Tour. I've noticed that some people actually meet at The Room. They're strangers; they have a similar [interest] in common.
For many years, as you probably know, the media was very brutal with us. They didn't understand the micro-activity. For example, some of the actors, they still have some kind of delusional ideas about The Room. Basically, you know, I create The Room, attempt to have fun with it. They don't understand that. They think, Oh, it happened by accident. Well, nothing happens by accident. They can't be behind the scenes of The Room. As you probably know, we released the Blu-ray as well as DVD, so you can see my work. Let me give you an example. I always like to give examples. That's the best way. "The script did not exist." Y'know? [Laughs] It's laughable. It's just complete— You have a segment of America, as well worldwide, and people believe this garbage. It's completely garbage, you know. And it's very disrespectful, you know? And I don't care if they don't like my movie. That's fine with me, but it's not right when people are doing some kind of propaganda. "Oh, the script does not exist. He did not know what he was doing." You know, I've experienced 20 years in the movie industry directly and indirectly, you know? And I can survive to make movies basically, to be an actor. So, I love it. That's my passion.
Do you feel that's mostly just people not understanding your vision?
They don't. That's the problem. You see, even today, the media actually prefers to talk about some kind of issue with all the culture instead of figuring out what The Room is about. The Room, in my view, is part of culture actually, directly and indirectly. We've got people who really love us, you know? Actually we get good numbers, you know? For example, Philadelphia, we had more than 1,200 people. So it was spectacular—they actually did an extra screening Saturday because it was all sold out, you see. So people don't see positive things about The Room. But it actually connects people, directly and indirectly, and I'm always promoting it. I've been promoting it the past 13 years, 14 years, and I want people to have fun with it. They don't understand the concept, and it's sad, you know? That's not my concern actually, though, because I'm happy. [Laughs]
I can personally attest to The Room connecting people. It's not a love story, but when—
Actually speaking of love, since you mentioned it, Justin, we have a couple—that I know of, OK, so I don't know how many are out there—but I know of at least two people who got married because of The Room, directly and indirectly. I didn't ask, though, because I'm a very respectful person. That's another thing people don't understand about me but never mind about that.
When I first moved to Los Angeles, I went to a screening of The Room, and I ended up meeting a guy who would become one of my best friends, and through him, I started writing professionally. So I owe my career to you, in a way.
Oh wow! I did not know I would learn this today.
Yep. We met at The Room.
Well, hopefully you liked it.
I love it. That's why we're talking now. But back to you. Are you currently dating anyone?
Yeah, I have a relationship, and I think that we all need it. It's a part of our nature if you really think about it. I always encourage people, you know, to have— Actually, last time at a screening of The Room, I stayed and said, "If you don't know anybody, don't worry about it. Just when you're sitting in the theater." At the time of the screening, I said, "Say hello to the guy or person next to you in the seat, just for fun." I don't know how that turned out, but I noticed people have fun with The Room, you know? And that's the idea behind it, you know? Sometimes people ask me, "Do you want to change anything about The Room?" and I say, "Hey, I would not change anything." Of course I would not use two cameras—waste of money—but by the same token, you know, I don't think I would change so much.
Back to dating, though, what's the most romantic thing you've ever done for someone else?
What do you mean by that?
Well, going off The Room itself, you're a bit of a romantic at heart, no?
Yeah. What I did to my own life? Huh, that's a good one. Well, I did go to Hawaii with a person. [Laughs] And I paid for the ticket! I like to go for dinner sometimes. You know, basic stuff. You can be kind to the person. Help the person with her affairs in the date. But there's also a limitation to what you can do, you know? People thought it's tricky to be there in a relationship—they can do whatever they want. I don't think people balance right. I go by my studies of psychology 101. Again, that involves everybody: politicians, actors, lawyers, and others. Writers, etc. We don't have the same thing, but we have a tendency within the society to criticize, always think we do the right thing, but mostly people who I notice who criticize. Actually, to me, they're behind schedule. So you have to be, you have to balance it. Because if somebody criticizes your writing or my movie, all that behavior, there's nothing wrong with that. It actually helps it. But it also limits how a person, he or she, will conduct within the prejudice. Is this their hatred, or a bully, etc.
We have a lot of situations with some other writers where they bully like crazy because mostly writers or reporters, you probably know—that's what I know—they wanna be a big star like a rock star. You probably know about it. So, again, you can see this in American politics right now. When a reporter asks questions and some of those questions are completely off the wall, which there is nothing that calls for that.
Hopefully nothing has been too off the wall for you here today.
No, not yet, but we'll see what happens. [Laughs] Sometimes we have an event at the university, right? And they write me sometimes, especially kids and students, and they ask me questions and I say, "Hey, it's not appropriate, that." And they are very surprised. If you don't like my movie, that's OK. I still love you. It's no problem because, you see, it's important to be honest, you know. But, I always say: You may not like my movie, The Room, but eventually, maybe, you find something that is funny and you say, "Well, maybe I enjoy a little bit."
There's something in it for everyone.
I'm not expecting everybody to enjoy The Room, you know. That's why when I designed Tommy Wiseau website, when we actually working on it, we only have one category, The Room section. But we wanna condense everything, just to tackle all the public who maybe don't like The Room. People have their own preference.
I'll close on one more question about dating, as that's the focus of this piece here. What would you suggest as the perfect first date for two people who met on TheRoomDating.com?
I think the best thing is don't think too much about it and be respectful. It's a dilemma with getting it to work. So first you have to have respect for the person and then don't expect much. Be honest. And go to TommyWiseau.com and buy new underwear, which is very easy to wash, et cetera. So, you know. Let me just end out on this word. If a lot of people love one another, the world would be a better place to live. Thank you very much, I love you all.
Follow Justin Caffier on Twitter.