Cult film stars Tommy Wiseau and Greg Sestero surprised students on Monday afternoon by visiting Balliol and Christ Church.
Wiseau wrote, directed, produced and starred in ‘The Room’, a film which has gathered a following of dedicated fans since its release in 2003.
Both stars visited Balliol JCR where students from many colleges had assembled. The St Hugh’s Cinema ‘Appreciation’ Society (SHCAS) even dressed up as some of the film’s characters.
Ellie Wilson, a member of SHCAS who wore a red dress similar to that of Lisa, the film’s love interest, said that she and her friends had donned the costumes because ”The Room’ is a big part of our lives.’
Although fans were kept waiting for over an hour while Wiseau and Sestero lunched at Chequers, Wilson personally had no doubt as to their appearance as ‘there was enough authority’ that they had been sighted.
Wiseau and Sestero nearly went directly to Christ Church after their lunch but on learning of the student presence at Balliol, Wiseau stated, ‘Fans come first, decision made.’
Indeed the delay only increased anticipation among those who had assembled to meet the stars, puzzling many Balliolites. One third year told Cherwell, ‘I had never heard of ‘The Room’, only wanted some lunch, and wondered why there were so many people dressed up.’
Wiseau, wearing a white leather jacket with a red stripe and dark sunglasses, entered the room to wild cheers. He went on to dance with Wilson and another student also dressed as Lisa. One fan described this as ‘the most cringeworthy thing.’
Wiseau told the crowd that he loved their college, before asking if they had all enjoyed ‘The Room’. The two men then conducted a brief Q&A of two questions, before Wiseau ‘knighted’ a student with a wooden spoon, proclaiming, ‘You are a musician now. Boom!’ After posing for photos with delighted students, they left the JCR and college.
Balliol linguist Jake Hills commented, ‘I loved all four minutes of it.’ Lewis Newburn, SHCAS member, told Cherwell that he ‘couldn’t render the experience in words, my knees are knocking.’
Liam Shaw claimed that it was ‘the greatest day of my life, even if I get married.’ Connie-Lound-McGowan, a historian, added, ‘I really really fancy Greg Sestero, ohmygod.’
The visit to Oxford was only organised on the previous day after St John’s students Ed Warren and Tom Gammage had attended a screening and Q&A in London and asked whether Wiseau had time to come to the city. Their friend Madeline Grant had then contacted Balliol second-year Omid Pakseresht, who admits that he is ‘obsessed’ with the film, and offered a brief visit to Balliol, an offer which Pakseresht snapped up. He was reportedly, ‘Shaking and running around’ and added, ‘I forgot how to talk.’
However not all were as thrilled by the event. David Bagg, Students with Disabilities Officer at Balliol, had been due to hold a quiz but had to sent round an email stating, ‘Due to the arrival of an (apparently) famous actor at Balliol this lunchtime, the disability quiz is postponed until 1715 this evening.’
Some other Balliolites were perplexed at the ‘superfans’ and their costumes, with one wondering ‘Were they hoping to re-enact the sex scenes?’
Pakseresht, however, felt that the event ‘went down really well, it was surreal.’ Jake Hills agreed, stating that he had greatly enjoyed it and it was ‘the strangest thing that’s ever happened.’