It definitely doesn’t look like it, but 2003’s cult classic movie The Room reportedly cost $6 million to make. We know eccentric writer/producer/director/star Tommy Wiseau fronted the money for the infamous project, but like pretty much everything else about Wiseau, the rest is a mystery.
In new movie The Disaster Artist — and the book on which the new movie is based — it’s clear that Wiseau is flush with cash. But how did he actually make his fortune? TBH, nobody really knows (except, we assume, Tommy himself). Until the enigmatic filmmaker gives the world a straight answer, here are a few possible theories (and at least one ridiculous one):
He was a retail big wig.
Wiseau won’t say much about where he got the money to make his masterpiece of bad-movie-dom (or where he’s from, or how old he is), but he did once tell Entertainment Weekly that he had a lot of success in the retail industry. According to the 2008 interview, he had a clothing import business:
He was a real estate flipper
Greg Sestero — Wiseau’s best friend, The Room co-star, and the co-author of The Disaster Artist book — has said Wiseau told him his money came from flipping real estate in San Francisco. Sestero also says that couldn’t possibly be true, though we really wouldn’t put anything past Wiseau.
He got a big settlement
On Reddit, at least one user has suggested Wiseau cleaned up after he was involved in a car accident with a Hollywood power player. This one sounds like a bit of a stretch as the info comes from an anonymous source, no one’s been able to find any evidence to prove it, and, you know, it’s a random online message board. All that aside, the person claims the person at fault in the South Hollywood accident was drunk driving and worked for a big time production company, so Wiseau got a huge settlement that allowed him to fund his passion project.
He’s actually D.B. Cooper
In 1971, a passenger held up a Northwest Airlines flight, took his stolen $200,000, and parachuted out of the plane, never to be heard from again. The identity of the hijacker, known as D.B. Cooper, is still unknown, though many have speculated over the years (there was even some chatter that Don Draper on Mad Men would be revealed as the famous criminal by the series finale). Considering Wiseau’s perplexing background, it’s not totally shocking that someone has floated his name as a possible Cooper, but Wiseau promptly shut that speculation down. Plus, stealing $200,000 still doesn’t add up to $6 million.