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Carrey, Weir banking on 'The Truman Show'

Web posted on: Thursday, June 04, 1998 4:13:55 PM

LOS ANGELES (CNN) -- If all the world's a stage, as Shakespeare once wrote, and all the men and women merely players, then "The Truman Show" and its star, Jim Carrey, take center stage this weekend.

Carrey stars in the Peter Weir film, which premiered Monday night in a Los Angeles event to benefit cancer research. A number of Hollywood stars attended, including Ed Harris and Laura Linney -- who star in the film -- as well as Bill Paxton, Holly Hunter, Carey Elwes, Ving Rhames and Garry Shandling.

"The Truman Show" theatrical movie trailer

6Mb QuickTime movie

'I'm living it'

"The Truman Show," which opens nationwide this weekend, is getting strong early reviews.

The film depicts the story of a man who discovers his entire life -- family, friends, his job -- is nothing more than the basis for a TV show that is broadcast live, around the world, 24 hours a day.

Carrey says the plot is something he can relate to.

"I'm living it," he said of the intense media coverage that has followed him since he hit it big with movies like the "Ace Ventura" comedies, "Dumb and Dumber," "Liar, Liar" and "Cable Guy."

Even his personal life has been scrutinized, as was made evident when Carrey showed up at the premiere with his on-again, off-again flame Lauren Holly. When asked whether they were "on-again," the pair chanted "access denied, access denied."

But for the movie, he clearly doesn't mind playing a character living in a fishbowl. "It was a fantastic opportunity to play all the colors of the rainbow," he said. "Usually I just pick a couple of colors that suit what I'm doing. Sometimes it's just a completely made-up character that's from another planet."

And Weir, who directed movies like "The Year of Living Dangerously," "Green Card," "Witness," and "Dead Poets Society," says he couldn't imagine his title role belonging to anyone but Carrey -- "especially after we first met and I realized he was ideal casting, this great mix between a sort of innocent, ever-cheerful Jimmy Stewart type, but with this darker edge to him."

Truman is being watched ... wherever he goes, whatever he does

New horizons?

This movie could be a turning point in the careers of both the director and the actor.

Carrey is engaging in a role that requires much more range than his previous crackpot comedies.

"There's new territory, there's new places to go, new things to explore. Why stay back there?" Carrey asked. "Maybe it will take three films to find another character that is really totally original, but I've got a lifetime, so why waste it just repeating myself."

Weir, meanwhile, has earned the respect of his Hollywood peers with previous work. But now he's stepping up to the plate with the potential grand slam of summer movies.

"It's a brilliant and intriguing idea, and the moment I read the script, I knew it was my next film. I started working on it back in '95," Weir said.

Truman's existence

In the movie, Carrey's character, Truman Burbank, lives in the world's largest sound stage, which Truman knows as his "hometown" of Sea Haven. The town comes complete with phony sunrises, actors for friends -- even a fake wife. When Truman learns the truth about his so-called life, he must face a new reality.

Weir says the setting of such a film had to be perfectly intertwined with the too-good-to-be-true feel of Truman's existence. He chose the real-life town of Seaside, Florida.

"The skies down there are so blue and the walls of the homes are so bright, that it looks almost surreal anyway, as if each shot has been treated," Weir said. "But that was the reality of the place."

Reality and fiction, combined: "The Truman Show" attempts to reveal how the line between both has blurred with the explosion of mass media.

"At one point, I got so obsessive with the theme that I thought we actually should conceal all the cameras from Jim and the other actors," Weir said.

The film is also the new showcase for a new Jim Carrey.

"With this one, when you get into more like your real thing, what the real stuff is underneath, it's almost like you're naked and you're saying 'OK, this is me now, so if you reject this, it's my essence you don't like.' So I think there is a lot of me in this character," Carrey said.

Correspondents Sherri Sylvester and Janine Sharell contributed to this report.


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