Finding “The Room” – Pinpointing Tommy Wiseau’s imaginary apartment building

I’ve gone on a deep dive into The Room after watching both The Disaster Artist and The Room in the same day. Also fit in the interview episode of How Did This Get Made, and presently about halfway through the audiobook.

For those who know the movie, it takes place in an apartment building in San Francisco. It was really filmed in a studio in Los Angles, and all of the rooftop scenes are green screen. 

I’m always curious about filming locations and enjoy visiting them. Since San Francisco is my favorite city and I know it well, I started thinking about how the green screen was replaced by a video (or since this was The Room, possibly a photo) and could I figure out where that was.*

Looking at the scene, there are a couple of wider shots where I could work out three reference points. The TransAmerica Pyramid, Sts Peter & Paul Church, and the rooftop adjacent to the apartment building. (click any image to enlarge)

The two landmarks are along Columbus Avenue, bookending my favorite neighborhood, North Beach.

Dropping into 3D Googlemaps, I lined up those buildings with the angle we see on the rooftop. 

This narrowed the search to essentially a straight line away from Sts Peter & Paul, slightly, *ahem*, North by Northwest of the church.

The distinctive roof of the adjacent building meant I could be sure once I found it. It has a stepped edge, a railing, and numerous round air units. Even if many changes happened in the 15+ years since The Room was filmed, that would likely be the same. Which led me to these buildings.

Back to 3D Googlemaps and I struck gold. There is the stepped edge, the air circulation system, and the roof access!

 

I click back one more step to look at the angle and … wait a second…

Dammit!

I should have known that anywhere I could go, Tommy Wiseau was there first.

I’ll have to stop by next time I’m in San Francisco.

*I assume lots of people have done this. Good for them! I wanted to figure it out rather than just googling it.