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‘The Room’ filming locations in San Francisco, mapped

Revisit the creation of the best bad movie ever made

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The Disaster Artist, directed by and starring Palo Alto’s own James Franco, is now playing in theaters, satirizing the filming of the 2003 independent film The Room, a cult classic hailed as one of the least intelligible pieces of cinema ever concocted.

Writer, director, actor, and possible space alien Tommy Wiseau shot many of The Room’s most unforgettable (for better or worse) scenes in San Francisco, in some cases just a few blocks away from where Franco’s acclaimed movie now screens.

Obsessive Room fans are known to guide their own tours of film location spots. But as Room aficionado Adam Hollett notes, numerous maps and tours are incomplete, leaving out or misidentifying key sites.

In fact, an unimpeachable guide to Wiseau’s rampage through SF may be impossible; San Francisco Film Commission Director Susannah Greason Robbins tells Curbed SF the original shooting permits no longer exist.

“Our permits are physical documents, so every five years we throw them out,” says Robbins.

Of course, that assumes they ever existed; as Room co-star Greg Sestero writes in the The Disaster Artist (the book upon which the film is based), Wiseau had a habit of just filming guerrilla-style—i.e., shooting anywhere he wanted without asking.

Here now are a few key locations that helped bring The Room to life and seared into the minds of its many fans.

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1. The Golden Gate Bridge

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Of course, as a movie set in San Francisco (although primarily shot in Los Angeles), The Room must open with a scene of the Golden Gate Bridge, in this case as seen from Marin County.

Cineastes should pay close attention to this seemingly pedestrian establishing shot, as it’s essentially the last time any decision about the making of the subsequent film makes any sense.

2. Pizza Zone

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555 Beach St
San Francisco, CA 94133
(415) 567-3244
Visit Website

If asked which building in San Francisco Tommy Wiseau still owns, most people would probably guess it’s the one that has his giant face plastered on the facade. And they’d be right, although the name on the deed is simply “Euro Properties LLC,” an identity as vague and unplaceable as Wiseau’s very own.

Back in 2002/2003, the current Pizza Zone site was a coffee house, where Wiseau and costar Greg Sestero filmed the baffling, “How’s your sex life?” scene.

The giant poster out front is the same image used on the original, infamous LA billboard advertising The Room’s first theatrical run. Wiseau refers to this shot of himself as “Evil Man.”

3. Golden Gate Park

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(415) 831-2700
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Every Room fan remembers the unexplained scene in which the male characters play football in an alley while wearing tuxedos for no explicable reason.

For some reason Wiseau felt the need to try to top that, as the San Francisco scenes feature yet another football game, in which he and Sestero frolic through Golden Gate Park, running side by side while tossing a football back and forth from a distance of all of five feet. Baffling, bizarre, beautiful.

4. Lyon Street Steps

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Broadway & Lyon St
San Francisco, CA 94115

And of course, a San Francisco frolic with your BFF isn’t complete until the two of you jog to the top of the Lyon Street Steps.

Why? What are they going to do at the top? No one knows.

Although the movie’s editing makes it appear that the steps are near Golden Gate Park, in reality the pair teleport clear across town. Perhaps the two really did run all the way from the park to the Presidio. These characters evidently have nothing else to do all day, so what’s to stop them?

5. The Apartment

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3416 Broderick St
San Francisco, CA 94123

The physical room in which much of The Room takes place was shot inside a Los Angeles studio. But the establishing shots show a grand brick-red Marina home that Wiseau liked the look of from curbside.

(Note that this address is approximate, and whoever actually lives here probably doesn’t want Room fans popping up at their front door.)

The infamous rooftop scenes were also shot in LA, with a green screen of the SF skyline to create the illusion of shooting on location in the Marina. However, the illusion is ruined by the fact that, in reality, bay winds should be blasting the actors in the face. Alas, their hairdos are as immobile as Wiseau’s performance.

6. California and Taylor

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Grace Cathedral, 1100 California St
San Francisco, CA 94108

A cable car is a necessity for any establishing San Francisco montage.

However, the notable thing about this scene is that having to time the shot to capture Wiseau taking his seat as the car rumbles by—his first appearance in the film—must have made this otherwise easy B-roll footage much harder to shoot. For all of the trouble, it adds nothing to the movie.

Taking a single, blurred, shadowy image of Wiseau’s face (hidden behind sunglasses) in passing isn’t the best use of the quintessential San Francisco imagery, but there it is. Note the appearance of Grace Cathedral in the background.

7. Sofia Cafe/Anniversary Flowers

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3463 16th St
San Francisco, CA 94114
(415) 800-8413
Visit Website

Today it’s called Sofia Cafe, but 15 years ago this was the site of Anniversary Flowers. It’s also the locale one of the most fundamentally terrible scene in cinematic history.

Precisely what happened that day to ensure that everything in this scene would be bad in the worst way possible remains a mystery. At the very least, it’s fair to say it wasn’t the flower shop’s fault.

While it’s disappointing to have lost the opportunity to buy a dozen red roses here, the last thing a struggling San Francisco florist needs is the weekly appearance of Tommy Wiseau impersonators looking for dogs to pat.

8. Hospital on “Guerrero Street”

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3555 Cesar Chavez St
San Francisco, CA 94110

Not content with doing strange things in real San Francisco locations, Wiseau and Sestero also felt the need to invent a bizarre anecdote about a San Francisco location that, as far as anyone can tell, never existed.

The movie’s reference to “a hospital on Guerrero Street” during the worst of the roof scenes is as confusing now as it was then. Fans agree that the closest location that fits that description is California Pacific Medical Center’s St Luke's Campus on Valencia.

Nothing else about the scene makes much sense, but at least we’ve got that hospital question pinned down. Small victories.

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1. The Golden Gate Bridge

Marin Headlands, California

Of course, as a movie set in San Francisco (although primarily shot in Los Angeles), The Room must open with a scene of the Golden Gate Bridge, in this case as seen from Marin County.

Cineastes should pay close attention to this seemingly pedestrian establishing shot, as it’s essentially the last time any decision about the making of the subsequent film makes any sense.

2. Pizza Zone

555 Beach St, San Francisco, CA 94133

If asked which building in San Francisco Tommy Wiseau still owns, most people would probably guess it’s the one that has his giant face plastered on the facade. And they’d be right, although the name on the deed is simply “Euro Properties LLC,” an identity as vague and unplaceable as Wiseau’s very own.

Back in 2002/2003, the current Pizza Zone site was a coffee house, where Wiseau and costar Greg Sestero filmed the baffling, “How’s your sex life?” scene.

The giant poster out front is the same image used on the original, infamous LA billboard advertising The Room’s first theatrical run. Wiseau refers to this shot of himself as “Evil Man.”

555 Beach St
San Francisco, CA 94133

3. Golden Gate Park

San Francisco, CA

Every Room fan remembers the unexplained scene in which the male characters play football in an alley while wearing tuxedos for no explicable reason.

For some reason Wiseau felt the need to try to top that, as the San Francisco scenes feature yet another football game, in which he and Sestero frolic through Golden Gate Park, running side by side while tossing a football back and forth from a distance of all of five feet. Baffling, bizarre, beautiful.

4. Lyon Street Steps

Broadway & Lyon St, San Francisco, CA 94115

And of course, a San Francisco frolic with your BFF isn’t complete until the two of you jog to the top of the Lyon Street Steps.

Why? What are they going to do at the top? No one knows.

Although the movie’s editing makes it appear that the steps are near Golden Gate Park, in reality the pair teleport clear across town. Perhaps the two really did run all the way from the park to the Presidio. These characters evidently have nothing else to do all day, so what’s to stop them?

Broadway & Lyon St
San Francisco, CA 94115

5. The Apartment

3416 Broderick St, San Francisco, CA 94123

The physical room in which much of The Room takes place was shot inside a Los Angeles studio. But the establishing shots show a grand brick-red Marina home that Wiseau liked the look of from curbside.

(Note that this address is approximate, and whoever actually lives here probably doesn’t want Room fans popping up at their front door.)

The infamous rooftop scenes were also shot in LA, with a green screen of the SF skyline to create the illusion of shooting on location in the Marina. However, the illusion is ruined by the fact that, in reality, bay winds should be blasting the actors in the face. Alas, their hairdos are as immobile as Wiseau’s performance.

3416 Broderick St
San Francisco, CA 94123

6. California and Taylor

Grace Cathedral, 1100 California St, San Francisco, CA 94108

A cable car is a necessity for any establishing San Francisco montage.

However, the notable thing about this scene is that having to time the shot to capture Wiseau taking his seat as the car rumbles by—his first appearance in the film—must have made this otherwise easy B-roll footage much harder to shoot. For all of the trouble, it adds nothing to the movie.

Taking a single, blurred, shadowy image of Wiseau’s face (hidden behind sunglasses) in passing isn’t the best use of the quintessential San Francisco imagery, but there it is. Note the appearance of Grace Cathedral in the background.

Grace Cathedral, 1100 California St
San Francisco, CA 94108

7. Sofia Cafe/Anniversary Flowers

3463 16th St, San Francisco, CA 94114

Today it’s called Sofia Cafe, but 15 years ago this was the site of Anniversary Flowers. It’s also the locale one of the most fundamentally terrible scene in cinematic history.

Precisely what happened that day to ensure that everything in this scene would be bad in the worst way possible remains a mystery. At the very least, it’s fair to say it wasn’t the flower shop’s fault.

While it’s disappointing to have lost the opportunity to buy a dozen red roses here, the last thing a struggling San Francisco florist needs is the weekly appearance of Tommy Wiseau impersonators looking for dogs to pat.

3463 16th St
San Francisco, CA 94114

8. Hospital on “Guerrero Street”

3555 Cesar Chavez St, San Francisco, CA 94110

Not content with doing strange things in real San Francisco locations, Wiseau and Sestero also felt the need to invent a bizarre anecdote about a San Francisco location that, as far as anyone can tell, never existed.

The movie’s reference to “a hospital on Guerrero Street” during the worst of the roof scenes is as confusing now as it was then. Fans agree that the closest location that fits that description is California Pacific Medical Center’s St Luke's Campus on Valencia.

Nothing else about the scene makes much sense, but at least we’ve got that hospital question pinned down. Small victories.

3555 Cesar Chavez St
San Francisco, CA 94110