tommy wiseau documentary

Tommy Wiseau, the filmmaker behind the 2003 cult film The Room, has spent years dodging questions about his age and nationality – and a court has ruled that he went a step too far to protect that information.

A new report says Wiseau must pay $700,000 to the makers of a documentary about The Room because of his “oppressive and outrageous” behavior toward the directors; Wiseau didn’t like what they were going to uncover about him, so he thwarted the release of their movie, which was intended to come out in 2017 around the same time that James Franco The Disaster Artist was hitting theaters.

Variety has all the details about this wild story. The documentary is called Room Full of Spoons – a reference to the framed photos of spoons that inexplicably appear in Wiseau’s character’s apartment in The Room. (If you don’t know what The Room is, I encourage you to seek it out for no other reason than its novelty. The details of this story will also make a bit more sense if you have an idea about Wiseau’s eccentric personality.) Wiseau filed a lawsuit in Canada to stop the release of the documentary, claiming that it violated his copyright by using clips from The Room and invaded his privacy by revealing information about his past that he was trying to keep secret.

But a judge disagreed, ruling that the filmmakers were legally allowed to show clips from the movie according to Canada’s “fair dealing” doctrine, which is equivalent to the U.S.’s “fair use” policy. Ontario Superior Court Judge Paul Schabas essentially called out Wiseau for trying to block a documentary that he found unflattering, and accused him of trying to protect his own financial interest in The Disaster Artist. As for the invasion of privacy claim surrounding the publication of Wiseau’s birth name, birthplace, and birth date, that was dismissed as well: Schabas said that it wasn’t illegal because the info was available from public sources. “Wiseau may be sensitive about this information because he has cultivated an aura of mystery around it, but disclosure of these facts is not, objectively speaking, something which can be described as ‘highly offensive,'” he said.

The judge ordered that Wiseau pay filmmakers Richard Harper, Fernando Forero McGrath, Mark Racicot, and Richard Towns $550,000 in lost revenue and $140,000 in punitive damages.

I encourage you to read the full piece at Variety, which touches on Wiseau’s erratic behavior at the trial in January and the fact that when the documentary filmmakers tried to license The Room footage from him, Wiseau demanded final cut on their film and said it needed “more positivity by at least 60 percent.”

Room Full of Spoons is now seeking distribution, and I’m sure this is how Wiseau is feeling right about now:

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