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THE TRUMAN SHOW

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Blackly comic, yet exhilarating and ultimately inspiring, Truman's story reflects the hopes and anxieties that grip us all as the century lurches toward its close

Blackly comic, yet exhilarating and ultimately inspiring, Truman's story reflects the hopes and anxieties that grip us all as the century lurches toward its close.

It was producer Scott Rudin who acquired Niccol's script and first brought it to Peter Weir's attention. "When I first read it, I was intrigued," says Weir. "My next thought, as a filmmaker, was about how to translate this extraordinary tale to film."

Weir got together with Jim Carrey, who had already committed to the project. "I met with Jim," Weir explains, "and we shared an enthusiasm for the material, and talked easily, which I saw as a sign of potential for a good working rapport. I thought he was an ideal choice for the role. I really couldn't think of anyone else who could do it."

Carrey also enjoyed his early collaborations with Weir. "I first met Peter a few months before filming when he came to my home and brought binders full of paintings, photographs, sketches and writings he had done when he was thinking about the character. He completely inspired me."

Weir recalls a story he heard once from a friend of Charlie Chaplin's. "This longtime friend was playing tennis with Chaplin one day, and happened to ask Chaplin to what he attributed his great success," relates Weir. "'Two words,' replied Chaplin. 'Charm and energy. The two qualities the audience most lack.' And that's true of Jim. This is why I felt his casting was ideal." Weir found his collaboration with Carrey rewarding; "He has a wealth of talent and ideas. He comes up with material all the time, so that when you have a scene there's always a potential mine of detail that comes to life," says Weir.

As to what attracted him to "The Truman Show," Carrey says "when I first read the script, it just blew me away. I had thought about this concept at one time. It rings a bell with a lot of people. What if everybody is just an actor in my story? This is a fascinating film with lots of layers to it. It's not your regular movie."

Ed Harris plays Christof, the mastermind, creator, producer and director of "The Truman Show," who monitors, maneuvers and manipulates Truman's environment from his mammoth control room with the aid of his huge staff. Banks of video monitors display live feeds of the various parts of Seahaven where over 5000 continually running hidden cameras are stationed to capture the action. Christof is protective of Truman, not only because of his affection for the young man, but because, without Truman, there would be no "Truman Show" -- the phenomenally successful 30-year series which began when Truman was born. The innovative show has brought its creator worldwide attention and untold wealth.

"I don't think he's necessarily villainous," says Ed Harris of his character. "He's raised Truman essentially since he was born. He cares about him on a certain level. But he also cares about his television show - the show is his life. He's a complex fellow - a bit of a director, a god, and a father..."

Weir cast Laura Linney in the role of Meryl, Truman's wife, whose Donna Reed disposition is so excessively sunny it couldn't possibly be real. "The first thing that crossed my mind," says Linney, was " 'Won't it be great working with Peter Weir!' Then when I read the script, it was so creative, unique and challenging from an acting point of view that I kn

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