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The Daily Dish

Who Is Tommy Wiseau? Everything You Need to Know About James Franco's The Disaster Artist Muse

Meet the man who tried to steal the mic from James Franco at the Golden Globes.

By Tamara Palmer
James Franco - On Acting

Tommy Wiseau crashes major award show speeches, hobnobs with Kris Jenner and serves as an unlikely muse for James Franco, who turned in a Golden Globe-winning performance as Wiseau in The Disaster Artist. But who is Tommy Wiseau? Here's what you need to know:

1. <i>The Disaster Artist</i> is based on Wiseau's most notorious work

The Disaster Artist is based on The Room, Wiseau's 2003 film that he wrote and starred in, which has become a cult favorite that celebrates its awfulness. The movie, which cost $6 million to make, is an adaptation of Weiseau co-star Greg Sestero's book called The Disaster Artist: My Life Inside The Room, the Greatest Bad Movie Ever Made.

2. He's vague about his age and origins

The 2016 documentary Room Full of Spoons revealed he is from Poland, but his character in The Disaster Artist claims that he's from New Orleans

"I am originally from Europe," Wiseau said on Jimmy Kimmel Live in December. "I am right now American like everybody else. Long story short, I used to grow up in New Orleans, Louisiana. People ask me, where do you come from, right? ... Which country? I think, well, I pick New Orleans."

3. He's not talking about his personal life, either

"I think private life should be private life, the professional life should be the professional life, and that’s where I stand, and I have right to do that," he told Entertainment Weekly. So don't ask.

4. He used to sell retail

According to Esquire, Wiseau attended Laney College in Oakland, California and later owned multiple locations of a retail business called Street Fashions in San Francisco, where he claimed to be the "King of Levi's" jeans.

5. And he still sells underpants to this day

His website has a marketplace of clothing and accessories, including Tommy-emblazoned boxers and briefs.

6. A billboard made him famous in Hollywood

Wiseau is a familiar face to people in Southern California because he paid to have a billboard of himself promoting The Room for five years.

The Room; it had this strange billboard, and there was no studio, there was no distributor; there was just like this guy’s head on it and he kind of looked like if a vampire went to a costume party and dressed as Johnny Depp,” Seth Rogen said at the Golden Globes (via Inverse). “And for some weird reason, his phone number was on the billboard — which you don’t see on a lot of billboards. And if you called the number, it was him; the writer/director/star/producer of the movie answered the phone.”

7. He loved <i>The Disaster Artist</i>, but had one major gripe

Photo: Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.

"He did such a great job, talking as a director and an actor," he told Los Angeles Times. "I think he [made] a big effort, which sometimes from the outside is extremely difficult to understand that. He did good with accent. His brother Dave did good as well. They really studied character. But he doesn't know how to throw football, that's for sure!"

8. He tweeted what he wanted to say at the Golden Globes

“If a lot of people loved each other, the world would be a better place to live,” he wrote. He told the Los Angeles Times that he also wanted to say, “See ‘The Room,’ have fun, and enjoy life. The American Dream is alive, and it’s real.”

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