Greg Sestero's Book, published earlier this year, tells Johnny's story through parable.
The story is revealed through a recollection of a story Johnny apparently told Greg whilst they lived together, during the years they were both supporting each other.
Because Greg is able to filter the tale through the of I'm-Stitching-Different-Bits-Of-The-Stories-He's-Told-Me lens, it's implied the story may have been slightly embellished to support the essence of the story.
The 'hero' of the story is simply referred to as T___, and later 'Thomas' however, and given the context of the book there is no way this isn't intended to be Tommy's life story, its simply some legal footwork and interesting storytelling.
It certainly explains his accent, origin, name and speculates on his wealth with credible ballast.
I'd like someone to edit in and Spoilerbox this, because I'm only going to be able to produce a brief summary of the story. The way the story unfolds during the book is exceptional, and for many people it will be worth reading the book to experience the pay-off of this information provides.
It's 'implied' that T___ came from an undisclosed former Soviet Bloc country, where he was greatly impoverished. He was beaten as a child, possibly due to him being considered in some way deficient or lacking in behavioral faculties.
This only galvanized his passion to escape from his environment, and he quickly focused on America as being the most salient alternative, in respect of the fact it was considered the total opposite of Soviet Europe: this was clearly during the early stages of the Cold War, which helps with placing when this happened.
Eventually, he was able to secure a 'way' into France, for him and a cousin. This is where Tommy was able to create a new identity for himself, and started learning the French Language.
T___ and his cousin acquired work, illegally, cleaning a restaurant; sleeping on the concrete floor of the basement and stealing food to survive.
T___ 's cousin was caught by the authorities, apparently after the management supplied/co-operated with his extradition back to his original country. It is unclear why T___ wasn't taken too, but Wisseau apparently claims that the character was 'popular with ladies'.
Having seen Tommy Wisseau, I hope this was part was a piece of the story's 'Embellishment'; or there is no god.
'He Looks like a rotting pig' - My Girlfriend.
Tommy was beaten and attacked by various authorities, as the harassment of illegal immigrants was considered 'sport' in the part of France T__ was staying. It is implied he may have had to perform sexual favors for members of both gender at this point, albeit to 'survive' instead of as a sexual preference.
However, earlier in the book, attention is drawn to the fact that the first night Greg Sestero spent in Tommy's flat,he was possibly goaded with chicken calls (Chieep! !Chieepchiepe!) for not joining Tommy in bed. Sestero dismisses this as 'just Tommy being Tommy', as though it could have been a joke, but its interesting it's mentioned. It leaves a certain ambiguity to the orientation of his sexuality.
Eventually, T___ recieves sponsorship from an American, Drew Caffrey.
Now this figure is quite mysterious,and his motives are never fully revealed, but he eventually was given a production credit for his financial contribution to the project and a casting credit for the Movie, despite the fact he was dead. It is unknown why he played his role in bringing T__ to America, but its ultimately irrelevant.
After moving to America, T__ fully embraced his new American Identity, becoming fiercely patriotic of his adoptive homeland and deliberately evasive over his personal history.
He becomes xenophobic towards any European Country, as a protection mechanism against speculation to his background. It isn't very convincing.
After a brief foray into education, he moves to San Francisco. The vibrant atmosphere and social scene are cited as luring him there, so this could be the late 1960's and early 1970's.
Once he arrives, he gets a job selling model bird 'boomerangs' on the pier; T__ is remarkably adept at piloting and demonstrating these birds, and quickly gains local fame for his incredible skill and showmanship.
T__ adopts the name 'Thomas' to sound more American, and (in a rare moment of deference to his immigrant status) decides on the foreign surname 'Wiseau'.
This is a corruption of the French word 'Oiseau', meaning Bird.
Tommy Wiseau = Thomas the Bird Man
Eventually, Thomas realizes that he is the functional component of the operation, and ceases to become and Vendor by acquiring supplies directly, and becoming a business owner.
He establishes strong links with Chinese Toy Companies, whom make cheap street vendor nick-nacs and souvenirs. These links strengthen, possibly because Tommy Wiseau is genuinely an incredibly shrewd businessman.
He moves into Yo-yo sales, Pleather jackets, and eventually into retail.
Over time his business expands and he takes over various premises, forming an empire called 'Street Fashions USA', of which he creates his own commercials.
Later in his life, he is discussing his mutual love of actors and cinema with Drew Caffrey, and somehow Tommy is inspired to pursue this as a career.
He attends acting classes, and is subsequently ridiculed, for his captivating, clueless performances. He believes himself to be channeling the 'Passion' of James Dean and Marlon Brando, but is widely received as just being totally, balls off the wall insane by his audience.
Greg presents himself as being charmed by this character, and chooses to work with him 'for the experience'.
Eventually the two support each other, Wiseau eventually allowing Greg Sestero to move into one of his apartments in LA, for very little rent.
It becomes clear that Tommy is trying to piggy back on Greg's success, especially Greg's role in Retro Puppet Master.
The rest, as they say....
If you want to know how all this ties into The Room, you'll honestly just have to read the book.
I've done a huge information dump here, but there's SO MUCH MORE in the book, this is barely skimming.