Tommy Wiseau, the infamous director of 2003's cult classic The Room, has been ordered to pay $700,000 to the makers of a documentary about his movie. A judge has ruled in favor of Richard Harper, Fernando Forero McGrath, Mark Racicot and Richard Towns, makers of Room Full of Spoons, which was originally intended for release in 2017, around the time that The Disaster Artist was making its way to theaters. Wiseau got in the way, and that is going to cost him big.
According to the ruling handed down by Ontario Superior Court Judge Paul Schabas, Tommy Wiseau must pay $550,000 in compensatory damages, plus $140,000 in punitive damages. Wiseau filed a lawsuit and obtained an injunction ahead of the documentary's release in 2017, alleging that the filmmaker's violated his copyright by using clips of The Room. Judge Schabas determined the use of the clips, as well as the information covered by the doc, was covered under fair use. Schabas had this to say in his ruling.
"This information was available from public sources, which is how the defendants obtained and confirmed it. Wiseau may be sensitive about this information because he has cultivated an aura of mystery around it, but disclosure of these facts is not, objectively speaking, something which can be described as 'highly offensive.'"
The Disaster Artist, which was directed by James Franco and chronicled the making of The Room, brought a new level of mainstream attention to the movie. Room Full of Spoons could have capitalized on a release around that time. Instead, they are now getting money directly from Tommy Wiseau, who has capitalized greatly on The Room over the years, even though it was originally a major flop.
With the lawsuit now over, the filmmakers are pursuing a distribution plan, which will likely involve a streaming service, given the current situation. In a statement shared on the movie's official website, it is stated that they hope to have Room Full of Spoons released soon, but they need time to get everything sorted out.
"There's a lot to get sorted of course... If we can ask a favour: please give us a bit of time to get everything in order. We absolutely want to get this film out ASAP, but please understand we want to do it the right way, which sometimes takes a moment. We'll keep our supporters in the loop as we move forward."
Tommy Wiseau behaved erratically during the trial, causing delays and failing to show up on the first day. Judge Schabas also commented on the credibility of Wiseau's testimony. Schabas says the filmmaker provided little evidence and was "self-serving" throughout the process.
"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."
Tommy Wiseau has maintained a great deal of mystery regarding his past, or how he obtained the millions of dollars it took to produce The Room. In the years since the movie's release, it has become a midnight-movie favorite and regularly plays at well-attended showings. This news comes to us via Variety.