Jim Carrey is Truman Burbank, the most famous face on television, only he doesn't know it. He is the unwitting star of a nonstop, 24-hour-a-day documentary soap opera called The Truman Show, with every moment of his life broadcast to a worldwide audience. Everyone around him is an actor. He is a prisoner in a made-for-TV paradise. This is the story of his escape.
Rarely has a first-time collaboration between a writer and director produced such a stunning result. In this book, both Niccol and Weir's lively talents and creative force come to light, as each contributes some highly original material to amplify the brilliant107-page shooting script, reproduced here in facsimile. Niccol has given us another version of The Truman Show, in photos and captions—in effect, our very own photo album. For his contribution, Peter Weir chose to let us in on the intricately detailed, often hilarious "backstory," which he wrote as part of his preparation, and eventually shared with the cast and crew during production. Also included are complete cast and crew credits.
About the Author
Andrew Niccol, a New Zealander, wroteThe Truman Show before turning his hand todirecting. Gattaca, also an original screenplayby Niccol, was his feature film directingdebut—a science fiction drama about geneticdiscrimination.
Academy Award® nominee Peter Weir previouslydirected Witness, Dead Poet's Society,Picnic at Hanging Rock, Gallipoli, The Year ofLiving Dangerously, The Mosquito Coast, andFearless. He lives in Australia.
On Tuesday, July 14, barnesandnoble.com welcomed Andrew Niccol, author of THE TRUMAN SHOW THE SHOOTING SCRIPT.
Moderator: Welcome, Andrew Niccol! Thank you for taking the time to join us online tonight. How are you doing this evening?
Andrew Niccol: I am pleased to be here and look forward to answering your questions.
Mike from MMuntz@yahoo.com: How did you come upon writing the screenplay for this movie? Was it a Peter Weir idea that you wrote the screenplay for? Or was the idea your idea?
Andrew Niccol: The idea was my idea. How did I come up with the idea? I have always had the feeling that people were lying to me.
Barbara Goldstein from New York City: Have you written any books? Any plans to write a book? What is your opinion of the recent trend of filmmakers writing novels, like Ethan Cohen and Gus Van Sant?
Andrew Niccol: No, I have not written any books. You could say that I don't consider screenplay a work of literature. It is more of a map for making a film. I haven't read either of their books, so I can't comment. If they are good, more power to them.
Peter Kim from Haverford, PA: I thought "Gattaca" was great. My question is, were you were intentionally trying to give the movie a 50s-esque feel to it? With the suits...what do you think that represented? (I loved it.)
Andrew Niccol: The reason that I borrowed from the 50s is twofold. 1) I couldn't afford to invent an entirely new future, so I dragged what I thought was the best of the past and the present into the future with me. 2) The 50s were a time when people were still optimistic about the future. So much of the architecture and the fashion still looks futuristic today.
Pac87@aol.com from XX: Curious to get your opinion as a filmmaker of the top 100 movies of all time as claimed recently by the AFA?
Andrew Niccol: I just don't believe in ranking films, so I couldn't comment on the selection. As long as "The Tree of Wooden Clogs" was on the list.
Marshall from New York City: First off, I though the movie was fantastic. Secondly, curious to know what you thought about all the great reviews? Do you care as a moviemaker what the reviewers have to say? No angry threatening phone calls like...
Andrew Niccol: I would say that if you believe the good reviews, then you have to believe the bad. So I don't take that much notice.
Eric from Cardif, CA: I am sure that somebody is going to ask this question, eventually, but I was wondering what you think about this lawsuit being brought against the "The Truman Show" by that off-off Broadway playwright?
Andrew Niccol: At the risk of sounding like Bill Clinton, the lawyers on the case have asked me not to comment. All I can say is where there is a hit, there is a risk.
O'Conner from Aurora, CO: Did you interact with Jim Carey a lot for this job? What is he like in real life?
Andrew Niccol: In a way it was casting to type. Because Jim lives in a fish bowl already. So his life is closely scrutinized. The great compliment to Jim about his role is that for the first time, Jim is in a film instead of being a film, he allows himself to be very vulnerable, naturally. It is difficult for a comedian to let his guard down that way.
Niki from Niki_palek@yahoo.com: I thought this movie had a brilliant script. How long have you been working on this project? Where you satisfied with the final result?
Andrew Niccol: It has been years in the making, and scripts are necessarily fluid things. They are never exactly as you can imagine, but certain things about the way Peter Weir handled the film were beyond my expectations.
Gil from Santa Monica, CA: Who are some of your favorite filmmakers? What about authors?
Andrew Niccol: I wouldn't like to name just one, it would skew your perception, but everything is an influence. I could be as influenced by something I saw on the way to this interview as by any great work of literature or cinema.
Earl from Irvine, CA: What is your favorite genre of movie? "Gattaca" sure seems a lot different than "The Truman Show."
Andrew Niccol: I never write in any particualr genre. Where the films eventually end up in the video shelves is up to Blockbuster.
Lucille from Boston, MA: I loved the character Christof! Did you base his character [on] anybody in particular? Thanks!
Andrew Niccol: He is a compilation of many producers and directors. Most of them believe they are playing God,and Christof comes closer than most. Ed Harris brings another dimension to this role, as well as coming with the authority that Ed is known for. He also brings a great tenderness to the part of Christof. You feel he is a surrogate father, it is the truth.
Gil from San Diego, CA: What are you working on next? Are you currently making a movie?
Andrew Niccol: I am scribbling on something, but nothing definite. I would be too paranoid to tell you any more than that.
Moderator: Thank you, Andrew Niccol! Best of luck in the future. Do you any final thoughts for the online audience?
Andrew Niccol: Thank you for the interesting questions. I hope you enjoyed the film, and I hope you enjoy the book of the film.