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Can anyone find some definitive information about where Tommy Wiseau (director of the "movie" THE ROOM) is from and/or his age?

Please do not just link to his wikipedia page. That does not help. A "hack" out of nowhere who claims to be from Transylvania, with not much info surrounding him, nonetheless completed a $6,000,000 film shot both on HD and film.

How do we NOT know more about this guy?

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The wiki page claims he started a clothing company, leveraged its earnings to move into retail real estate, and used the profits for that to fund his movie. Is there a specific reason you think that this doesn't add up? It's mostly unverified, that's true, but it isn't downright implausible. –  Avner Shahar-Kashtan Jan 4 at 18:27
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Are you asking for biographical data? Or are you asking how this hack/weirdo came up with $6 million? The wording makes this kinda sound like a rant. –  Oliver_C Jan 4 at 22:26
    
Seems like a question that should be able to be answered in a few words. Not a whole book I need to decode. Where is he from? –  Meat Trademark Jan 4 at 22:36
    
"Seems like a question that should be able to be answered in a few words." - The reactions to the question suggest that it isn't, though (or at least isn't worded as such). –  Napoleon Wilson Jan 5 at 2:51
    
So with the information provided in Disaster Artist it should be possible to narrow down the countries he could be from. We know that it is an ex-Soviet Central European country. –  user7495 Jan 6 at 23:29

4 Answers 4

WE DO.

Greg Sestero's Book, published earlier this year, tells Johnny's story through parable.

enter image description here

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.

enter image description here

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.

enter image description here

'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.

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... but if you want a 'no research/context included answer, or you can't be bothered reading, the short answer is 'an undisclosed soviet bloc country', and not 'New Orleans' as Wikipedia states. –  John Smith Optional Jan 4 at 22:36
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Woah, easy there. No one has said anything about it being wrong to ask this question, I'm not trying to sideline anything, I was trying to be helpful and explain what The Disaster Artist, probably our best resource, has to say on the matter of Tommy's personal history. As far as the book is concerned, he's purposefully never disclosed this information and he's the only person who ever could. Sorry if you want more than this, but it's not out there...yet. –  John Smith Optional Jan 4 at 23:09
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You're not the only one that's been trying to figure this out, but if someone goes to the lengths that Tommy Wiseau has gone to to conceal his identity (he even obtained a US drivers licence that stated he born in New Orleans in 1968), its unlikely anything but lifting the legal privilege of his privacy will ever officially confirm his place of birth. The Story above, however, is Tommy's life from the horse's mouth: albeit manipulated by Sestero and Bissel for 'neatness'. Unless Tommy choses to elaborate, or rebuke this, we'll never know any more. –  John Smith Optional Jan 4 at 23:21
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Your answer is literally over a thousand words. That's overkill for this question. I was hoping against hope someone had an answer. Preferably one much shorter and not including Tommy's ass. –  Meat Trademark Jan 6 at 12:17
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Also, your original question was simply 'What's the deal with Tommy Wiseau?'...ha ha ha ;) I'm surprised you weren't expecting psychological evaluations and behavioral prognosis reports, I know students that have tried to write essays on the possible reasons for his characteristics... Vampire is the most credible of these, ha ha ha. –  John Smith Optional Jan 6 at 12:34

Nobody knows, as Tommy has deliberately obscured his past so no-one can legally trace him.

In The Disaster Artist, Greg Sestero's book about the background and making of The Room, a story about an Eastern European immigrant to America is told through parable, but its function is to be interpreted as Tommy Wiseau's life story. This is merely a device to avoid certain litigious ramifications of publication.

In this story, the immigrant boy is sponsored to move to America by an American named Drew Caffrey, of whom little research/journalism has been conducted.

The immigrant boy forsakes his previous identity, enjoying his legal privilege of privacy to retroactively remove any trace of his original identity and refusing to acknowledge he was from anywhere other than New Orleans.

Drew Caffrey, his only link to his pre-American identity, is dead. The truth probably died with him, unless Wiseau makes some kind of public confession, undoing all the work he's achieved since immigration.

[Little experiment: See which answer gets the most votes]

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I had to +1 it on principal, now didn't I? As experiments go, to be a valid test the answers would have had to go live at the same time, not a day apart. Still. I like the spirit. –  Meat Trademark Jan 6 at 13:21
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THE WORST IS SEEING HIS LUMPY ASS EVERY TIME I HAVE TO SCROLL THROUGH! "He looks like 'Rambo' from UHF!" -RiffTrax –  Meat Trademark Jan 6 at 15:02
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Nah, I get the spirit of debate, and it played out towards answers, so yey! Just out of curiosity, where do you think he comes from? maybe there's a stack where you could ask a linguist for their interpretation? he's certainly not American, and doesn't actually speak French? –  John Smith Optional Jan 6 at 15:05
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@MeatTrademark only at Christian's request! :) 'the second answer could surely use at least some of the information from the first answer'.. I'm trying to keep this as collaborative as possible, and he gives good advice! –  John Smith Optional Jan 6 at 16:25
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I've opened this, hoping some linguist might be able to weigh in... –  John Smith Optional Jan 6 at 16:38
up vote 3 down vote accepted

Wow! Someone on Reddit has apparently done all the research!

A Redditor sleuth has unraveled the mystery of Tommy Wiseau's nationality

From the original full post: "I believe Tommy is Polish."

This guy hunted down clues from The Disaster Artist, including Tommy's "uncle Stanley and his aunt Katherine" from New Orleans and found their obituaries. Their last name was Wieczor, fairly close to Wiseau.

Being Polish would also match with several other points from the book: 1. Tommy is apparently from an Eastern Bloc country 2. He is Roman Catholic, Poland 96.12% Catholic 3. First left his country to go to Berlin. Warsaw is close to Berlin and accessible by rail, most likely the first stop for a Pole traveling west.

This is all pretty convincing and seems beyond mere speculation. I am satisfied.

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I really never planned to answer one of my own questions, but as this seems correct, and I suspect John Smith Optional (at least) will be interested in this new information, I had to do it.. –  Meat Trademark Jan 20 at 21:47
    
Good find! Someone else's curiosity was obviously piqued as much as mine after reading the Book! I'm still waiting for further confirmation, as this is still pretty speculative... but a plausible, well reasoned conclusion nontheless. –  John Smith Optional Jan 20 at 21:58

This would probably be better suited as a comment, but one cannot put images there. So, here... a recent XKCD comic explains it all:

'Why on Earth would someone commit air piracy just to finance a terrible movie decades later?' 'People are very strange these days.'

The mouse-over text:

'Why on Earth would someone commit air piracy just to finance a terrible movie decades later?'

'People are very strange these days.'

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One can put links in comments, though. But unfortunately this might even be a valid answer. However far-fetched it's premise may be, it certainly tries to reason about it based on facts. –  Napoleon Wilson Aug 20 at 14:55

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