Many of you know I have an obsession with Tommy Wiseau’s horrible masterpiece The Room. The joy I have when I watch is something that can’t put into words. So when I ran into Robyn Paris, she played Michelle in The Room, I lost my mind and completely fanboyed out. If you don’t know about The Room check out the trailer for The Disaster Artist, the film about the making of the worst film ever made.
She was awesome to chat to so I invited here on the show to discuss her experience making The Room, how much [easyazon_link identifier=”B077TCV2L4″ locale=”US” tag=”whatisbroke-20″]The Disaster Artist[/easyazon_link] got right and to talk about her new mockumentary series about the actors of The Room called The Room Actors: Where Are They Now?
Robyn is current crowdfunding on Kickstarter to finish the series. If you are a Room fan like me give her and the other Room actors a few bucks so we can continue laughing.
Enjoy my honest, entertaining and even educational chat with Robyn Paris.
Alex Ferrari 5:24
I would like to welcome to the show Robyn Paris, thank you so much for being on the show. Robyn.
Robyn Paris 5:28
Thank you for having me, Alex.
Alex Ferrari 5:30
It was it's been it's a joy. It's a pleasure. I'm giddy to have you on and talk about a talk about a project. I'm sure you're you're tired of talking about this point.
Robyn Paris 5:43
Well, I know I can't escape it. So I might as well embrace it and have fun with it.
Alex Ferrari 5:46
You know it for everybody who's who's isn't aware. Anyone who's listened to this podcast knows that I am a raving the room fan. I am fascinated with the movie. And Robin and I met at Sundance this this year. And we actually Robin is in the movie a little bit if you want to talk a little bit about about our movie, the one we did together, we could talk a little bit about that before we jump into the room. Sure. We're shooting the the, the the party scene, and lo and behold, Robin is there. And my producer comes like Robin Parrish, the actress from the room is here. She wants to be in your movie. I'm like, I'm like No, she's not. There's no possible way that she actually is here. And he's like, No, she is there she is I'm like, Oh my God, we have to write a scene for her right now. And put her in the movie if she wasn't in the movie. So how did you what was from your perspective because I haven't talked I talked to because that that whole movie on the edge of and for everyone who doesn't know it's on the corner of ego and desire, my new film, that's such a blur to me the whole process? Because it's done so quickly. From your perspective, how did you get introduced to the film? How did you say, Hey, I'll be in it. And so from your perspective, I just want to know how you felt about it and how you got into it first of all?
Robyn Paris 7:07
Yeah, I mean, it's a little bit of a blur for me too. Because it's like, it was like wanting, it was really, right. And we were at a party at Sundance, and I was just talking to a few people. And they were saying that you were doing this film and that you were in the next room shooting some scenes. And I was like, Oh, that's really cool. And then somebody mentioned that somebody on your you guys had recently seen the room the night before
Alex Ferrari 7:34
We literally the whole crew sat down and saw the room. I was the only one who had seen it before. And the experience was, as you can imagine.
Robyn Paris 7:43
Yes. I mean, yes, I get it. I love the room like a fan. I love seeing it. It's so crazy. It's so funny. So yes, they mentioned you guys were doing you were just in the room and that there had been a scene in your movie where one of the main characters talked about how the room was his favorite movie. And that Oh, somebody said, Oh, wouldn't it be funny if you were in in this movie? And you like just showed up? And I was like, Yeah, that'd be great. I'd be happy to do that. Just let me know what you want me to do. Right? I'm just here dancing, having a few drinks. So they need a movie. And the thing I know they wouldn't I think they talked to you. And then I talked to you. And then like about 15 minutes later, 20 minutes later, I was we were shooting the scene? I think so.
Alex Ferrari 8:28
It seemed it seemed like that. I think it was I think it even was a little bit more than 15 or 20 minutes. Because from the moment that they said that you were you wanted to be in the movie to the point when we got to you. It's probably an hour. Okay. It was just because we were shooting that like, you know, one of the biggest scenes of the movie. It was Yeah. And we were battling drunks. And it was like, you know, trying to get them out of the sights. And it was insane. It was
Robyn Paris 8:51
How you did it. I'm amazed that You shot me in the middle of that party. Because it was really loud. There's a lot of dancing like tons of drunk.
Alex Ferrari 9:00
It was tons of drunks. I was battling off a drunk drunk actors that I would recognize who will remain nameless. Other people in the industry that would just you know, Hey, man, you making movies like it was just, it was it was insane. And I had no security to block everything off. So I was just trying to, you know, the funniest thing is that we were shooting one of the scenes and literally as I yelled action, I turned around, and there must have been 20 people with iPhones recording it. And I'm yelling and I'm thinking to myself, you guys are all industry. Are you kidding? You've never been on a set before, let alone a set with like three people. It's not like we're not on this set of Avengers. You know, this is not that impressive, guys, I don't understand. But 130 in the morning when you're drunk and you see a camera and some lights apparently everyone goes crazy. It's right at Sundance and as their and we shot our scene in and I think five minutes.
Robyn Paris 9:58
Yep, I believe it was two takes max and five minutes.
Alex Ferrari 10:03
It was two takes you did fantastic. And a good friend of ice Sebastian played your agent.
Robyn Paris 10:08
That's right. And I had just met him the night the day before. Right? knew him. At least that was fun.
Alex Ferrari 10:14
But that was and then that was it. And then you were gone. And I was gone. Yeah. Next morning, I was like, Oh, that's so funny. I was in a movie last night. And then I say, like, what? Like, yeah, I was in a feature last night. Yeah, shot some scenes for a movie last night at a party at Sundance. And every, you know, you're not the only one RB who also plays a part in the movie, RV. bato had the exact same thing. He was in another party. And he actually kept telling me, I gotta go, I gotta go shoot a movie. And they're like, you've got a screening? What? Like, no one understood. Like, he's like, No, I'm actually in a movie. What? Like, no one, no one got it. And then I send you the trailer, and you're like, Oh, my God, it's a real movie.
Robyn Paris 10:57
It looks so good. I am so blown away that you shot that in 36 hours. It was unbelievable.
Alex Ferrari 11:05
It was done quickly with Josh. And it was an experience. So. But thank you, again for being in the movie it and it was an absolute thrill to work with you for those five minutes. Well, thank you for a minute of it. It was super fun. I can't wait to see your finished movie. So how did you get into the film into the movie? And how did you get into the business in the first place?
Robyn Paris 11:27
So I moved to LA and to the end of 2001 to be an actor. And the first audition I had when I got to LA was for the room? No, yes, the very first audition, I responded to an ad in backstage West. And you know, set my headshot. And they called Greg sestero was doing the casting, who ends up playing Tommy's best friend. And he called me and I went to the set audition. And so that was the first you know, movie I was in. When I got to LA
Alex Ferrari 11:56
Literally off the turnip truck. You can straight the room. The casting? What are the odds? I mean, like that's like the first day of literally, you get off the bus this like, oh, let's just go over to the room. The most craziest experience of your life, literally, the timing couldn't have been better.
Robyn Paris 12:17
I was from how you look at it. I know it could not have it's really like a combination of the two both both Best and Worst thing to ever
Alex Ferrari 12:26
Now what was the casting process like for the room?
Robyn Paris 12:29
It was insane. I mean, if you've seen the movie, the disaster artists, they capture it pretty well. I came to the set. It was broad daylight it was there were ton of people there. And Tommy had a stand in front of a camera and he was like, Okay, now your best friend just died, go. And then he'd want you to be like, wailing with tears. And then 30 seconds later, he'd say, you just won the lottery go. And then if you didn't switch on a dime, he'd be like, what's wrong with you? Your best friend died? He have no, you have no heart. You know, and that's how it went. So it was a miracle that anybody got cast and that I don't know. I mean, I think I got cast because I showed up first to the audition. I was the first one there. And I talked to Tommy one on one. And he just asked me a bunch of questions about myself. And then I at the end of the conversation, he was like, Okay, I think I costal and I'm like, do you want me to audition or
Alex Ferrari 13:26
So you didn't audition?
Robyn Paris 13:28
I actually did. I did audition. So I you know, more people showed up and then I did the standard audition with everybody else I read the chocolate is a symbol of love scene with Greg Ellery who ends up playing Steven. And then I did the whole chicken, you know, at what act like a chicken. That's one of the things I throw in that Tommy said, Your best friend just died. You won the lottery act like a chicken. And so I did all that. And yeah, so I did audition. But I but I'm still convinced that the actual reason I got it was because I was the first one there.
Alex Ferrari 13:58
So I mean, this is your this is your first big Hollywood audition. And I use that term very loosely. Yeah. Very, very loosely. You have no other auditions to kind of refer back to.
Robyn Paris 14:12
So you got in Chicago and I had audition there. But yet none in LA.
Alex Ferrari 14:17
Right. So no la auditions to for you to kind of go back to how many people on the as far as the cast were concerned. We're kind of newbies in the sense like have maybe done one thing or two, but you know, didn't seem that anybody was like super super seasoned other than my mother, except,
Robyn Paris 14:33
I think oh, yeah, the mother may be but every last person was super new. I mean, yeah, you know, I think to agree to do the room. You probably had to be pretty naive. I just thought no one would ever see it. I knew it was bad, also, so you wouldn't ever see it.
Alex Ferrari 14:52
Did you read it? Was there a script?
Robyn Paris 14:54
No, he wouldn't show us the script. There was a script, but he would not show it to the actors because, quote, I quote Tommy, you're just going to try to steal it. So he thought we were going to steal it. And so he wouldn't share the whole script. So we'd get like three pages. And then he'd say, okay, you're going to shoot these three pages tomorrow. And we'd get it a lot the day, or maybe the day before. And we'd have to just memorize those lines. And I never knew where the scene Val in the context of the entire movie or the narrative, had no idea what you know, which, which scene came first, which scene came set, like, that's why it was so hard to get any kind of our character arc or anything,
Alex Ferrari 15:31
Which was, which was interesting, because now that makes so much more sense when you watch the room. Because there doesn't seem to be like a beginning, middle, or arc or anything. It's just like you have you. You as actors have no idea what's going on. You're just kind of thrown into a scene and like, act. Like what happened before? Did I did I get shot before? Then my mother died before like, what? And that's every scene is like that, which you have to argue is quite genius, if that's what you're going for.
Robyn Paris 16:01
Like for total confusion on the part of the actors and characters and every scene
Alex Ferrari 16:05
And as a crew as well and everybody else as well. Yeah. Now, how was how was the crew while you were working? And how many how long were you actually on? on the on the set meaning of shooting on production?
Robyn Paris 16:20
I was there for a few weeks. I came in. I was a midseason replacement. Juliet who plays Lisa was originally Michelle. And the first three leases quit. And I no surprise, surprise, I think it was when they realized they'd have to do a love scene. And they were like, Okay, I'm out of here. So yeah, and then so Lisa was playing Michelle, she to lease and then they needed to fill the Michelle characters. So that's when they did additional auditions. And that's when I came in and filled in the spiral. So
Alex Ferrari 16:55
They were ready shooting. They were already shooting when you did the audition.
Robyn Paris 16:58
Exactly. They had already shot a cup for a couple months.
Alex Ferrari 17:01
And how long was the final? Like, was it six months shooting a year shooting? How long? Shoot?
Robyn Paris 17:06
I think it was like six months? Yeah, I remember in the disaster artists, even they characterize that it's like, going,
Alex Ferrari 17:13
It just kept going in the money. And the money always was there. He just always had the money.
Robyn Paris 17:19
It was like a bottomless well of money. And there are three different crews. I was when I was there. And I was only there for a few weeks, though, I think to at least two or three crews that that were different crews, they would quit and then a whole new crew would show up. Because they would Yeah. So they kept quitting. They were professional crew. And I guess they just got fed up with stuff.
Alex Ferrari 17:44
Yeah, there were an LA crew. They were an LA crew that was like, Okay, we'll deal with this for a day or two. But this is enough. We can't we can't take this anymore. Because I'm assuming it wasn't the most professional set in the planet. No, that's a good assumption, say the least. And what was Tommy's directing style? Like?
Robyn Paris 18:06
Yeah, we can call it that. Well, let's see. Like for this Juliet, where we have that pillow fight. Do you remember that scene?
Alex Ferrari 18:15
I remember all the seeds. Okay.
Robyn Paris 18:18
So we had just met her literally 20 minutes before and we're on the set. And then, and we're just talking, we're doing the scene. He goes, You don't even seem like you know each other. You lose your best friends. Why don't you have a pillow fight? Girls have pillow fight. That's what girls do. So Juliet and I are like, Yeah, right. That's what we do. We have drink wine and beat each other with pillows. So we just that you know that he directed us to do that pillow fight. You probably remember that. And other than that, a lot of times he was actually in it. And so whenever he was in the scene, it was hard for him to direct, right. So that's where that whole controversy comes in about the script supervisor Sandy skull, err, sure, directing it directing the room, which he would help for sure. He would help Tommy when Tommy was in scenes, like tell Tommy where to go and help with blocking and stuff like that.
Alex Ferrari 19:12
But at the end of the day, do you want that credit? I know I don't get that that like if you are the ghost director of the room. Do you want to be known as the ghost director of the room? Like I?
Robyn Paris 19:28
Yeah, it doesn't make sense. Because I mean, everyone can. The reason it's bad is because autonomy.
Alex Ferrari 19:35
I mean, it's the reason why it's good and bad is because autonomy, it's 100% Tommy it is that exactly? Because there's things in it like I mean, you just I mean Well, the first of all, obviously, all women when they're in their 20s have pillow fights and drink wine, obviously. Yeah, that's my experience. Every last woman, every last woman It is part of the DNA. So the best example The best explanation of Tommy ever is, as a director I've heard was, imagine an alien comes down to earth takes over a body. And then this is the movie. It thinks that would be a movie that mother Earthlings would enjoy. That's good. Yeah. And I was like, that's because it's such a look, we've all seen bad movies. We've all seen bad movies. I mean, I saw a troll too. And I think a little bit of my, my soul left me. I liked the documentary about the trolls. Joel, too, was amazing. Much better than the movie. But we've seen bad movies. They've been bad movies throughout history, Edward movies, I mean, forever. But there's something so magical about this movie. It's hard to. It's hard to pinpoint it, but from my analysis, and maybe I'd love to hear what you think, why people react the way they do to it. It's that it is authentically, Tommy, there is nothing bullshit about the movie he is not trying to be. It's, it's what he it's his. It's authentic.
Robyn Paris 21:11
Yeah, it fully embodies Tommy, it just is everything that Tommy is.
Alex Ferrari 21:17
And the authenticity, you can literally come because of I would go to try to direct a bad movie like horribly that is, you know, you would smell it. Like, oh, this is a guy who's just trying to be a bad movie. We've seen those movies before, like, shark NATO, like, you know, they know what they're doing. They know this is a bad movie. They know. It's ridiculous. They're just having fun. It's a self awareness there. But Tommy has absolutely no self awareness, and thought he was making Citizen Kane.
Robyn Paris 21:46
Yeah. And that's, that is your right why it is so magically bad. Because the earth it's so earnest. And he's it there's such an effort to be good. Yes. And it fails so spectacularly that that is deeply I don't know why it sounds that destek. But that is deeply funny.
Alex Ferrari 22:06
It is it is it's just it's it fails on so many levels, like when we were watching it that night before we shot the scene. Everybody was there, like why is there another shot of San Francisco? What's going on? Why is that there? Oh, my God, like, all my professional filmmaking friends would never see this. They're all sitting there going. After like, 20 minutes, they get it. And there's some people in the audience that did not do this is just horrible. I can't watch this. Yeah, but the people who got it, they jumped on the ride. And we're just like, completely on board. And that's the kind of movie it is. But it's a fascinating, fascinating character study. And I think the disaster artists did a really interesting job with the relationship. And with Tommy, and all that. What did you think of disastrous,
Robyn Paris 22:53
I really liked it. I thought it was hilarious. And I thought James Franco did a really good job at capturing Tommy. I mean, midway through I forgot I was even watching James Franco, it seemed like Tommy, and I thought they captured the friendship and the story really well. And it would balanced a lot of, you know, humor with pathos and like sincerity. And I thought it was great.
Alex Ferrari 23:17
Yeah, I love that. I love that. Then when we were sitting down talking for a few minutes, you said that the disaster artist got a few things that they took some creative license with? What are the things that were kind of different between the disaster artist and reality?
Robyn Paris 23:30
Yeah, the very end when everyone's cheering in the theater at the premiere of the room. That didn't happen.
Alex Ferrari 23:40
The phenomena did not start off with a bang.
Robyn Paris 23:44
It was a slow burn. It's a slow burn. People obviously cheer now, but at the screenings of the room, but people knew we were where people were laughing, certainly. But that was a good try. And people trying to contain their laughter in the theater because they knew that Tommy meant it to be a searing drama. And instead, it was a laugh out loud comedy. I was sitting two rows or a row behind Tommy and I was trying so hard to contain my laughter but it I ended up crying. I was crying with laughter. Because you know, when you try to stop laughing, it gets even worse. Right? And so a lot of people were like that, like, we were really trying not to seem like we were laughing. But we all were. And then after that after the movie, there was a party and no one was everyone was just asked like our jaws were on the floor. And we were looking around like, Oh, my God, what was that? Right. And I didn't approach Tommy because I just knew I couldn't lie believably. And I didn't want to have to, you know, I didn't want to say that was amazing, or
Alex Ferrari 24:44
Did he feel it? Did he? Did he understand that he that it was not well received? Or was he still in delusional world?
Robyn Paris 24:51
That night of Yeah, I don't know for sure. I feel it because I feel like he it didn't go well. From his purse.
Alex Ferrari 24:59
Okay. to, like, he
Robyn Paris 25:01
Must have heard the chuckles I don't know he must have. But okay. So in the disaster art is when he and Greg go to the lobby, and they discuss it and Greg's character is like, you know, you made something that people aren't enjoying. Listen to them. They're loving it, and then you go back in there and then they die. No, I do. I don't believe that that happened that night. Perhaps it did a week later, a couple weeks later. Sure. But yeah, it took a little while to kind of re reframe the narrative or
Alex Ferrari 25:31
Reframe the situation in general. Yeah. What was the reaction of the other actors that you saw? How were there any that were absolutely pissed. Other people that were just could not stop laughing that it was the greatest thing since sliced bread, whether reactions is you don't have to use their names, but just what are the actions of some of the other actors?
Robyn Paris 25:49
Some of the other actors were devastated? Oh, and then others were just like, Okay, well, we know it was gonna be bad. But this was really, really bad. They weren't for me, it was a hat. There was so many things that were really a happy surprise. Like the things I didn't know were in the room that were so funny, like the rooftop scene. I mean, all of the rooftop scenes like
Alex Ferrari 26:12
For you got so you basically got the joke. Right away.
Robyn Paris 26:16
I, my husband and I were dying, laughing. And then the next morning, we woke up and we were quoting lines to each other from the room, and then we were crying with laughter again. I mean, we were just seriously laying there laughing so hard. We were crying. So for me, I was like, Well, I don't think anybody will see us. But if they do, it could get a cult following because it is crazy funny.
Alex Ferrari 26:35
So you You're so you literally caught that right away. You caught what this could be. And you were basically reacting as a room fan. Right away off the first screening.
Robyn Paris 26:46
Yes, because I was in so few of the scenes that, you know, and I was like, Oh, yeah, my scenes are fine. I wasn't devastated by the scenes I was in. They were totally fine. And I thought I just enjoyed the rest of it. Like how crazy it was and how irrational So yeah, I just thought it was hilarious. From the beginning.
Alex Ferrari 27:07
And obviously the pillow scene was the highlight. But chocolate, of course, of course, of course. Put your put your insults in your pocket. I'm sorry, I can't have it. Now what is the weirdest thing you saw on the set?
Robyn Paris 27:29
Um, oh, well, I didn't physically see this actually see this. But the makeup artists they had Well, I had to get airbrushed every day because Tommy didn't like freckles. And he had got him so he got airbrushed every day as well. His entire body. Obviously. Obviously, rikes got to look flawless on the screen. And
Alex Ferrari 27:50
Then use the term flawless is a loose word. He used a certain range. What's doable? Yes.
Robyn Paris 28:00
So the day they had to do the bus scene, I came back it was like the next day after they shot the naked butt scene with Tommy
Alex Ferrari 28:08
And the total button in the belly, but you
Robyn Paris 28:10
Will not know the belly button hump. I didn't mention that. Okay. I didn't really know about that the recycled sex scene until I saw it on screen. So that was a treat. But they said you will not believe what happened. I said What happened? They said yesterday we had to airbrush Tommy's butt. And then we had to keep touching it up all day long. The makeup artists Oh my God. That was that was the thing I heard about when I came back to the set but I just you know people quit all the time. There was a documentarian following us around all the time on set filming us behind the scenes. So literally, we couldn't even change he would follow us. There wasn't a changing room for the actors. It was just a little tent. And so in order to change, we had to duck behind cars in the burns and saw your parking lot. And then the documentarian would be following us with his camera. I remember telling him like, dude, I'm trying to change here. So yeah, that is
Alex Ferrari 29:10
Great. Because obviously as he says, His asked is what's going to sell international? Yes, yes. You really want China? Yeah, he's huge in China. So and then you obviously kept living in LA so when you kept driving by the billboard, what was the What was your feeling when you first saw this billboard? I was like, that is still up. I can't believe it's still there. like three years right? It was like two to three years I think it was might have even been five years. Where's the money coming from? No one knows. No one knows no one still to this day. Nobody knows where the money came. So. So for anybody who's listening It doesn't mean we're talking about in LA for five years. There was a billboard on wasn't like on I don't even know where I remember. What street it was on. It was on Island and fountain. So it's a fairly, fairly predominant Billboard. And it was this shot of, of Tommy with the room with his, with his number on it to set up screenings. And it just stayed there. It became like this landmark in LA and everyone's like, what is this room thing. And I remember when I got here, I got here in 2008. And one was room shot 2000 2002. And it came out 2003. Right. So by then it already been five years. So it already picked up the the cult following at this point, where I walked into a theater and I saw the poster, like midnight showing of the room and every animal and I asked my la friends, like, what's the room, they're like, Oh, you've got to see the room. And that's the way the whole thing went. Like the whole phenomenon of the worldwide is like you have to see the room. We'll be right back after a word from our sponsor. And now back to the show.
Robyn Paris 31:05
Yeah, it was a lot of it was word of mouth. I mean, I think most of it was word of mouth. But because the mouth word of mouth was so passionate and people who saw it loved it so much it worked.
Alex Ferrari 31:17
And now do you have you? I'm assuming you've gone to some screenings. I'm assuming you've signed an autograph or two? Yes. What is What is your reaction as going to the screenings? And then have are there Have there been any like conventions you've gone to like, I mean, sure, comic book conventions, or movie conventions or anything like that, that you've attended.
Robyn Paris 31:38
I haven't gone to any conventions. When I go to the screenings, a lot of times I'll go with a group of friends and we'll dress up. A lot of times I've worn bigs because I like to be a fly on the wall to react. I've been to a couple screenings in my hometown of North Greensboro, North Carolina. And that's been really fun. And they I was on the news, their local affiliate. Yeah, talking about being in the worst movie ever made. Right? Well, girl makes good
Alex Ferrari 32:08
In the worst movie ever made. Yeah,
Robyn Paris 32:11
Great story. One day, I'll have something really great I can talk about. So yeah, so I love going to the screenings. I love meeting the fans. And just, you know, everyone reacts to it. And I enjoy it. And I like I get some new out of it every time I go.
Alex Ferrari 32:28
And the way you reacted to my act, or in, in my movie as a fan of the room, I'm assuming is the way you react to other fans, like yours. So he was so humble. You were just kind of like, oh, you're a fan? Oh, great. Oh, you want to talk about Tommy? Sure. I'll tell you. Like, I'm sure this is like a daily basis, do you get recognized on the streets?
Robyn Paris 32:48
I mean, sometimes I do, but it not that much. I stay. I live in West LA. And I'm like, in my area most of the time. And I think if i when i i got recognized a couple times at Sundance. And then if I'm off in the Hollywood area, I get recognized more, but I guess because I think there's just more people there who have seen their room. And so I just not like I get recognized that much.
Alex Ferrari 33:13
Yeah. Now, at what point, did you because we've talked about this a little bit off air? At what point do you accept what this is and go along for the ride as opposed to fight it? Because I'm assuming there were some actors who just wanted to have nothing to do with it. I want my name off of it. I don't want to be involved with this. But you decided to go the other way. Like, you know what, this is fun. I'm going to jump on board. When would when was that moment in your in your life?
Robyn Paris 33:41
Let's see 2008 Entertainment Weekly did a four or five page spread about the room. And I was interviewed for that. And I guess it had been slowly gained traction up until that point. And people have been telling me that I was in film school. Mentioning Oh, you know what, a lot of celebrities are becoming fans. And, and you know, I guess Paul Rudd is a fan and all you know, and I was like, Oh, I think it'll just run its course, you know, that's great. But you know, and then when Entertainment Weekly did the full spread, I was like, Oh, crap, it's not going anywhere. It's not gonna go
Alex Ferrari 34:14
It's just growing
Robyn Paris 34:16
And I think I was sort of out of film school not really embracing it that much. No, I just really didn't. I didn't really think about it that much. Because I was, you know, I wanted to be taken seriously. And I feel like if you advertise that you're in the worst movie ever made. It doesn't really necessarily lend itself to people respecting you.
Alex Ferrari 34:39
Good for the branding.
Robyn Paris 34:41
Exactly. But so I thought, you know what, I'm just going to ignore it. It'll go away. And that just did not work. And I think I was at a screening in Hollywood and I had a blonde wig on I was with a bunch of friends. So we were there to have fun and Michael Cera was in line behind me and we started talking to And he's like, Well, why are you in a blonde wig? And I said, Oh, I just like to be a fly on the wall and kind of not, you know, not have people know who I am and stuff and he's like, why not? You should just really embrace it. I mean, this is one of the most fun things there is to do in LA, I like to come I you know, I come here all the time to see the room and, and I was like his, you know, it's not that I was, I mean, I was obviously there. So it wasn't like hiding from it fully. But it that was good advice in terms of embracing it, because I realized I cannot it won't go away. And
Alex Ferrari 35:33
I'm really bad tattoo. On their on your face on your face. Right there front and center. It's a mike tyson tattoo on your face. You're not getting rid of it. It's not.
Robyn Paris 35:44
So that's why I decided eventually to do the mockumentary because I write comedy. And I'd had been a comedy writer for a long time. And, and I just had this idea of, wouldn't it be funny if these room actors kept trying to escape it and they couldn't, they could not escape the room, which is basically true. And just exaggerate it and poke fun at it and have fun with this struggle of these actors trying to escape from being in this the worst movie ever made, and never being able to do that.
Alex Ferrari 36:12
Tell me a little bit about the movie that you're directing?
Robyn Paris 36:15
Yeah, so it's a mockumentary web series. And it features all of the actors from the movie The room seven out of nine of us. So Tommy and Greg aren't in it. And it basically follows them as they struggle with either embracing or shaking the stigma of appearing in the worst movie ever made. And most of them are trying to shake it and they can't. So we just see everyone suffering in their own way. Like Juliet is married to her, her first stalker, and the stalker basically stopped her around the house reenacting scenes from the room. And so that's that's her life. Danny Philip plays Danny in the room is working Danny's because it's the only place where he could get hired. And so Danny, people come in to Denny's. They recognize him as Danny from the room and they start reciting lines. And then he can't he like, he ends up taking it out on them. And he gets fired. And yeah, so every episode features a different Well, the first three episodes feature to room actors. And then after that every episode features one room actor.
Alex Ferrari 37:20
Are you in? What are you in one of these episodes?
Robyn Paris 37:22
Yes, I'm in Episode Two. Okay. And I'm married. I've been married eight times. And I keep getting divorced because every guy I marry does the room. Oh, face behind my back. face that my boyfriend in the movie makes. Oh.
Alex Ferrari 37:43
And I'm assuming they always want to do pillow fights. Oh, yeah. I can I kickstart that pillow fight in that. So yeah. So you do now? Is this a web series? Or is this going to turn into a full blown document or mockumentary that you'll release as a feature? How is it how you doing it?
Robyn Paris 38:01
Well, I have four episodes done now. And each one's about eight minutes. So it's about 30 minutes of programming that I've already done. And they're out there. They're on Funny or Die, and they're on YouTube. And then I've got six more episodes written and ready to film. And I'm just trying to raise money for those now and about to do a Kickstarter campaign to get the funds to shoot the remaining six. And it's going to be also in front of your eyes Amazon platform soon. Oh, you're signing contracts with them now? Yeah. So that's really exciting. And yeah, so when it's all said and done, it'll be over 60 minutes of stuff. So I don't I don't have plans to edit it together into a feature anything. I think I'll just keep it as the web series, because there's so many different room actors, that kind of fits to just have each episode focusing on one or two of the room after
Alex Ferrari 38:50
How did you and how did you get everybody to be on because I'm so everybody embrace this at this point.
Robyn Paris 38:56
Yeah. I pitched it to Juliet, Kyle, Carolyn and Greg sestero. When I saw them for a documentary mini documentary Greg was doing about for the book launch of the disaster artist. And they were all interested and you know, so I said, Okay, I'll send you my short that I'd written and at the time, it was just a short 10 minute movie, I send to Juliet and she got back right back to me. She's like, Oh, my God, I love it. Let's do it. We've got to do it. So she was really encouraging and help. It was kind of a catalyst for saying yes, we should definitely do this because I was nervous. I was worried they wouldn't want to make fun of themselves or because I have Juliet. She starts out drunk in a bar and wearing sexy red dress and she's hunched over like a drink. And I was like, I don't know if Juliet would want to make fun of just, you know, the fact that she was in this movie, but she was totally game and excited about it. And
Alex Ferrari 39:46
What a Greg and Tom we think about all this, and how come they're not in the movie.
Robyn Paris 39:51
So Greg sestero is super supportive, and he couldn't be in it because he had signed a non compete agreement when he made the deal with the disaster artist. Oh, we shot this way before the disaster artist came out. And, and but he was really supportive. So he signed our poster and some of our Kickstarter rewards. And he reposted our original Kickstarter campaign and shared it and stuff. But then Tommy. Tommy was Didn't he first came to me and he was like, why don't you invite me? I'm like, Well, I'm happy to invite you, you know, it's love to have you. So will you be a part of it? And he was like, well, you have to pay me $250,000 I'm like, yeah, so that's not gonna happen. And yeah, so then he gave me a hard time about my Kickstarter campaign. And he wanted me to blur out the poster. He wanted me to blur out footballs, roses, chocolate, and spoons, all of which were in my Kickstarter campaign because he owns those wooden spoons.
Alex Ferrari 40:54
What do you think owns the rights to dispose? Please? No, no, you have to let me know. What does that mean?
Robyn Paris 40:57
I'm just joking. I'm, you know, he does own the rights to his movie poster. So I did blur that out. After I did that he, you know, came back he's like, now you blur out the spoons. The Ballade chocolate. You blot the football. You blow out the roses, you know, I'm like, no. Copyright.
Alex Ferrari 41:13
I was like, he can't have copyrights on those spoons. He can't now the way as a fan thing, anyway. Well, no, no. Okay, what? Alright, so everybody who's not who has not seen the room was listening. In the movie, there's framed pictures of spoons? Yeah, for no apparent reason. In the movie. Do you know what the reason is that Do you even have any ideas? Has anyone ever heard
Robyn Paris 41:35
They came with the frames, you know, they were just the standard photos that came in the frames. And I don't know why anybody would sell. Because usually it
Alex Ferrari 41:44
Was like, oh, who put spoons? it like, That's ridiculous. I've never seen one of those.
Robyn Paris 41:52
I've never seen that either. Other than the room. But it worked out beautifully.
Alex Ferrari 41:56
Because throughout the movie, there's framed pictures of spoons. So every time the audience sees spoons, they throw plastic spoons at the at the screen is so for everyone listening, which is one of the most fun parts of going to a room screening is throwing those spoons. I really thought I was I was a Rocky Horror Picture Show guy for a long time when I was in high school. I loved going there with the rice and the the toilet paper and all the things that you would throw during it. So I'm assuming the room is the new generation of that. That's what a couple journalists have called it. They call it the new Rocky Horror Picture Show. And that's going to live for it's not going to go away. I don't think it's going away anytime soon.
Robyn Paris 42:35
I don't I don't think so either. Because, I mean, I went to a screening and there was a bus of 15 year olds that had come from the Inland Empire with their parents at as a graduation gift to get to ride into Westwood to see a screening of the room
Alex Ferrari 42:49
And they have to see it here. This is like Mecca. You have to you have to see it in Hollywood. In order to see it. It's it is by far one of the most fascinating Hollywood stories ever. It really is. And I do agree with you. I think the disaster artists did injustice. The book was wonderful. I love the book. I read the book cover to cover. I was just as I was reading it, I'm like, No, this No, this is so funny. fix it. This couldn't have happened. No. And I actually had the pleasure. While I was directing some commercials I hired a sound guy. His name was Zolt. I don't know if you know who Zolt is. Zelt was one of the audio engineers on the room. Oh, wow. And it went like wildfire on the set. That he was the guy who was the sound guy in the room. And we found this great sound fence. It was sound fantastic. And I would just run to him like Zolt first of all great name salt. Secondly, is it true? He's like, yes, this is all true. Because there's a really thick accent. It's all true. He was a maniac. He's a maniac. He was fantastic. But it is but so how I'm By the way, since you now work with all the other actors. How are they doing? What are they doing? Are they they've kind of how do they venture off into other things of after the room?
Robyn Paris 44:12
Yeah, so Juliet lives in Texas now. She's married and she is does graphic design, I believe. And Kyle is still in LA he plays Peter in the room. He's still here he does still does acting and he has a day job. I think it either Sony or Disney doing their tech for their text. And then Dan Jagan lives in Texas also he is in, I believe, banking or insurance. He seems to be doing pretty well. Philip lives in Arizona. He's a journalist. He just got married like a couple of days ago. No like last week, okay. And then Carolyn is here. She lives in the South Bay and she is an actress still. She does commercials and print work and things like that. It's a Greg Ellery he just moved from Illinois, back to California. And I'm not sure what he's doing. He was away for a while he just rejected the room. He was a holdout on my show he, I had emailed him and he didn't respond about being in it. And I did the Kickstarter campaign without, but with all the other actors. And finally, I heard back from him saying, Okay, I'll be in it. In it, he's awesome. He is a funny, funny guy. So I'm really glad he's in it.
Alex Ferrari 45:26
And then who else and then you and you now are a doc, you're a filmmaker, as well as an actor still.
Robyn Paris 45:32
Um, yeah, mainly writer, director and an actress. For I don't send mice I don't go out like I was a commercial Actress for a long time. But I decided to focus mainly on writing and directing. And then I'll put myself in stuff or make my own projects, or if my friends make projects, I'm in theirs. But I like I had been in I was in the room. And then I was right after that, I was in one other bad movie. And I did some good movies and some good shorts, too. But I thought, like, especially some in Chicago, and then some out here, too, they went to great festivals. But after I was in those two bad movies, I was like, You know what, I'm not going to do another bad movie. I'm not going to do a movie until I know for sure that it's great. That's good, you know. And then I went to right after that decision, I went to film school at UCLA, and
Alex Ferrari 46:19
Not a bad, not a bad film school to go to.
Robyn Paris 46:23
No, I loved it, and studied screenwriting, MFA in screenwriting, and then was focusing on writing and then just recently started drafting. And now I'm in a phase where I'm just kind of making a ton of things that I write myself, and then I make and I put myself in them. I'm not necessarily the main character, but I throw myself in wherever. And yeah,
Alex Ferrari 46:44
Now do you were in? You're also in another documentary called roomful of spoons. Can you talk a little bit about that doc and the controversy behind it?
Robyn Paris 46:54
Yes. So that was filmed so long, I think I filled my part in that in 2013 years. So that's been in the works for a while. And, you know, he used to have a good relationship with Tommy. His name's Rick Harper, the director of that, and then it just they had a falling out and Tommy got mad and, and so then Tommy has been very upset about the film, which is a documentary and looking at the remaking of the room and Tommy's background and where Tommy is from and how Tommy got his money and all this stuff. They even go to Europe, they go to Eastern Europe, Poland, where Tommy is from, and they interview his family members.
Alex Ferrari 47:38
They found his family. Yeah. No wonder he's losing his mind.
Robyn Paris 47:45
So he was really mad about that. And he tried, he got a court injunction to shut down prevent the release of that movie. Tommy did so the movie never got released? Well, apparently, the court injunction was lifted. I thought it was back in December, Rick made an announcement his Facebook page that it had been lifted. But there were some still some legal issues in the way and I don't think it's been released yet. I know he was going to play it a couple festivals and Tommy stopped those from happening. So yeah, I was really worried for a while time he was going to try to do that with my show. But he hasn't at all like I haven't heard from Tommy at all since that Kickstarter campaign I did back in 2014. So he's been totally fine with my luckily with my show, look,
Alex Ferrari 48:35
Because you don't want it's kind of like Do you want to hear from Tommy or you don't want to hear from me? It's like,
Robyn Paris 48:40
I mean, yeah, Tommy's. If I heard from Tommy and he were nice. I would be happy to hear from Tommy Sure. I just didn't want to hear any threats from Tommy, which he had been when I first did the Kickstarter. He was threatening me. Yeah, like the thing about blurring all this stuff out. And then you know, I will try to take you down from Kickstarter and stuff like that. And I kept saying, look, this isn't about you. It has nothing to do with you. It's about the room actors and what they're doing now. And I think once my show came out, he realized that and literally haven't heard a peep, right?
Alex Ferrari 49:13
Because you're not so you're not you're you're kind of making fun of it. But you're kind of you're filling your you're putting gasoline on the fire of the mythos of the room with this movie. You're not kind of trying to go after him personally.
Robyn Paris 49:27
Yeah, exactly. I mean, making fun of all the rest of us And sure, yeah, there's room jokes. There's a ton of room jokes but they're designed for room fans, but it's not targeted at Tommy and his background or anything like that.
Alex Ferrari 49:38
That's it's it's been an adventure and it's an adventure that will be with you for a while it's and I don't even know if something like this happened to me. I don't even know how I would have reacted. So I'm so thankful that you came on the show to talk about the inside the inside scoop on the room and and your project not working by the way. Can people support your project?
Robyn Paris 50:02
I'm about to launch another Kickstarter campaign. And I'll give you the link so that when you enter this, hopefully it will have launched. And that's going to be in a few weeks.
Alex Ferrari 50:11
I'll put, I'll put the link, if you have the link, you could say it, but I'll put it in the show notes. Either way.
Robyn Paris 50:15
And I'll also if you want to watch the show, if you haven't seen it yet, you can go to YouTube, forward slash Robin Paris, and you can watch the whole show there or Funny or Die forward slash Robin Paris, is it?
Alex Ferrari 50:26
Okay, if I put those in the show notes as well, I could just actually put the clips there so they could watch the whole thing? That'd be great. Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. So if you guys want to watch the first four episodes, it'll be in the show notes as well. Now, I'm going to ask you a few questions that I asked all of my guests. Okay. What advice would you give a filmmaker wanting to break into the business today? Obviously, not to go for casting at the room, but
Robyn Paris 50:51
You do is you try to appear in the worst possible movie.
Alex Ferrari 50:55
Right, exactly the worst that will become a cult favorite, and will live on in infamy for the rest of eternity. Good.
Robyn Paris 51:02
You're like, that's the first thing you do.
Alex Ferrari 51:07
Robyn Paris 51:08
The second? Well, I guess I would say use what you have in a way because as a writer, you know, they say write what you know, which to some extent is good. For me, I've been writing about all kinds of things, all kinds of comedy. But what gave me a chance to direct and I found that I loved directing, and I want to keep doing it, every chance I can get was taking something that happened in my life and making it funny, something that I actually struggled with, like being in the room and make trying to make it work for me. So I would say if you're a filmmaker, and you want to get something off the ground, think about what you have to offer in your specific life, like what have you lived, that you could either poke fun of if you're a if you do comedy, or that you could actually just you know, if you're in drama that you could bring to life and show a dramatic moment in your life. You know, write a short Write, write something that you can pull from your own life. And then and then when you either do a crowdfunding, you can speak from personal experience, you can say, this is why I'm doing this and you have like a real passion for for the reason you know, your motivation for why you're doing it. And I think people will respond to that, and we'll help you, we'll help you by being on your crew or giving you some money through crowdfunding or, you know, family, because it's something they know you care about. And I guess it would just take this to do it. Because I think there's a lot of fear involved with putting yourself out there and kind of just taking a step in a direction you've never gone before. And I think just for me, I faced a lot of fear with when I did this project, just our people listening, this is stupid, or they could just kind of be like, Oh, you're just acting from the room? Like what do you think you could do this, you know, but I think you have to face that fear. You really have to, you can face it is by just taking a step in the direction every day to face it.
Alex Ferrari 53:00
Right? And at the end of the day, you have to you have to walk your own path and not pay attention to what other people think or other or be free of the good opinion of others, as they say, in many ways.
Robyn Paris 53:12
Yeah, 100% don't trust yourself if you think something is great, and you know you can make it great. believe in that.
Alex Ferrari 53:19
I made it work for Tommy it is weird because it did it did no he got everything he wanted. I mean he literally got everything he wanted. And he wanted to be worldwide famous. He wanted to be taken seriously by Hollywood which in in a kind of way he did with the Golden Globes. You know, he almost got it for the Oscars as well but and he did it was it was nominated for Best Screenplay.
Robyn Paris 53:45
Yeah, so Oscar and now he was in these other two movies best friends part one and part two, which he's getting decent reviews for people are saying Tom he's actually good in this role written for him. He's really good.
Alex Ferrari 53:58
Right! He can't stretch but if you if you hit if you hit it down the middle with Tommy you're gonna get something good. Yeah, I can only imagine that it's like working with him on set like as a director trying to direct Tommy was Oh, oh my god. You can try you can hire him. I'm sure it's 150,000 1000 Yeah, at the show up anywhere $250,000 It's my really bad Tommy impression is mine is horrible. Can you tell me what book had the biggest impact on your life or career?
Robyn Paris 54:34
Wow. Um, let's see. I love this is so like, you know, go literature, AP class or something. I really love The Great Gatsby. It's a great book. I loved it. And I read it a couple times. I don't think I fully got it when I was younger and I read it then I read it later as an adult. And I guess what I like is the striving and the desire to be more than you are Because that's what I find relatable. And I just feel like for me, like, I mean, I came to Hollywood I was I had dreams of I'm going to be in the filmmaking industry. And I had no connections. I mean, my dad's a dentist, like, my parents were all back in North Carolina. Nobody knows. We know, we know nobody. And I kind of just felt like, with the Great Gatsby, Jay Gatsby, that that character of just trying to kind of come to someplace where you don't really fit, and trying to make a name for yourself. That was relatable to me. And it's kind of sad. But like, and hopefully that's not, you know, it's for me, my life, I think is good. And you know, things are going great. And I'm really excited. But there's something about how challenging I think it is in Hollywood to kind of make your way sometimes.
Alex Ferrari 55:52
It's extremely challenging. It really is. But you have to keep like, like Gatsby, you have to keep striving. Yeah, you have to keep striving no matter what. And just just keep hustling, as I say, all the time. Got to keep that hustle going without question.
Robyn Paris 56:08
Yeah, totally, totally. And I think things are gonna work out better than they did in the book.
Alex Ferrari 56:14
That's sort of a downer. And if that's a spoiler alert, guys, I'm sorry. The books been out for a little bit. So that's, that's on you. Right. And there's been a few movies as well. Sorry. Cut that out. Now, what is the lesson that took you the longest to learn whether in the film business or in life?
Robyn Paris 56:36
Oh, yeah, I think in life as the film business to not worrying about what people think. And we touched upon that before. And also not feeling that I, I think I should have tried directing earlier. But I always thought that no one will listen, like, no one listened to me. I thought how? Why would they listen to me? Why would a whole crew of people
Alex Ferrari 57:04
I get that I get you have no idea how much I get that from, from people who contact me, they're like, how do you handle like a group of people and like, I go, I go either, if it's a guy or girl, I go, guys, you've got to be able to control you're not control but take command of the army of your of your of your squad. Because if you don't, though, you won't be able to make it and unfortunately, you picked a career that takes a group effort to make it's not painting it's not, you know, writing a song in a guitar. It's it's a very expensive, very collaborative art form.
Robyn Paris 57:40
Correct? Yeah, correct. And you if you don't believe in yourself, then it's very hard, I think to command a the respect of a crew. And for me, it took me a while to get there. And now I feel like I'm fully there. Like, I totally believe in myself, but and I think I had kids also, and I think having kids and like, telling everybody what to do all the time was just helpful for me to just learn how to treat like that. I feel like the crew is maybe it also took me getting older. Yeah, and, and I think you just get maturity when you when you get older, and you know how to handle things better. But I feel like I treat a crew not in a condescending way. But kind of like, you know, we're all family. We're a family on a set. And we need to all collaborate and listen and work together well and respect each other. But the respect each other is really important. And that means no attitudes, no kinds of no complaining. That kind of thing. I don't like I would I just don't tolerate that. You know,
Alex Ferrari 58:44
So, if an actor comes up and goes pay me $250,000 you don't you that's not working. Right? Yeah, that's just not gonna fly. You know, it's happens all the time. Right. Now, what are three of your favorite films of all time? Obviously, besides the room?
Robyn Paris 58:59
Okay. Yeah, besides room cuz that's a given right. Back to the Future is my all time favorite movie. I love that movie.
Alex Ferrari 59:06
I love the trilogy of the trilogy in general.
Robyn Paris 59:09
Yeah, me too. I love the third one. Also a ton. Et and I just said so great. And well, so I have a lot of colleagues that I like, but one of the very first comedies I ever saw, and I just like made me want to be a screenwriter, I think was Tootsie or just made me want to be an entertainment?
Alex Ferrari 59:29
Sure. I just love and I love cross dressing.
Robyn Paris 59:35
Alex Ferrari 59:36
Mrs. Doubtfire, Some Like It Hot.
Robyn Paris 59:38
Like, oh, love Some like it had the first script I ever wrote. The first feature I ever wrote was these were these two women who dress as male talent managers to struggling actresses, who dresses male talent managers in order to manage their own careers.
Alex Ferrari 59:52
That's a did. That sounds familiar. There was a movie that did was I don't know if it was a gag or some I remember Something like that. Not too but like, maybe have an episode of friends who knows? Yeah. You rarely see women dresses men and no, you don't know. Right? Generally it's always the other way around. But Priscilla Queen of the Desert, and to Wong Foo. Oh, I haven't seen too long. Oh, you have to watch foo. As I'm laying out all the cross dressing movies the last 15 years. My audience is like Alex, I had no idea you have like, I just know them. I just, I just know them. Don't ask why. Now, where can people find you in your work?
Robyn Paris 1:00:37
Okay. Oh, yeah. So Robin Paris, calm and Robin's with y. And then I might the room. mockumentary calm is where I have information about the show. And then I met Robin Oh, Paris on Twitter and at Robin Oh, Paris on Instagram. And official Robin Paris on Facebook. If you want to, like me there or whatever follow or all that stuff. You know.
Alex Ferrari 1:01:00
I know. It's weird. It's weird. It's weird. It's weird. It's weird. Like, can I tweet you? I'm like, I can't stand doing I can't stand what anyone says, Can I tweet? Like, I'm a grown adult. I'm a grown adult. I'm saying tweet. No, it's it's, it's like the weirdest thing for me still, but I get it. It's the world that we live in today. Robyn, it has been an absolute pleasure talking to you. And thank you so much for being so honest and raw about your experience. In honestly, the best movie ever made. Without question and, and the pillow scene alone is is worth the price of admission for anybody.
Robyn Paris 1:01:36
That's right. That's right.
Alex Ferrari 1:01:39
Thank you so much, Robin. Appreciate it.
Robyn Paris 1:01:40
Thank you for having me, Alex. I really appreciate it too.
Alex Ferrari 1:01:44
I want to thank Robyn again for coming on. And just just being so kind with her time and talking about the room again, that she's price talked about that movie just nauseum for the last 10 years. So Robyn, thank you so much for being on. And guys, if you are fans of the room, you've got to watch our mockumentary series. I have two episodes on this in the show notes at indiefilmhustle.com/244 finished episodes so you can watch what she does what she did, and and hopefully help her with her Kickstarter campaign to finish off this series. It's super fun. And if you're a fan of the room, you've got to watch it. So thanks again, Robyn. If you haven't already, guys, head over to filmmakingpodcast.com, and leave a good review for the show. It really really does help us out a lot. Just do it on your iPhone. Do it on your computer, on your laptop, on your iPad, wherever you can get to the show. Please just leave us a good review. And five stars would be really, really helpful. And help us be found by more and more filmmakers so this information could get out to them. And as always keep that hustle going keep that dream alive and I'll talk to you soon. I did not hit her I did not. Oh Hi Mark.
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- The Room Actors: Where Are They Now? – KICKSTARTER
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