Tommy Wiseau, the eccentric auteur behind cult favorite movie The Room, debuted the first four episodes of his bizarre sitcom The Neighbors on Hulu Plus last month. The streaming service quietly released two more episodes of the series on Tuesday.
As Wiseau tells Fusion, this was to ensure The Neighbors would meet the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences' minimum length requirements for Emmy consideration by the submission deadline.
We hopped on the phone with Tommy to discuss his awards aspirations, as well as weed, the Cheesecake Factory, and Abe Lincoln.
Note: All Wiseau-isms are printed sic — as uttered.
Two more episodes of The Neighbors just came out on Hulu. Why did you release them now?
We have a contract with Hulu that we releasing total of 12. Eight, actually. I think it’s eight, or 12. But we needed two more to qualify for Emmys, so we actually submitted to Emmys — there was deadline [Tuesday]. I don’t know which episode you saw, but we’re very happy what’s happening. It’s a creative process that I like.
So to respond to your question, yes, so we was rushing to put it in, number five and six. I think number five and six actually is better than others.
Which categories do you hope The Neighbors will be considered for?
Well, we have six different categories. Do you want to hear all?
That would be great.
Hold on one second. Let me just grab the file. Outstanding Directing for Comedy Series, number one. Number two, Outstanding Choreography. Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series. Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series. Outstanding Supporting Actress in Comedy Series. Outstanding Comedy Series.
We submitted four different actors, including myself. I don’t know if you know Pamela Bailey; she played actually Cici. And then Andrew Buckley [he plays drug dealer Troy]. I submitted my character Ricky Rick as Supporting Actor, so we see what they will say. I created character because I wanted people to relate, especially young people.
There weren’t any other unknowns who submitted, I think. We qualified because we on Hulu, basically. That’s what the qualification is.
What do you think of your chances? Is there a particular category you feel a little bit luckier in?
I have no idea, be honest with you. I think The Neighbors should be part of the industry, the same like The Room is right now, but it’s up to them. I try my best. It’s something different, something sometimes people are not ready to view, but I think it’s funny. We have different characters. Everything’s from scratch, from my original material, so I think some people will probably enjoy it.
If [the Emmys] can recognize at least one thing, I’ll be happy camper. [Laughs.] If they don’t recognize, at least we make little history with Hulu and the Emmys.
Do you watch a lot of the comedy TV that’s on the air now? Are there shows you think of as your competition?
Actually, I don’t, be honest with you. The Neighbors much different than all the sitcoms. I think [the Emmys] should decide what they want to do, but the same token, I think we should pretty strong. But it’s up to them.
It’s a funny situation. It’s the same like I submitted The Room to Academy, but I was happy to actually submit it because it was a challenge.
When will the next episodes of The Neighbors be released?
We want it as soon as possible. We may actually do it as a second season. I’m not sure yet. But it’ll be released soon, because we’re working every day on it.
One of my favorite parts of the show is Cici’s chicken —
Oh yeah! That’s cool!
Where is that chicken now?
That chicken is still alive. And long story short, I didn’t realize there would be so much commotion to actually — this is another thing. I don’t know how the voting goes with the Emmy, but if I’d be voting, I’d be looking for something special. And I think chicken, any animals to cast and shoot on the sitcom is, let me tell you, it’s a lot hard work. So hopefully Emmy Awards recognize our efforts.
On The Neighbors, the character Lula has magical powers. I was curious: do you personally believe in anything supernatural, like psychics, ghosts, or witchcraft?
Something exists beyond our comprehension. And logically speaking, as you know, we as humans, we actually use only I believe 30 or 40 percent of our brain. So imagine what is 60 percent, or 80, or whatever it is? So I think we’re, as you know, society right now has been changed in the past 5, 10 years, with Internet. It’s unavoidable; you have to be a part of it.
So to respond to your question, I believe that certain stuff exists, but maybe interpretation of it varies from person to person. And then the question is: who’s right? That’s the kicker. We may create certain environments, but is it true or not, that’s the question. But I believe very strongly that we have certain power within ourselves.
Are there actors in Hollywood you’d love to work with in the future?
Definitely. I’d like to work actually with Christian Bell [Kristen Bell, a self-professed fan of The Room]. I’m working on a new feature, it’s called Foreclosure. Long story short, we’ve been reaching out for some of the actors. I have several different characters and she’s one of my list.
We have a lot of good actors in Hollywood. Some of them are famous, some of them are not. But I think acting is acting. I think all the actors in the world can do a good job. That’s my point.
There was a moment in The Neighbors where you sang “Let It Go,” and another where you sang “God Bless America.” Will there ever be a Tommy Wiseau musical?
Well, you know what I want to do, this is my dream. I don’t know if you can write about it, whatever. We actually want to put The Room on Broadway. Not Off-Broadway. You know the difference; I don’t have to educate you. [Laughs.] We’ll see what James Franco is creating, because he’s working on the movie right now. [Franco is set to direct and star in a film adaptation of The Disaster Artist, Room actor Greg Sestero’s memoir about working with Wiseau.]
Marijuana use is a theme in both The Room and The Neighbors. Are you in favor of legalizing pot?
I believe very strongly that the person is free. You decide what transpires in your body, that’s number one. Number two, I personally think — I’m not a politician, but to be honest with you, way too many restrictions. All this stuff does not make sense, with due respect.
I think our politicians are completely off the wall; that’s my take on that. Person should be arrested by smoking joint or something like that is completely nonsense. Because what’s the difference between alcohol and joint, marijuana? None.
We all know from The Room that Johnny is the flower shop's favorite customer, but what’s your favorite flower?
Rose. It must be red or white. The red is much more, like, spiritual thing, and the white is very innocent. White always represents to me innocence.
What music do you like to listen to?
I like U2, I like classical music, I like all kinds of music. I like jazz, for example. I’m pretty good in discotheque, or as well, the rock and roll. [Laughs.]
Discotheque? Are you a good dancer?
I don’t want to be self-centered. I think I’m pretty good. [Laughs.]
If you could play any historical figure in a movie, who would you choose?
That’s a good one. I think I’d like to play Lincoln. There was actually a movie about him, but I don’t know how good they did the job. He was the person I remember from history who was very visualized.
I want to actually do a movie about slavery, in New Orleans. To go back to the history and present the way it was.
What’s your favorite dish at the Cheesecake Factory?
Oh, wow. I love Cheesecake Factory. The favorite dish, when you ask me, I like the prawns, if they have. But the best one is the, uh — are you talking about soup or just general?
Anything that comes to mind.
The squid is pretty good. Be honest with you, they have good hamburgers, the more I think about it. They’re pretty good on seafood. I don’t recommend too much the cheesecake, because it’s pretty fattening, but you know what, why not? You have to enjoy yourself from time to time.
This interview has been condensed and edited.
Molly Fitzpatrick is senior editor of Fusion's Pop & Culture section. Her interests include movies about movies, TV shows about TV shows, and movies about TV shows, but not so much TV shows about movies.