Movie Article

The Battle Over 'The Room'

Why would anyone demand a director's credit on the worst movie ever made?

Many directors have fought to get their names removed from bad films. Sandy Schklair might be the first person in Hollywood history who wants credit for making one. And not just any bad movie. The veteran script supervisor is asking for recognition for directing what many regard as the worst film of all time: 2003's The Room. ''That movie is mentioned by crew people constantly here in Los Angeles,'' says Schklair, 53. ''It's very difficult not to say, 'Excuse me, I directed that!'''

The credited director of The Room is Tommy Wiseau (pictured above), a mysterious gentleman of unknown age and origin who was also the movie's writer, producer, distributor, and star. Wiseau released his debut film in June 2003 in a handful of L.A. cinemas, and it attracted little interest. But not long after the movie's brief theatrical run, Wiseau started to put on midnight shows. Since then, this sex-filled indie drama has become a Rocky Horror-style phenomenon, with audiences shouting wisecracks at the screen and hurling plastic cutlery whenever a framed photograph of a spoon appears. The R-rated movie is available on DVD, and YouTube is filled with campy fan homages. The Room's more famous devotees include Paul Rudd, Kristen Bell, David Cross, and Jonah Hill. In his 2009 stand-up DVD My Weakness Is Strong, Patton Oswalt lampooned the Euro-accented Wiseau during a sketch with Jon Hamm. In April of last year, the film screened at New York City's 1,163- capacity Ziegfeld Theatre to a sold-out crowd that included Justin Long. And in September, Rob Lowe tweeted that his followers should check out the movie. ''[I love] the writing,'' Lowe tells EW. ''There are scenes that look like you wrote lines of dialogue on a piece of paper, cut them into strips, put them in a hat, shook the hat, arranged them top to bottom, photocopied them, gave them to actors, and told them to act it.''

Wiseau maintains that the film's faults — from risible dialogue to over-the-top acting — were intentional choices and that he chose them, not Schklair. ''I will never give this guy credit,'' says Wiseau. ''He did not direct the movie.'' Schklair insists that he did — and that Wiseau has ''been lying for seven years.'' So who really made this beloved piece of deplorable cinema? And why would Schklair even want credit for creating what he describes as ''an abomination''?

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