News / Ottawa

Ottawa-Gatineau filmmakers document worldwide appeal of cult classic The Room

Room Full of Spoons, directed by an Ottawa-area filmmaker, uncovers secrets about the man behind what has been described as "the Citizen Kane of bad movies."

The Room star Tommy Wiseau interacts with his fans outside the Ziegfeld theatre in 2011. Ottawa-area filmmakers mad a documentary about Wiseau's cult classic and its popularity around the world.

Photo courtesy Rockhaven Pictures

The Room star Tommy Wiseau interacts with his fans outside the Ziegfeld theatre in 2011. Ottawa-area filmmakers mad a documentary about Wiseau's cult classic and its popularity around the world.

For almost 13 years nobody had really looked into the back story about how The Room, considered the worst movie of all time, become a worldwide cult classic. 

Now, a team of intrepid Ottawa-area filmmakers have filled that void with their new documentary, Room Full of Spoons.

After first seeing the film in 2010 and after Entertainment Weekly described it as “the Citizen Kane of bad movies,” director Rick Harper wanted to document the phenomenon since interest in it, unpredictably, increased over the years.

Ottawa’s oldest movie theatre, The Mayfair, still screens the film, which is a spectacle in itself. Following a ritual that started several years ago in the U.S., moviegoers openly mock the movie and every time there is a spoon on screen, they yell “spoons” and hurl their own plastic spoons at the screen.

“It’s not even a movie, it’s an event,” said Harper in an interview Tuesday. 

“It immediately blew me away. Everything I was seeing on screen, it was just mesmerizing. Part of you has to wonder if it was done on purpose.

“The acting is horrible, all the characters … speak the same, they all have the same idiosyncrasies.”

Fans interact with the screening of The Room at New York's Ziegfeld theatre in 2011.

Photo courtesy Rockhaven Pictures

Fans interact with the screening of The Room at New York's Ziegfeld theatre in 2011.

Not to be confused with the 2015 Oscar-nominated film Room, Tommy Wiseau stars in The Room as Johnny, a San Francisco banker who is betrayed by his best friend who has an affair with his fiancée.

The documentary took Harper and his team across the U.S. and Europe to interview fans, the film’s crew, and even its mysterious director. 

Much to the chagrin of Wiseau, Harper said his documentary answers some burning questions that fans have wondered ever since the movie was released: where does Wiseau come from and where did he get the $6 million to finance the infamous film?

“He’s a very secretive person and for years he has tried to avoid telling people where he’s from. He had a really, really think European accent, but claims he’s from New Orleans,” said Harper.

“We actually go to Eastern Europe where he’s from and meet with his family members. That was a big revelation in the documentary.”

After its world premiere at Madrid's Cine Cutre film festival in January, the documentary will have its Ottawa premiere on March 23.

The opportune release of the documentary comes with the anticipated Hollywood production of The Disaster Artist, a James Franco-directed film about the making of The Room, starring Seth Rogen and Bryan Cranston.

Making the documentary, Harper admitted, did ruffle some feathers with Wiseau, whom he befriended after meeting him at the Mayfair.

“There is unfortunately some delusions of grandeur there because he feels that everything was done on purpose and that he’s worthy of all the success that he’s getting and while the movie isn’t a two-hour mockery of Tommy Wiseau or of The Room, it is very informative and heartfelt in certain moments as well,” said Harper.

“He feels that he deserves more credit and that some of the things that people say about him are unjustified. Of course he wants too happy with the fact that I uncovered where he’s from.”

The Ottawa screening will be at 7 p.m. on March 23 at Silver City. Visit roomfullofspoons.com for more information. 

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