The Truman Show
From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
"Decades [before The Truman Show (1998)], The Secret Cinema (1967), Hi, Mom! (1970) or Death Watch (1979) already exploited the premise of someone being unwittingly the subject of ..." --Routledge Handbook of Surveillance Studies (2012) by Kirstie Ball, David Lyon, Kevin D. Haggerty
The Truman Show is a 1998 American satirical comedy-drama film directed by Peter Weir and written by Andrew Niccol. The cast includes Jim Carrey as Truman Burbank, as well as Laura Linney, Noah Emmerich, Ed Harris and Natascha McElhone. The film chronicles the life of a man who is initially unaware that he is living in a constructed reality television show, broadcast around the clock to billions of people across the globe. Truman becomes suspicious of his perceived reality and embarks on a quest to discover the truth about his life.
The genesis of The Truman Show was a spec script by Niccol, inspired by an episode of The Twilight Zone called "Special Service". The original draft was more in tone of a science fiction thriller, with the story set in New York City. Scott Rudin purchased the script, and instantly set the project up at Paramount Pictures. Brian De Palma was in contention to direct before Weir took over and managed to make the film for $60 million against the estimated $80 million budget. Niccol rewrote the script simultaneously as the filmmakers were waiting for Carrey's schedule to open up for filming. The majority of filming took place at Seaside, Florida, a master-planned community located in the Florida Panhandle.
The film was a financial and critical success, and earned numerous nominations at the 71st Academy Awards, 56th Golden Globe Awards, 52nd British Academy Film Awards and The Saturn Awards. The Truman Show has been analyzed as a thesis on Christianity, metaphilosophy, simulated reality, existentialism and the rise of reality television.
- List of films featuring surveillance
- EDtv, another 1998 film about the star of a 24-hour reality television show
- "They" (1941) science fiction short story by Robert Heinlein
- "A World of Difference", an episode of The Twilight Zone (1960) about a man finding himself on a movie set as an actor playing himself.
- The Secret Cinema, a short film (1968) by Paul Bartel with a similar premise.
- "Special Service", an episode of The Twilight Zone (1989) with a similar premise.
- Bolt, a 2008 film with a similar premise.
- Synecdoche, New York (2008)
- Simulated reality