Jim Carrey in The Truman Show.
Jim Carrey in The Truman Show.

The Truman Show: What you never knew

"Good morning, and in case I don't see ya, good afternoon, good evening, and good night!"

As we all know, that's a classic line from The Truman Show, the hit movie starring Jim Carrey as an unsuspecting star of a reality show.

The film was released in 1998 and was the year's 11th highest grossing film behind Armageddon, Saving Private Ryan and Godzilla to name a few.

The Truman Show proved that Carrey, who had mostly appeared in screwball comedies, could pull off a dramatic role and he went on to win a Golden Globe for Best Actor for his work in the film.

To celebrate this iconic movie, we've tracked down some little known facts about The Truman Show.

 

The film was shot in Florida.
The film was shot in Florida.

 

IT WAS MEANT TO BE MUCH DARKER

Andrew Niccol wrote the original script and at first it wasn't going to be such a family friendly movie.

"Truman had a drinking problem," the screenwriter explained about the film's original premise. "He was cheating on his wife with a prostitute - of course, he didn't know that it was the worst-kept secret in the world, since the affair was being televised. In one scene, he fails to intervene in an assault on the subway."

Rather than being set in a seaside town, the original movie was going to be set in a city that looked just like New York City. But director Peter Weir had concerns about the original script's "dark tone".

"Why build a New York set? Too costly," he told Vanity Fair. "And why would millions tune in 24/7 to something grim and depressing?

"I contacted Andrew, and he was willing to work with me on a fresh approach."

 

Laura Linney played Truman’s wife, Meryl Burbank.
Laura Linney played Truman’s wife, Meryl Burbank.

 

ACTOR SACKED AFTER TWO DAYS

Dennis Hopper was originally cast as the Christof, the director and creator of The Truman Show. But after just a few days of filming, he was sacked and replaced by Ed Harris.

"Scott Rudin, the producer, had made an agreement with the director (Peter Weir) that … he didn't want me to do the part, and if he didn't like what I did after the first day's dailies then he would fire me," Hopper said in an interview. "And they fired me.

"I'd gone and really researched the part. It was really an unfortunate situation."

 

Ed Harris played Christof after Dennis Hopper was sacked.
Ed Harris played Christof after Dennis Hopper was sacked.

 

STAR ALMOST DROWNED

At the end of the movie, Truman almost dies as he tries to escape the fake world he's unknowingly been living in.

And it turns out Jim Carrey almost died while filming that scene.

"I don't know if you can see it in the film, but they've got divers under the water, and I'm actually giving the signal of like, 'I'm in trouble,' which was a clenched fist," the actor told Vanity Fair. "They just saw it as acting.

"I went under, I had no breath left, and I was drowning. I was under the water at the bottom of the pool, and with the last breath, with the last hint of consciousness, I just spun and made a couple of gigantic strokes toward the back of the storm and came up outside the storm gasping for air and exhausted.

"I just barely made it to the edge of the wall where the sky is, and hung on the edge of the wall gasping for air, looking back at the storm that was raging still, and it went on for another minute and then slowly shut down. They didn't know where I was, and then they finally saw me and came over. I almost died. That was the real deal."

 

ACCIDENTAL ACTORS

Remember those identical twins who were Truman's neighbours?

They were actually policemen who were hired to direct traffic around the movie set and ended up with a spot in the film.

Director Peter Weir saw how friendly they were with the film's cast and crew and offered them both on-screen roles.

"At one point, we got carried away and pushed Jim Carrey too hard and Jim says, 'Not so rough, guys!'" one of the twins, Ron Taylor, told People magazine. "And when we finished we got applause from the cast and crew …. Jim Carrey was laughing. He goes, 'Where did you get these guys?'"

 

The twins were actually cops who were hired to work on the movie set.
The twins were actually cops who were hired to work on the movie set.

 

DIRECTOR'S BIZARRE IDEA

Peter Weir, who not only directed The Truman Show but also Dead Poets Society and Picnic at Hanging Rock, had an interesting idea for how to involve theatregoers in the movie.

"I would have loved to have had a video camera installed in every theatre the film was to be seen," he said in an interview. "At one point, the projectionist would cut power and could cut to the viewers in the cinema and then back to the movie. But I thought it was best to leave that idea untested."

The stunt was almost technically impossible at the time.

 

Director Peter Weir with Jim Carrey on the set of The Truman Show.
Director Peter Weir with Jim Carrey on the set of The Truman Show.

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