The following brief article can be found in the "Back to Work" section
of the Fall Movie Preview, featuring "Great directors who took a break
The Pitch: All the world's a stage for Truman Burbank (Jim Carrey), the unwitting subject of an around-the-clock TV program that broadcasts his every move - until he attempts a daring escape. (Paramount / December)
The Big Picture: "Haven't you had that feeling
that everyone around you is acting?" asks screenwriter Andrew Niccol, recalling
his initial concept for the film. Though the New Zealander wanted to direct,
the script wound up in the hands of Peter Weir (Dead Poets Society),
and Niccol went on to helm Gattaca instead. Less a statement about
media voyeurism than a surreal incarnation of Candid Camera, the
film underwent a major repair during shooting: Dennis Hopper walked off
the set over "creative differences," and Ed Harris stepped up to the plate.
"I borrowed some dailies to see what world I was coming into, and figured,
What the hell. Let's go for it," says Harris, who came to relish his bad-guy
role as a hardened network executive. "It's my show," he says of his character.
"I adopted an unwanted child and then chronicled the first year of his
life on television. And it was so popular, we just kept doing it." If you
feel sort of bad for Truman, don't worry - you're supposed to. Carrey took
an $8 million pay cut to play the character, another departure from his
usual antics that has Hollywood shuddering with Cable Guy flashbacks.
Laura Linney, who plays Truman's wife, says, "There's a simplicity that's
required for this role, and I think people will be surprised to see him