Eight minutes into the famously terrible 2003 film The Room, there’s a sex scene featuring writer, director and star Tommy Wiseau (the subject of the 2017 movie The Disaster Artist). The sex scene lasts roughly four minutes, meaning that of the first 12 minutes of the film, a third involve watching Wiseau thrust his groin into a woman’s stomach. (Based on Wiseau’s humping technique, it’s unclear whether he’s ever actually made love to a woman.)
This is also the first time we’re introduced to Wiseau’s otherworldly physique. Naked, Wiseau is a captivating screen presence. But not because his body is beautiful. You also couldn’t really call it ugly — the dude is seriously ripped. The best word to describe it is probably “bizarre.”
Whatever Wiseau’s body is, it’s endlessly fascinating, like an abstract sculpture that continually forces you to ask, Just what am I looking at here?
If you attend a screening of The Room — of which there are many; the film long ago achieved cult status among irony-loving cinephiles — the crowd will inevitably laugh when Wiseau first shows his ass. Not just because the sex scene is so unbearably awkward, but because his body is so incongruous with our mental image of the typical male form.
On one hand, Wiseau is remarkably chiseled. His shoulders are striated with layers of muscle; he has six-pack abs. His arms are so sculpted that he’s achieved the elusive horseshoe effect in his triceps — where the arm muscle is so defined that it bulges out of the skin in a upside-down “U” shape. Nor does he skip leg day. His quads are massive and heavily muscled.
And yet, his ass is curiously flat and droopy. (We know this, because Wiseau makes sure to include a shot of himself naked, walking away from the camera.) Somehow, he manages to work out his legs without activating his glutes.
It’s just one of the many ways Wiseau’s body seems incomprehensible. He’s ripped, but Old Guy Ripped — his skin simultaneously loose and saggy, akin to how the bug alien in Men in Black uses Vincent D’Onofrio for a bodysuit.
On an episode of How Did This Get Made?, A.V. Club writer Steve Heisler says Wiseau looks like an action figure that’s been partially melted in the microwave. For his part, the podcast’s host, Paul Scheer, who appears in The Disaster Artist, says Wiseau looks like “a wrestler who has been vacuum-sealed.”
Wiseau’s body is made all the stranger by his complexion, which is a sickly, beige-ish gray. He looks like he just got up from a sweaty fever dream or like he might be a vampire — especially with his unidentifiable Eastern Europe accent.
Some have gone as far as to say Wiseau looks “ghoulish,” which strikes me as unnecessarily cruel.
Tommy Wiseau isn’t a ghoul, but he is weird-looking. And I’m fascinated to know what he smells like.