You could make a solid case for The Truman Show as Jim Carrey's best film. If it's not #1, it's at least in the top three. We saw a new side of Carrey that we weren't used to: a serious one. Sure, there were humorous moments in the film, the point was to make you think, not laugh.
It's been 20 years since The Truman Show was released, and even though everyone knew about Truman's life, they probably didn't know these facts.
1. Pay Cut
At the time, Jim Carrey was coming off blockbuster hits like Ace Ventura, and his skills were a hot commodity. His standard paycheck was about $20 million per film, but he took a pay cut for The Truman Show. He still made $12 million, though.
2. Zip It
Even though his lines were already legendary, there was a rule on set that no one could use any of Carrey's catchphrases. It makes sense, seeing as this film was a departure from his classic comedies. Plus, it would get annoying to hear people yell "ALLLLLRIGHTY THEN" 10,000 times a day.
Jim Carrey and Ed Harris, who plays Christof, never met during filming. Originally, Dennis Hopper was scheduled to play the role, but after one day of filming he walked off set. There's rumors that he was fired, and others that he quit for "artistic reasons", but either way, he had to be replaced. By the time Harris was brought in, Carrey was already finished filming.
4. Take Your Vitamins
In one of the scenes with Meryl and Truman, you can see a bottle of vitamin D on the table. While it may seem normal, it's a subtle nod to Truman's life. Vitamin D is for people who don't have exposure to natural sunlight, which Truman never has in his life. He has lived under the dome with artificial light the whole time.
5. Hop To It
Seahaven Island is actually a small town called Seaside, Florida. When director Peter Weir showed up with his production team, they knew immediately they had found the perfect location. Pre-production started the same week they scouted the location.
"Unpack our things. We've found our town," Weir said.
6. Artistic Abilities
When Truman is talking to himself in the mirror, that's all improvised by Jim Carrey. He drew on the mirror with soap and pretended to be an astronaut, and in another take he drew long curly hair and a dress.
7. Hit The Books
The Truman Show is studied heavily, both in high school and university, when talking about ethics. Specifically, Media Ethics courses focus on the creator, Christof, Truman's best friend, Marlon, and how Truman's wife, Meryl, was essentially prostituted for live television.
Weir originally wanted the audience to be involved in the film somehow, wanting all projectionists running the film to cut the power, cut to the viewers, and then cut back to the movie. He also toyed with the idea of being Christof in the movie to make it extra meta.
9. First Choice
Though Jim Carrey may seem like an odd choice for a serious role, Weir says he was the first choice. He was so set on having Carrey as Truman, that production waited a whole year for him to complete Liar, Liar.
"I saw a poster of "Ace Ventura" in the local video store," Weir said in 1998. "I was interested in the haircut and the birds -- it was a striking poster. I was aimlessly wandering down the aisles, and finally I said, "Gimme that one with 'Ace Ventura.'" And right from the opening glimpse of Jim, I thought, "Ah, hello, here's someone new."
10. Different Directions
The original screenplay was called The Malcolm Show, and was billed as a "paranoid drama" written by Andrew Nicol. Gary Oldman was set to play the title character, but obviously things changed.
11. Life Imitating Art
Both Jim Carrey and Ed Harris say they can understand their characters or the overall story.
"Personally, I could understand Christof," said Harris. "He builds this whole town for Truman when Truman's a baby and then he gets immersed in it. It's not just a job and it's not just a TV show. It's his creation. He can cue the sun. He can bring the rains. He feels like God and his ego begins to swell."
"It's very parallel to my life in many, many ways," Carrey admitted. "There's a lot of levels to think about on this movie. Everybody's felt unrequited love, the person they couldn't have. Everybody at some point gets to a point where they have to separate themselves from what people want for them and what they want for themselves. And in order to do that, you have to go into unknown territory, you have to take a risk of losing everything."