Jim Carrey Online
You are here: Home > Movies > The Truman Show
The Truman Show
Page 6 of 6

» Basic Information
» Related News
» What's It About
» Credits
» Movie Quotes
» Production Notes
» Trailers
» Official Movie Sites
» DVD / Other formats
» Soundtrack
» Interviews


Interviews and information by the film crew members and extras of "The Truman Show"!


Notes from Aloura Melissa Charles, Production Assistant

How would you describe the shoot's ambiance? Did you find it relaxed or like there was an unusual feeling of pressure on the cast and crew?

The shoot's ambiance was for the most part relaxed and laid back.. there was a definite order and daily bustle.. things needed to get finished and they did .. but except for the problems with the weather.. I think things ran pretty much on schedule... and everyone had a pretty good experience.

Did you get to meet Jim Carrey? What opinion did you make on him and his performance?

Mr. Carrey is a fine actor.. an opinion that has been cemented by working around him on this last feature.. from the dailies that I've seen, I think this will be a break through film for him... I'd never really thought of him as a dramatic actor before this film.. but I've gained a lot of respect for him.. and eagerly await the finished product of the Truman Show...

In what cinematic genre would you classify THE TRUMAN SHOW?

The genre of this film can only be described as a Peter Weir film.

Back to the TOP

Comments from Ron Hudspeth, an extra.

About the possibility of the movie getting an R rating:

Well I can tell you if it is rated anything but G it will be because of its "dark" nature. In the 25 days of shooting I observed, the most violence in the film was were Jim bounces of a Taxi and the "dirty-est" words were "My Aunt's Fanny." I kid you not. I think that the Rating of PG-13 would even be too harsh, but it may be what they settle for so you don't think it is too "tame" to go and watch.

When questioned if the movie is going to be funny and the possible reason for Dennis Hopper's departure from the cast:

Personally, after watching the script go through 5 revisions (I am sure it went through more after they left location and started the studio stuff), I think the main reason Hopper would quit was that the part of Kristof had been "defanged." More emphasis on Truman and his reactions and interactions; more on the "actors" on set with Truman and Hopper had lost his "controlling" part. Of course that is MHO, since I can't read into Hopper's mind. I do know that Harris had just worked with Laura in Absolute Power, they seemed to do well together, and it would not have surprised me if she suggested him for the part. Make no mistake, this is not a "Carrey" Film, it could have been done by a young Jimmy Stewart or Cary Grant, it is a drama-dy, but he still has had the chances to infuse it with his personality. I once watched him do a scene where his line was "Well, OK then" He got the line out and then said "Cut, Darn I am doing Ace here." He was very concious of staying within the bounds of "normalacy" that the charachter demands. IHMO, he has never done a "real life" character before. I believe that you will feel that Truman is a very real character by the end of the movie.

On some interesting promotional strategies for the movie:

Just wanted to mention as well as the trailers, there was a "mocumentary" shot for HBO films while we were on set and I had a chance to be in that as well. As you may know, "THE TRUMAN SHOW" is a movie about a television show called, strangely enough, THE TRUMAN SHOW. Well the HBO film will be a behind the scenes look at THE TRUMAN SHOW TV production, so will be firmly rooted in the fantasy, as if the TV show has really existed for all these years. Harry Shearer will play the interviewer, and you can look for several previously unknowns to play major parts in the Mocumentary. I also understand that Peter Weir has a cameo in the bit as well. I believe the HBO episode will be called "Tru-Talk" after a behind the scenes show in the script.

About the movie's special effects and date of completion (answered on the 25th of March, 1997):

Actually there will be more of the post Production than your standard Drama. Several outdoor scenes (actually closer to 50%) are slated to have scenery inserted by computer (ala Batman, etc) as well as additional second unit type stuff that could be almost all computer generated (only had access to a script, not the minds of the producers ), That plus some Tank work at Paramount, Soundstage stuff with Hopper, etc would put filming still a month to complete (only the Florida Primary filming is complete), then the computer enhance (some may be done concurrently). All I can say about the release date is that it will be worth the wait!

When questioned about the shoot and Carrey's performance:

Well... I felt the shooting went extremely well, as near as I could tell, we only reset to do two scenes and those were apparently because of weather. The screen play went through several revisions, but that was more due to being able to take advantage of certain fortuitous circumstances. For instance, there were two twin police officers in the extra group. When the first unit got a look at them, the creative juices got flowing and they wrote them into several scenes. However the tone remains true to the original script. After describing the things I have been doing with the movie to people many have said things like, "Well, I don't normally see "Jim Carrey Movies" but I will have to make an exception. I certainly hope that Liar-Liar will help them to redefine their impression of him. My answer has always been that this movie could have also been done by a young Jimmy Stewart. As to the mood of the set, it was light yet serious about the work and almost all of the stars were great to work with. The "lady" playing his Mother apparently was the exception, but that is second hand information from a friend who was lucky enough to get a speaking part, and I will not go into that further, since I don't know for sure.

On some rumors about the shoot's atmosphere being "unhappy and edgy" due to Carrey's demands:

The atmosphere was GREAT. I was lucky enough to work a scene with him. When the director told him he was going to walk up the stairs and say hi to the two of us, he stuck his hand out and said, "Hi how are you doing?" He did similar things for each of the extras he interacted with. I had heard the rumor concerning the "No Ace stuff"; it even was reported in the local paper. We were not told that specifically. What they did say was, No asking for autographs, No photos or cameras. Apparently there is a huge black market in pictures. I felt they were more worried about that than letting information get out too early about the production. His staff was very protective about people not on the production lurking around, but with stalkers a part of life out there, I can't say as I blame them. But he did want to keep a relatively serious vein, at least compared to other films. I remember one scene where he had to say "Well, OK then." Right after he said it one time, he goes, "Cut, darn, I am doing Ace here!"

When asked if he enjoyed the shoot and if he would do it again:

I enjoyed the heck out of it, and I would do it again. It was both fun and educational. Fortunately I knew from experience that there is a lot of waiting around involved in any production, especially for us self-propelled props. One of the best things about working this production was being able to get to meet a wide range of people, Ed Feldman, Peter Weir, Peter Biziou and all of the other production and cinema staff. It is very rare that an extra gets to work over 3 days, let alone the 25 and more we did. But since the premise of the story required an island, the director apparently wanted to see the same faces over and over again.

Answering whether the shoot seemed rushed:

Well, I can only comment from my point of view. I did not get the impression we were being inordinately rushed, we did have to do a few long days to make up for shoots lost to inclement weather. My understanding was that in spite of the weather losses, the production crew was out of here within a week of their original target. They had to be - spring break started the week they left. One of the things that helped keep the shooting schedule tight was the fact that we had an extra pool of around 300 people that kept getting used over and over again, since the main character is supposedly living on an island, that meant that once we got used to the flow of things, we were definitely not the weak link. Also the island scenario meant that the changes of background locals were kept to a minimum and we were able to shoot several "different" scenes with a minimum of tear down and reset time. We were also able to get a lot of second unit work done at the same time that first unit was working Additionally, I really got the feel that the primary cast/director were so good that the number of takes per set up were really at a minimum. Hope that explains a few things. Please feel free to continue to ask, I'll answer what I can (although there could be a couple of times that I might "take the fifth" so as not to spoil the enjoyment of the film).

When asked to give a succinct description of Carrey's character:

I don't think it would be betraying any plot devices to say that Truman is a happy-go-lucky insurance salesman who at one time wanted to explore the world but now mostly wants to bring home the bacon and raise a family. You get a sense of good morals and civic trust that is almost cliche with the small, closed community environment where everyone knows your name. Think "It's a wonderful life" type persona. Past that, I think is best left to Mr Weir and the plot development.

Describing the shooting of a scene with Carrey:

OK, a "typical" scene with Jim. The scene is Truman going to work, walking past faces he knows to enter a revolving door at his insurance building. So, the director decides what the general action will be and the cinematographer figures the angles and the lights neccesary. The call goes out over the radios to the production assistants to bring some extras out from the tent and send out the stand ins. The production assistants are the Go-fers of the director and assistant director and they are responsible for cueing the "waybacks", those extras that are truly in the background. Then they place the featured extras, the ones that will be in camera while they are setting the ambience, before or after the star is in the scene. In this case, they wanted some new faces, so Peter Weir came over to where we were and saw me. We had previously met and he asked his "visual coordinator" (his wife Wendy) if he could use me. Fortunately I was "Wendy Friendly" (a term that was coined for those with the right "look") and I was placed dead center in front of the camera. Then the assistant director came over and blocked our movement for the shot (blocking is setting up the movement or "action"). He then took Jim's stand in to his starting place and we would do several rehearsals to get the movements down to the right sequence. All this time, Jim is off set, or to the side discussing the scene with Peter. Once the cameras (usually an A and B camera) and director are happy with the blocking then the star (in this case, Jim) comes in and the director explains how the shoot will go. He told Jim that he would be saying hello to me and the fellow I was talking to and Jim stuck out his hand and said "Hi, how ya doin." Then it is "places everyone" and we are rehearsing. If all goes well, the call "pictures up" goes out (the next take will be filmed). At the end of the scene, the the director yells "cut" and may also yell "freeze" or "back to one" depending on whether they need some information to keep continuity or need to reset. Once they have what they like, the final call is to "check the gates." They check the film gates in the camera to make sure there was no dust or dirt that could have scratched the emulsion. The panavision camera films both in film and video, so then Jim would usually go to the monitors with Peter and they would see if they wanted to use a different angle, or redo it, or... (all part of that creative process us mere mortals don't partake in)

Back to the TOP

Comments on the shoot from Scott B. Hanson, an extra:

It was very fascinating, the whole production from transportation to food catering was fabulous. The production folks were very professional, caring of the 300 plus extras that were on board through out the two months of filming. I was lucky, I got a chance to be in several scenes with Mr. Carrey, I found him to be a real nice guy. Mr Weir, truly a perfectionist.

Back to the TOP

Some comments on the shoot from Scott Jackson, another extra:

I was an extra portraying a business man. Fascinating experience even though extras don't get nearly the treatment that the crew and cast get. Didn't get to actually meet Jim but was in a few scenes very close to him. He didn't cut up on the set as much as in other projects since his character was a more serious one and he strove to keep balanced.

Back to the TOP

Comments from Garret Horn, when asked to talk about his experiences as an extra on the set:

There was an ad in the local paper for a casting call. I stood out in the hot July sun for about four hours. There were close to 1,000 people, I was about 50th in line, so some of them were there for possibly six to eight hours. All they did is give you a short speech, take a Polaroid, and show you the door. I didn't think I made it, but in Nov. they called me. We started shooting in mid-Dec. Some weeks we worked two or three days, some weeks all five days. A total of about 25 days thru Jan and Feb. I believe there were about 150 to 200 extras on any given day. We showed up at 5:30 and usually stayed for ten hrs. $65 per day. We were given a really great lunch. Catering on movie sets is all it's cracked up to be.

We usually hung around in a big tent for 3 or 4 hrs. while the cameras and lighting were set up. It was incredibly boring most of the time. It was like a wedding reception with no booze. When everything was set, we would be told to walk here or there in the background of the shot. At the last moment, Jim and the other principal actors would come out from their trailers and do the scene. Sometimes we would do it over and over again, sometimes up to nine times.

The movie is about a guy, Truman/Jim, who is born on a t.v. show and his whole life is televised without him knowing he is actually in the middle of a t.v. show. Everybody is an actor, everything is a prop. He gradually starts to see clues and goofs that make him suspect something isn't right. Some of the extras knew all the details of the plot but it's incredibly hard to know what is, or is not, a rumor. I want to wait for the movie to come out so I really don't know much more about it. It's been called a drama with a lighthearted surrealistic touch. It seems like a very ambitious concept and I hope they are not having trouble pulling it all together.

Everything was pretty fun on the set. We were told never to talk to Jim or the directors unless spoken to, but you could tell Jim was having a lot of fun. Mainly, we were doing street scenes in the imaginary town of Seahaven. There were cars and buses and people walking as Truman did his day-to-day thing. After a scene, all the cars would back up to their starting points to shoot the scene again. One time when the cars were backing up, Jim threw his briefcase under the wheel of one of them and started "limping off in agonizing pain". It scared the driver half to death and the whole set got a real laugh. Some of the extras had a lot of scenes near Jim but I wasn't one of them. Lauren Holley was on the set for about a week and was in a cameo shot. I was walking in the background not ten feet from her, but since they are broken up, she might not be in the movie. I'm in the distant background alot but probably not in the close background but maybe six or seven shots. I was cast as a tourist(although I have lived here for 33 years) and most of the good scenes involved "businessmen" in suits.

The look of the film will be really neat. I heard that the set director of The Hudsucker Proxie (Paul Newman, Tim Robbins) was the set director for this movie so it will have somewhat of the same look. He also designed the set to Waterworld. The sets they built were buildings only two stories high that will be computer generated to look seven stories. Most of the town was already here. Seaside is a unique, planned town. Peter Weir said that they were contemplating filming in Manhattan and the town of "Seahaven" would have a gray sort of look, but when they discovered Seaside, they changed the concept to a colorful, happy town.

I was able to chat with Peter Weir on a break during a night shoot, and he is the most gentle, thoughtful kind of guy. It's not surprising he has such a loyal cult following.

When word first spread that this was going to be a Jim Carrey movie, everyone, including me, groaned: oh, no, not him. I loved Ace Ventura #1, but, in general, he was getting on my nerves. However, after seeing what a genuine fun guy he was, and how hard-working he seems to be, I've began to really like him. I was really struck by how great he was in Liar, Liar. If he doesn't fall into the "Jerry Lewis Syndrome" and tries some serious parts, he'll stay great.

Lastly, on January 17, 1997, as I was walking home from the day's shooting, the crew was hanging around the catering truck, maybe thirty or forty people, and I able to spot Jim kind of standing off to one side with one other guy, so I summoned my courage, walked over to him, shook his hand, and told him "Happy Birthday, man!" I didn't say much else, but that was my moment of glory.

Back to the TOP

Comments on the shoot from Jill Musser, who also worked on THE TRUMAN SHOW:

Well, Peter Weir is amazing - what can I say about The Truman Show??

I thoroughly enjoyed working on the movie - one of the most pleasant, artistic, and professional sets I've ever been on. The world will be greatly affected by Jim's convincing acting - real acting - I believe the audience will appreciate his talents and feel compassion for the character he, Mr. Weir, and Andrew Niccol created. I'm not big on Hollywood talk, however, this is a project I'm very proud to have been a part of. There was such a feeling that what was being made was collaborative art - primarily because Peter Weir has such passion for what he considers such an art form - the contemporary film.

Back to the TOP

Comments on the shoot from Brian Brotherston, another extra on THE TRUMAN SHOW:

Worked as day player on "The Truman Show" and as recurring extra. Met Jim on the street almost daily hi's and bye's and what not. Very kind and extremely good natured, during the street scenes on numerous takes all of the buses, cars and police scooters (golf carts) had to go back to the original starting point for the shoot, so Jim was walking in between the carts back to his mark when he casually drops his briefcase behind the rear wheel of one of the carts. As the cart rises and falls as it backs over Jim's briefcase he acts as though it was his foot being crushed by the cart. The driver and Peter Weir had heart attacks as Jim hopped around gripping his ankle in mock pain... very funny.

Back to the TOP

More on the funny incident described above, from Snapper D. Ard, an extra on THE TRUMAN SHOW:

Snapper D. Ard I was an extra and a stand in on the Truman Show. I was amazed when I saw the story that Brian wrote on here. That was me!!!!!!! I was a stand in for Noah Emmerich! I was also a street sweeper throughout the movie! You can see a real good close up of me when Jim starts figuring things out and walks into his business and then back out. He bends down to tie his shoe and I'm right beside him sweeping!

In one part of the movie I was driving the Goodies truck that Marlon drove. We did the scene six times and one time when I was backing up Jim threw his briefcase underneath the tire and started hopping around I almost had a heartattack! I was in shock! He walked up to the window of the vehicle and I told him I was sorry! He said "It was just this" and pointed to his briefcase and smiled!

The goodies had some problems! It was my fault that they shot the scene so many times but they did not use it anyway. You can see the vehicle on the side of the street in the movie!

Click on the image for a larger version. Picture © Snapper D. Ard.

Back to the TOP

Doin' the Swing Thing!

- By BCDavis

    Five… Six… Five, six, seven, eight!

    Have you ever wondered what it's like to dance with Jim Carrey? If you're a Carreyholic, the answer is probably a resounding, "Yes!" I was fortunate enough to find out, while learning another form of swing - Savoy Lindy Hop - from Steve Grody, choreographer of the college prom scene in "The Truman Show."

Steve Grody     Steve Grody hails from California. His biggest dance influences are his teachers, especially his primary teacher Erin Stevens of the Pasadena Ballroom Dance Association. (Stevens brought Frankie Manning out of retirement. Manning was the choreographer of "Whitey's Lindy Hoppers," and the originator of the acrobatic swing dance moves known as "aerials.") His "home" dance is Savoy-style Lindy Hop (which includes East Coast swing). He prefers social dance over dancing competitions, "…and not worry about making mistakes, and just push the envelope and play…" He will be in the upcoming film "The 13th Floor" as a background dancer on the Queen Mary.

    Grody has his own instructional show on Century Cable Public Access in Los Angeles. Interestingly, Grody originally established the show nine years ago for teaching self-defense. (He is a professional in the martial arts.) He had even been considered for fight choreography for several films, including "The Long Kiss Goodnight," Richard Donner's "Lethal Weapon 3" and one of the films by "In Living Color" creator Keenan Ivory Wayans. Three years ago, he began to alternate his show's instruction with swing dancing.

    "Truman Show" director Peter Weir happened to catch the show while in Los Angeles doing pre-production for the film. When he and his wife, Wendy, saw the program, they loved it. Weir knew then who he wanted to choreograph the prom scene. He contacted Grody and asked if he'd be willing, to which he replied, "Sure."

    At the time Weir called and told him the film's plot, he said the audience would not be sure at first if the scene was taking place in the past, or not. (Christof created his idea of the perfect world, modeled after the television programming of the 1950s.) The film's dance scene was supposed to be shot in Florida, and Grody was to get the dancers and choreograph them into a prom scene, as well as work with the principles. The time allotted for teaching the choreography itself to the cast members was to be about one week. Unfortunately, principle photography fell behind schedule due to several factors, including a hurricane that hit Florida. The result: Everything had to be done in about three days - of which one day was to be the work with Jim Carrey, Laura Linney, and the arrangement and shooting of the scene.

    Peter and Wendy Weir introduced Steve Grody and his assistant, Regina Whitcomb, to Jim Carrey during the filming of one of the film's "college flashback" scenes. Grody had seen Carrey talking with Natasha McElhone, but did not recognize him. He explained, "The reason I didn't even recognize him is because he wasn't 'on.' He wasn't 'mugging.'" He agreed that Jim is a "leading-man-type."

    During the introductions, and some talking concerning the proposed choreography, Jim remembered the way his parents used to dance. He grabbed Laura Linney, and instinctively launched into "closed-position" triple-step East Coast swing - Jim Carrey style.

    For the choreography itself, Grody and Whitcomb worked with Linney on "frame" a bit before Jim arrived. They worked with Carrey on how not to injure Linney - a basic step, nothing too fancy, and again - the all-important framing. They also showed Jim and Laura some of the choreography they had originally planned. Jim was ecstatic, saying, "Oh, god! That is so cool! I want to learn that!" When they decided that Carrey and Linney grasped the framing well enough, Grody worked with Laura while Whitcomb worked with Jim on some of the choreography. Shortly thereafter, Peter Weir stepped in saying, "We're going to have to leave it as it is, because I don't want him [Jim] so worried about the choreography that he loses his sense of the character. Because the character's the most important thing." Grody says that Peter Weir was a very good director. He was able to rein Carrey in when Jim wanted to play, containing him for that dramatic role. When Grody first heard of the Carrey/Weir collaboration, he thought, "What an odd combination!" After seeing them work together, however, he thought that it worked wonderfully. Before working with Carrey and Linney, they also worked with Noah Emmerich (who played Truman's best friend Marlon) and his dance partner for that scene.

    Grody described the dominant dance moves Jim used after reviewing the film: Closed Position; Open Position; Open Position to Inward Turn to Open or Closed Position; Cuddle; Circling in Closed Position; and his character solo moves.

Steve Grody and Regina Whitcomb     The main background dancers seen dancing around the principles were trained Lindy Hoppers, recruited by Grody over a few weeks time, and were about fourteen in number. One member of his team of dancers, Jason Manzatt, was paired with Natasha McElhone for the filming of the prom scene. The dancers, in order of appearance were: Jason Muscat with Heather Hernandez; Jamie Pillow with Vitali Yasnogrodsky; Jerry Jordan with Cyndi Wells; Joe Casados with Wendy Wells; Lauren Stern with Jeff Gurman; Bryan Andrews with Carlee Johnson; Jason Manzatt with Truman's love interest, then with Michele Wells (after the love interest was pulled away); Steve Grody with Regina Whitcomb. Also, Weir and Carrey so much enjoyed watching Grody and Whitcomb's dancing, they added an improvised scene to the film to put them in. The scene was to have Grody play one of Truman's college professors, and was to play out having the students watch with surprise and exclaim (Truman included), "Oh! Hello, sir! We didn't know you could dance!" Unfortunately, the scene eventually ended up on the cutting room floor.

    During the actual filming of the prom scene, Grody instructed his dancers that it was '50s style dancing, and that because Weir wanted general extras included amidst his team of dancers, they needed to "dance small" (dance in less space than normally used in a performance dance. He also explained another rule of filmmaking: extras are not to watch the principles - unless specifically told to do so - during the take. Ironically, Grody followed this rule so well during his dance scene, that when Jim-as-Truman said to him, "Well, hello, sir!" he completely ignored him!

    The music heard by the film's audience for the dance scene is the actual music picked by Steve Grody. He suggested "Twentieth Century Boy," written by Marc Bolan and performed by The Big Six, among other good swing tunes that would be appropriate for the film. "Twentieth Century Boy" was eventually decided upon by the production staff. The music was actually played during the scene (as opposed to one of the crew counting out the rhythm), and not over-dubbed later in post-production.

I made a noise!     Steve Grody also shared the story concerning the behind-the-scenes "saxophone" picture from Paramount's "Truman Show" Web site - a photo Carreyholics found to be more than interesting, as Carrey's father was a saxophone player. The crew was set to film a college marching-band scene, and there's a saxophone. Jim Carrey is just minding his own business, being a "regular" guy. He spots the saxophone, and gets a mischievous idea - and makes the face to go along with it. He sneaks over to the instrument, picks it up, and blows into it making a loud "Honk!" Jim then exclaims, "I made a noise!"

    As for Jim Carrey himself, Grody says, "There's no pretense, no attitude with him. He's a guy that's, y'know, full of energy, that's going to riff on things. But he's not full of himself. He's an incredibly unpretentious guy." In fact, after the scene's last take was in the can, Jim was the first person to applaud Grody, Whitcomb and their dance team, making sure they knew they really were appreciated. Unfortunately, one of the film's producers neglected to show the same courtesy, and Grody and his team of dancers' names are not included in the film's credits.

    For those people interested, Steve Grody teaches regular dance classes at Studio A in Silver Lake, Los Angeles, 2306 Hyperion Avenue. He can be reached via Email at sgrody@earthlink.net. For those interested in places to swing dance, please visit the Southern California Lindy Society Web site.

Back to the TOP

Copyright © 1999, Jim Carrey Online. No portion of this article, including its accompanying photos, may be reproduced without prior consent of JCO.

« Previous | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6