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Behind-The-Scenes Stories From 'The Truman Show'

March 12, 2020 13.6k views14 items

The Truman Show is one of those movies that you keep thinking about for years after seeing it. The 1998 comedy/drama/science fiction film follows a man who was adopted by a company as a child and lives his life inside a controlled television show until he finally begins to catch on to the scheme.

Prior to his acclaimed performances in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and Kidding, The Truman Show marked Jim Carrey’s first major foray into dramatic acting, and he received rave reviews for his performance. The fascinating premise was backed by a clever storyline and an all-star cast, which helped make The Truman Show both a commercial and critical success. The film currently holds a 94% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes and grossed over $264 million at the box office. But here are some stories you may not have heard about the making of the groundbreaking movie.

  • Carrey Almost Died While Shooting The Climax Of The Film

    In order to finally escape Seahaven, Truman must conquer his fear of water and nearly drowns after director Christof, played by Ed Harris, simulates a major storm to stop him. But despite shooting the scene in a tank on the Universal lot, Carrey actually almost drowned.

    In 2018, he told Vanity Fair

    I was wearing wool clothing—a big wool sweater, wool pants, and shoes—and they had jet engines blowing on me, and they had these giant wave machines that were creating gale-force waves. 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. 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.

  • The Trumania Scene Was Based On Jim Carrey’s Actual Morning Routine

    One of the more visually memorable scenes in the film happens as Truman is getting ready in the morning in front of the mirror and uses soap to draw himself inside an astronaut suit and helmet, proclaiming this planet “Trumania.” Carrey has said that the idea for the scene came from something he actually did at home when he’d draw soap masks and then put his face inside them. 

    “Sometimes I would do a whole body suit or a big frilly dress with a wig and then put myself into it,” Carrey explained.

  • The Script Underwent Nearly 30 Revisions To Keep The Logic As Tight As Possible

    When Carrey signed on to star in the film, his existing commitments to The Cable Guy and Liar, Liar resulted in production on The Truman Show being delayed by one year. But in the documentary How’s It Going To End? The Making of The Truman Show, director Peter Weir said the production delay actually ended up being a “great accidental happening” because it allowed them to refine the script to be as believable as possible.

    “I wanted the logic of the piece [to be] absolutely water tight,” Weir explained. “I wanted to have thought of every question that an audience might ask. Because I knew that if we didn’t answer them, even in small details, then it would open a crack in the piece and they would say it couldn’t happen.”

  • Carrey Based Truman Off Of His Own Father

    Truman used his most memorable catchphrase when greeting people in the neighborhood. “Good Morning! And in case I don’t see ya… good afternoon, good evening, and goodnight!” Carey came up with the line as a tribute to his own dad, who he said was the type of guy who “wanted people to feel covered.”

    “My father’s demeanor was Truman,” Carrey told Vanity Fair. “He used to lean in when he would say, ‘Hello, how are ya?’ He’d start laughing even before you told him how things were. He was just a very affable, beautiful soul. I wanted it to be a tribute to him, so there are little moments throughout the movie that are so my dad that my family would go, ‘Oh, you were doing Dad.’”