The Room director Tommy Wiseau has been ordered to pay around $700,000 to the makers of a documentary about his disastrous cult movie after thwarting its release.
The makers of the unflattering documentary, titled Room Full of Spoons, wanted to release the project in 2017 alongside The Disaster Artist, which starred James Franco as Wiseau in a film documenting the shambolic making of The Room.
However, Wiseau obtained an injunction in Toronto, Canada, claiming the documentary violated his copyright by using clips from his film and invaded his privacy, revealing Wiseau’s origins in Poland, which had long remained a mystery.
According to Variety, after a January (2020) trial, Ontario Superior Court Judge Paul Schabas ruled in favor of documentary makers Richard Harper, Fernando Forero McGrath, Mark Racicot, and Richard Towns late last month (April 2020), awarding them $550,000 in lost revenue due to the blocked release. Schabas also denied Wiseau’s copyright claims, finding that the documentary makers were entitled to use the clips under the Canadian version of fair use laws.
“In my view, this action was brought for the improper purpose of preventing the release of a documentary disliked by Tommy Wiseau,” he wrote in his ruling, awarding an extra $140,000 in punitive damages, citing Wiseau’s “oppressive and outrageous” conduct towards the documentary makers.
Schabas also ruled that Wiseau engaged in “bad faith” negotiations with the documentary filmmakers in order to forestall the release of the documentary and maximize the money made by The Disaster Artist. Wiseau’s invasion of privacy claim was also denied as the judge ruled that information on his birth name, date of birth and birthplace in Poland was available from public sources,
Harper, the writer, and director of Room Full of Spoons tells Variety he is now seeking distribution, most likely on a streaming platform.