Tommy Wiseau Loses $700,000 Lawsuit Related to The Room Documentary Room Full of SpoonsMovies News Tommy Wiseau
After years of endless stalling and attempts to turn back the clock, The Room’s Tommy Wiseau is finally being forced to pay up to the documentary filmmakers who have spent almost a decade trying to complete and release the film A Room Full of Spoons. Today, a Canadian court has ordered Wiseau pay a total of $700,000 to the Room Full of Spoons team for his repeated attempts to delay and thwart the film’s release. Wiseau’s motivation? He reportedly found the documentary “unflattering.”
A Room Full of Spoons began its initial production in 2011 after amateur filmmaker Rick Harper first met Wiseau and co-star Greg Sestero. The entire process is detailed in a long, sprawling Reddit post by user “cannonfunk,” which is too long to summarize in its entirety here, but suffice to say, Wiseau quickly went from being a supporter of the documentary to its primary opposition. He had apparently thought that Room Full of Spoons would be the equivalent of a puff piece, chronicling screenings of The Room as cult sensation and Wiseau as the mysterious impresario screening it. When Wiseau found out that the filmmakers were speaking with various performers and behind-the-scenes crew involved in the film’s production, however he quickly changed his tune.
One of the most interesting of those people has been Sandy Schklair, the original script supervisor on The Room, who was played in James Franco’s The Disaster Artist by Seth Rogen. Schklair has become rather infamous in recent years among The Room fans for his subsequent claims that he was the true director of the film, having been hired by Wiseau to supervise the script but essentially given the duty of day-to-day director. He even wrote a book to this effect, titled Yes, I Directed The Room: The Truth About Directing the “Citizen Kane of Bad Movies”, in which he claims to have directed every frame of footage seen in the film. Likewise, he makes the somewhat confusing claim to have intentionally directed the film’s actors poorly, essentially claiming to have sabotaged the movie from within. However, several members of The Room’s cast have since refuted Schklair’s claims via social media, saying that Wiseau was indeed directing scenes of The Room.
Regardless, it’s clear that Wiseau didn’t want these types of discussions seeing the light of day, so he filed suit and obtained an injunction in Toronto, on the grounds that Room Full of Spoons violated his copyright through its use of clips from The Room. After a January trial filled with bizzarity—Wiseau dismissed multiple lawyers, attempted to give testimony via videoconference and refused to give his address to a judge at one point—Ontario Superior Court Judge Paul Schabas finally ruled in favor of Harper and the documentary filmmakers. The claims of copyright infringement were denied, with the ruling stating they fell under “fair dealing,” which is the equivalent of “fair use” in the U.S.
“In my view this action was brought for the improper purpose of preventing the release of a documentary disliked by Tommy Wiseau,” said Judge Schabas in his statement. “Much of Wiseau’s testimony was simply assertions without more. He avoided answering many questions and complained about the process. Wiseau gave lengthy self-serving answers in re-examination.”
Ultimately, Schabas ordered Wiseau to pay $550,000 to the filmmakers to make up for lost revenue from the film’s stalled release, which had been timed around the 2017 release of The Disaster Artist. Wiseau was also ordered to pay an additional $140,000 in punitive damages, due to his especially “oppressive and outrageous” court conduct and behavior toward the documentarians.
Does this mean we’ll finally be seeing Room Full of Spoons arriving in an easily consumed format? The film had previously played only at select film festivals—the fests where legal pressure from Tommy didn’t result in the movie being withdrawn. Suffice to say, there are a lot of The Room fans out there who will be very curious to finally sneak a peek.