During the Gasparilla International Film Festival, Shannon had the chance to speak with actor and filmmaker Tommy Wiseau about his latest film in which he plays a mortician. Directed by his friend Greg Sestero, BEST F(R)IENDS tells the story of a drifter who befriends a quirky mortician, resulting in an unlikely business partnership that triggers the fragility of of friendship and loyalty. During the interview, Shannon and Tommy talked about everything from working in a real life mortuary to the real life story surrounding the inception of this film.
Nightmarish Conjurings: Hi Tommy, how are you?
Tommy Wiseau: Good, how are you?
Nightmarish Conjurings: Good! Thank you so much for speaking with me today!
TW: Sure, no problem.
Nightmarish Conjurings: To start things off, can you tell us a little bit about the film BEST F(R)IENDS and your character Harvey Lewis?
TW: It’s something different from THE ROOM, I don’t want to spoil what it’s about but just basically I’m playing character [inaudible] death people left after we die, what happens to you. My character Harvey, he does the ritual towards these people, dead people… [inaudible] who respect the dignity you know etc., etc. This was a learning I never done none of this before, so I think the character is pretty cool. Greg [Sestero] did a pretty good job to tell the story.
Nightmarish Conjurings: This was the first time you and Greg Sestero worked together since THE ROOM. Was was that experience like and are you both hoping to collaborate with each other again in the future?
TW: Yes, definitely. We actually be doing another movie within 2 or 3 months.
Nightmarish Conjurings: Oh really?
Nightmarish Conjurings: That’s great! Can you talk about what it’s about?
TW: I cannot tell you about the story here but Greg asked me so definitely I’ll be working with him again. I think he explores his set of talent, like I will say we all have it, but I don’t want to praise him too much, but we will see what happens tonight at the screening. You should interview some people after they see BEST F(R)IENDS, that’s what I would suggest.
Nightmarish Conjurings: BEST F(R)IENDS is based off a story that Greg had written about a road trip that you two took. Can you elaborate on that a bit and how it relates to the film?
TW: Yeah, we took a trip and were like let’s have fun. Greg states this publicly but it’s a little exaggeration. He thought I wanted to kill him and that he wanted to kill me, but that was an exaggeration because I was just kidding you know? Now it’s come out to this little story. But this story wasn’t the story. That inspired Greg to write the script as well as to make the movie and I think it’s a good story overall. We took the trip and we are having fun and those couple moments I feel very uncomfortable and I say, “You wanna kill me, what’s going on here?” But you know, it’s a fun thing to say because we got lost too, in the trip. I don’t know, are you familiar with Napa Valley? So yeah, it was fun, we played basketball…
Nightmarish Conjurings: Basketball is always fun right?!
TW: Yeah! We talked about our lives, about this, about that. We picked up a couple of girls, you know we have fun, etc. etc. So it was very exciting, to sing in the car, that was fun. That’s the thing that is very touching and I’m very proud of him that he can come up with ideas you know? As actors and filmmakers we always need someone or something to trigger our talent you know? I think that was his idea of just saying, “Okay I”m writing this script.” The reaction is there but let me stress this again that BEST F(R)IENDS is probably different thing from THE ROOM, nothing to do with THE ROOM in the first place.
Nightmarish Conjurings: Your character works in a mortuary. What was that experience like and did you do any research?
TW: The fact was that was the real deal. That was a real facility where they are actually bringing dead people I guess for cremation or preparation of whatever it takes or has to be done and guess what? One of us one time on the set they bring in real person, it’s a dead person.
Nightmarish Conjurings: Oh no!
TW: That was very eerie in the sense that to realize that. That the person was dead and we are filming the scene ya know? That was so eerie. Also the lab, and you will see different sets within the movie, and the lab scene is the real deal, so a real facility for cremation etc. taking care of dead people. I studied a little bit on whose the person, the character as well, what’s happening after we dead. I was just completely shocked, my God, this experience where the dead person showed up was very eerie for us. Speaking for everyone but including myself it was wild.
Nightmarish Conjurings: Were there any moment during the filming of BEST F(R)IENDS that were your favorite or any scenes that resonated with you?
TW: Yeah, one of the things I’m gonna say is with the script – I actually memorized the script. I don’t have best scene or best scenes but the good moment was the time when we was filming on the end of the movie when I caught him [Greg Sestero’s character] stealing money, basically, like he want to rip me off within the movie and I think that was the interaction because he prepared this monologue apology letter and I think it’s very good, like a collection between two people. You make mistake and you are sorry for yourself with what you did. So I like that scene, was very touching scene, you will see it.
Nightmarish Conjurings: The movie has a lot of underlying themes such as the importance of friendship and loyalty.
TW: Absolutely, you are right, friendship before money. This was a betray. Again I would say a creative process of original material is very important if you create something. So the story triggered the trip but it was all an exaggeration with killing stuff and I think so out of proportion. I stick with the story because it is true, it’s a true story.
Nightmarish Conjurings: Things have been so crazy yet amazing for you lately. You’ve gone from the cult following of THE ROOM, to everything with THE DISASTER ARTIST, and now you have BEST F(R)IENDS. What has this experience been like?
TW: As I mentioned earlier we will be working on another project within 2-3 months and we will announce to everyone. I like the creative process but I like also the marketing strategy as well as to interact between us, public, and fans of THE ROOM, because right now we are few categories of people who support us. I think also media, what I’ve noticed the last two years, people are getting much more excited about how we conduct ourselves and they like it. Let me take this opportunity to thank all the fans of THE ROOM worldwide, see THE ROOM, have fun, thank you.