The Truman Show is a movie so affecting that it resulted in a real-world delusion named after it. A paranoid and suspicion-driven masterpiece, The Truman Show follows the story of Truman Burbank, a normal man who is unknowingly the subject of the world’s most popular TV series.
When Truman begins to discover things in his world (which is actually a full scale television set) aren’t quite right, it sets him off on a game of cat and mouse as he tries to escape his simulated life. Starring Jim Carrey, The Truman Show is a personal favorite here at The Digital Fix, and sits firmly on our list of the best movies of all time.
The 1998 movie was an opportunity for Carrey, who had been known for his highly successful comedy movie career, to prove he had the dramatic chops. And prove it he did.
But before Weir was brought onto the project, The Truman Show looked incredibly different. In fact, once the ‘90s movie had its director, screenwriter Andrew Niccol would go through sixteen rewrites.
In a recent interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Niccol revealed just how much was changed from his original vision to the incredible film we got. Most notably, the setting was to take place in an alternate version of New York, rather than the idyllic community of Seahaven.
“I did envisage something darker,” Niccol said. “In the original script, there was an innocent passenger attacked on the subway as a way to test Truman’s courage, and Truman had a platonic relationship with a prostitute who he dressed as Sylvia [Natascha McElhone].”
Supposedly, the reveal of the TV show format was going to be saved for a third act twist, but the version of the movie we got lets audiences in on the concept from much earlier on, which allows us to root for Truman on a much more visceral level.
Part of the reasoning for all the changes was due to the fact that a humongous New York city sound stage would have been impractical. As director Peter Weir said himself [via The New York Times], “No producer would ever get the backing to create a set duplicating that complex city. Too expensive.”
Although a darker thriller movie version of The Truman Show might have been intriguing, there’s an element of hope in the final version that we think is essential to the success of the story. Though it’s still not the most lighthearted of watches, it remains one of the best Jim Carrey performances and most original movies ever made.
Find out why The Truman Show is the fastest ‘yes’ Jim Carrey ever gave for a role, and how Clint Eastwood is responsible for one of Jim Carrey’s weirdest roles. You can also see if Carrey is set to return in the Sonic 3 release date, and take a look at all the new movies coming out this year.