How The Disaster Artist Painstakingly Re-created Tommy Wiseau’s L.A. Los Angeles Magazine
P. 3–5 We follow MIA who works in a COFFEE SHOP on a STUDIO LOT. She wants him to meet a woman but he's not interested. . P. 46 SEBASTIAN overhears snatches of MIA's voice in the other room, she's talking to her. Parrish smiles complaisantly, they continue on into a break- fast room where SUSAN, . CORINTH COFFEE SHOP, NEW YORK AVENUE - DAY A thriving eatery .. personal, they're winter scene or something, snow-flakes and dachshunds. Denny exits, and a three-minute love scene commences, scored to terrible R&B. There's a Do you want some coffee? Claudette: . Johnny's car pulls up to a flower shop. .. Where in the hell did you meet a man like that?.
A, toughened but still a dreamer. Mia waits to continue but the casting director has seen enough and thanks her for coming. They are about to leave when MIA suddenly appears and joins them. MIA takes in the surroundings of the party where every Hollywood cliche is apparent and fitting in is not easy.
In the bathroom, she takes a moment for herself and sings, feeling vulnerable, before she joins the party again. She moves through the party and ends up at pool where someone jumps in. Everyone joins in, circling the pool, singing and dancing.
Here ends the song. She follows that sound. His sister wants him to let go that he got ripped off and start living again. After she leaves, he practices the same Thelonious Monk song we heard in his car that morning, over and over, till he gets it right. He has worked there before. His boss reminds him to stick to the set list. Right then, Mia steps in and is immediately struck by this playing and a fantasy scene follows in which Mia and Sebastian are all alone.
MIA is struck by the song. MIA feels slapped in the face. MIA visits a party where a 80s cover band plays. MIA aims with her key fob at the lined cars but there is no beep. They reach a clearing where the city skyline appears, a romantic sight but they downplay the romantic setting. They break into a song — a lovely night- and sing about this while they obviously feel something brewing.
At the height of their blossoming romance, a cell phone cuts through. MIA confesses she hates jazz. When he has his own club Van Beek back, the musicians could play whatever they want.
MIA is moved by him and they have a special moment which is interrupted when her phone rings. She has a call-back for a show which is sort of Rebel without a cause. They set a date for Monday evening. There is something brewing between them but they both suppress it. MIA has practices her role a lot and is disappointed when she only gets one chance to say a few lines. She goes home humiliated. She had forgotten about that. MIA is bored, restless and uneasy. During the movie, their bodies grow closer inch by inch until their hands touch.
When they are about to kiss, the screen goes blank.
They walk around and somewhere they begin dancing. This dance is fulfillIng and they drift off into the planetarium where they spin and twirl as if they were in outer space. Finally, they lock lips. Interspersed throughout we see images of L. He has a great time and MIA dances her heart out although the place is almost empty. They used to play together. KEITH is looking for keys for a new combo.
This means the world to her and she surprises him with a drawing of the name design for his club. He likes that line. He plays to see how it feels. The combo plays modern jazz with an electronic feel.
KEITH tells him that the music is different and that jazz is about the future and that he can have the job if he wants it.
He plays the piano when MIA enters. A melody we have heard before. He starts singing and she joins him. Although it was filmed in Los Angeles, the movie is set in San Francisco, and proves that with many repetitive establishing shots and outdoor scenes.
I found this map that someone made which details some of the shots filmed in San Francisco, and decided to visit and photograph whichever ones I could. In the process, I discovered that the map isn't perfect. A few locations are missing or incorrect. So I decided to make my own, both to keep track of the locations I'd visited and photographed, and to try to improve on the original idea by adding information alongside each marker, like trivia about the film relevant to the location.
Day 1 I stayed downtown, in the financial district, just north of Union Square. I had one day set aside for exploring, so on that day I walked east to the Embarcadero, then up along the waterfront past Fisherman's Wharf and eventually to the Palace of Fine Arts near the Presidio. I visited The Exploratorium on the way. I stopped by the location from the famous coffee shop scene, and learned from the clerk there that Tommy Wiseau still owns and manages the building that houses the coffee shop, which is now a pizza joint called Pizza Zone.
The friendly man working there I was the only customer spent a few minutes showing me DVD copies of The Room that he had behind the counter, and a shelf of Tommy Wiseau underwear. The pizza wasn't bad either.
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Outside that building, there's a huge poster advertising The Room with the infamous photo of Tommy Wiseau's face, and a giant sculpture of a pair of jeans, an homage to Tommy's clothing company Street Fashions USA. I continued west, past Fort Mason into the Marina district, which houses the Palace of Fine Arts and the house meant to be Johnny and Lisa's apartment in the movie.
It's actually just someone's home, and Wiseau filmed several shots outside the house without asking the permission of the homeowners or getting a permit.
In the interests of not intruding too much on someone's home, I snapped a quick selfie from across the street with the house in the background. At this point, I almost turned back because I wasn't sure how far it was to any other locations. But I decided to walk one more block west, and was surprised when the Palace of Fine Arts turned out to be right next to the house.
I got some photos and spent some time walking around the palace and the rotunda. The palace is next to Lyon Street, which features some steep steps that Johnny and Mark jog up during a morning run. I decided to head there as my last stop for the day, and began an arduous climb up Lyon Street to the base of the stairs. As if the hilly street wasn't enough of a climb, the stairs proved to be very steep and there were quite a few of them. At the top, a man with a dog was nice enough to snap my picture.
I had walked about seven miles that day, so I called an Uber and headed back. Day 2 I had to work for the rest of my time in the city, but I still had a few things to see, so for the next few days I woke up early and went for walks before work.
On my second day of exploring, I took the subway down to the Mission, which is the location of the building used in the flower shop scene in the movie.
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I walked west on 16th Street for quite a long time, but I couldn't figure out which building was the right one, and it didn't seem to be where the map said it was.
I snapped a picture of the closest candidate, and popped into a restaurant called Kitchen Story try their "Millionaire's Bacon" for breakfast before heading to work. I did some research that night and used Street View to figure out where I'd gone wrong. It turns out I had looking on the wrong side of the road, and had in fact walked right past the flower shop building twice. Along the way, I'd walked past Guerrero Street. In the movie, Mark mentions a "hospital on Guerrero Street", but that line was ad-libbed.
There's no hospital on Guerrero Street. Day 3 I returned to the Mission the next day before work, and walked on the other side of 16th Street this time.
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It was a bit of a trek, but I finally found the building used in the flower shop scene and took a photo. In the movie, it's a place called Anniversary Flowers and Gifts, but that's since closed. It's since been home to a couple of other businesses, but it's not currently in use and the windows are boarded up.
Later that day, I realized I only had one significant location left to visit: