When discussing the merits, or demerits, of the The Room, only one name comes to mind: Tommy Wiseau. The mysterious mad man is credited with starring, writing, producing and directing the 2003 film that’s so bad it’s become a midnight pop culture phenomenon. However, in the February 18 issue of Entertainment Weekly, some new facts have come to light that question if Wiseau actually directed his movie.
Veteran filmmaker Sandy Schklair was hired as a script supervisor and, according to him, he was also asked by Wiseau to more or less direct the movie. Schklair and one of the actors have come out and said Wiseau was too busy acting to actually do his directorial duties such as talk to the actors or make sense of the script. And now – as crazy as it might sound – Schklair wants a directing credit on the film. Read more about this controversy after the jump.
In the EW article (which is not online yet) Schklair tells the story of how Wiseau met him in 2002 and asked him to not only be the script supervisor but also to “tell the actors what to do, and yell ‘Action’ and ‘Cut’ and tell the cameraman what shots to get.” Here’s the exchange, according to Schklair:
Schklair: “Umm…you want me to direct your project?”
Wiseau: “No! I am director!”
Schklair: “Yeah, you’re the director, whatever. But you want me to direct your movie for you?”
Wiseau: “Yes, please.”
Wiseau denies that conversation ever took place or that Schklair directed the movie:
I will never give this guy credit. He did not direct the movie. He was hired as a script supervisor. If he was my assistant, so be it. But direct? I don’t think so.
But you can’t just take one man’s word on something of this magnitude. EW spoke to one of the actors from the film, who chose to remain anonymous, and they backed up Schklair’s claims:
The script supervisor ended up sort of directing the movie. Tommy was so busy being an actor that this other guy directed the whole thing.
According to Schklair, actors would come up to him with the script and a panicked look on their face because it was “unintelligible.” “Please Sandy for the love of God rewrite this so it makes sense,” they would say.
Schklair believes it was him, not Wiseau, who embraced the awfulness of the script and infused it with the level of comedy that is so prevalent in the movie. “Yes we were making the world’s worst movie,” Schklair told EW. “But we knew it at the time. I embraced The Room.” Unfortunately (or fortunately) for Schkalir, he quit the film after a month and remained silent about his role until he finally realized how big it had gotten as a cult classic.
Currently, Schklair is working on the upcoming TNT show Franklin & Bash and it was co-star Malcolm McDowell who told him to come out to the press. And while it might not seem like a great thing to be credited with a movie as bad as The Room, Schklair sees it as an opportunity to get his name out there.
The EW article doesn’t reveal what Schklair next action will be. Hypothetically he could do a number of things including suing or petitioning the Director’s Guild. Even if he did do a lot of directing on the set, though, it would probably be tough to get something changed this late in the game. Just from reading his accounts of what actually happened on set, it seems it could be argued that maybe he served more as a First Assistant Director or that by quitting the project in the middle, he forfeited any benefits. Plus, the fact that he has only come out now, eight years after the film was first released, does feel a bit like a cash grab. Either way, just add another interesting tidbit to the behind the scenes story of one of the worst movies ever loved: The Room.