Just in time for the Fourth of July holiday, we're getting a special 25th anniversary release of The Truman Show. Prescient and prophetic in so many ways about reality TV, THE MODERN SURVEILLANCE STATE (kidding, kind of) and other related things, this quarter-century old flick is a timeless classic.
Starring Jim Carrey in a dramatic turn. Directed by Peter Weir. Written by Andrew Niccol, who's an accomplished filmmaker in his own right and had his breakthrough the year prior to Truman with the criminally underrated sci-fi movie Gattaca. Interestingly enough, Showtime is developing a sequel TV series to Gattaca, which I had no idea about until sitting down to write this blog.
But we're here to highlight Niccol's vision for a Truman TV sequel. As part of the promotion of the movie's upcoming 4K release, Niccol did a deep-dive interview with Screen Rant and unveiled an absolutely killer premise:
"There has been talk of doing a musical – believe it or not – or a series. When it’s a different art form, I don’t think it takes anything away from the original. In my version of a series, I thought it would be fun, if after Truman walked through the sky, the audience clamored for more (which you sense at the end of the film). I imagine there would be a network with multiple channels all starring a subject born on the show. If I set it in New York City, there would be girl living on the Upper East Side, a boy from Harlem, a kid from Chinatown, etc. Since they are all on their own channel and move in their own circles, they are never meant to meet. But at the end of the first season, the boy from Harlem and the rich girl find themselves drawn to each other. They both sense that the other is acting differently from anyone they’ve ever met…because for the first time, they’ve met someone who is not acting! (In the second season, the Network would desperately try to kill off their romance.)"
A Romeo and Juliet sort of star-crossed lovers tale with the trademark Truman twist!? COME ON. This needs to happen, like, yesterday. I love the idea of having it be set in New York City. That's where Niccol wanted to put the movie in the first place, but the small-town, suburban setting was a big element to what made the film such a massive hit.
You could really expand this out limitlessly in the longform storytelling TV allows for us now. Multiple Truman Burbanks across NYC? The rich array of protagonists to follow would be mind-bending. Then what if one of them breaks bad or something as a form of rebellion? Can you imagine?
The icing on the cake, of course, would be Carrey's Truman making some sort of comeback on this hypothetical TV show. What did they do to him once he peaced out at the end of the OG movie? How would he feel about the network and the next omniscient Christof figure exploiting other people? Maybe he wouldn't care because he'd be world famous, set for life financially and get to live an extraordinary life after being deprived of being a basic human for so long. On the other hand, he'd have to be traumatized by the whole experience and could become the full-on antagonist of the story.
Whatever. Niccol's premise on its own is fucking genius. Whether it'd connect canonically to the movie or Carrey's Truman was involved or not, I need one of the streamers to get this project off the ground. Green light that shit.