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The Truman Show (1998) Poster

Trivia

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Ed Harris and Jim Carrey never met during filming.
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In an interview, director Peter Weir stated he wanted to have cameras installed in every theater the film was shown in, having the projectionist at one point cut the power, cut to the viewers, and then cut back to the movie.
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The Trumania bit, where Truman draws on the mirror with soap and acts strange, was completely improvised by Jim Carrey. In another take, he drew long curly hair and a dress.
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According to a 2008 New York Times article, psychologists in Britain and the U.S. reported a number of people experiencing "Truman Syndrome" or "the Truman Show delusion," the belief that they are the unwitting star of their own reality TV show. Reportedly, many afflicted specifically mentioned the film in therapy. More recently, on September 16, 2013, the detailed account of one Ohio student who suffered for years from the Truman Show delusion was documented in the New Yorker magazine article "Unreality Star" by Andrew Marantz.
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In an early scene, a bottle of vitamin D is on Truman and Meryl's kitchen table, needed for those without exposure to the (real) sun.
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Jim Carrey was Peter Weir's first choice to play Truman from the outset.
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Every street name in Seahaven refers to a movie actor, e.g. "Lancaster Square" or "Barrymore Road." All of the "cast" members are likewise named after movie stars: Meryl, Marlon, Lauren, Kirk, Angela, etc.
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The film is studied in Media Ethics courses, particularly focusing on the characters of creator Christof, best friend Marlon and the "prostituting" of Truman's wife, Meryl.
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People on the set were forbidden from uttering phrases from Jim Carrey's past "silly" movies.
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The events in the movie take place over a four to five-day time span, Day 10,909 to Day 10,913 of the show, as shown by the ticker over the TV in the Truman Bar. Truman would have been six to seven weeks from his 30th birthday. A "30th Anniversary" Truman Show commemorative plate can be seen hanging in the bar.
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Jim Carrey and Peter Weir initially found working together on set difficult (Carrey's contract gave him the power to demand rewrites), but Weir was impressed with Carrey's improvisational skills, and the two became more interactive.
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This was Jim Carrey's first time taking on a serious dramatic leading role. "It was one of the best scripts I ever read. It works on so many levels."
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To help Ed Harris develop the character for Christof, director Peter Weir presented to him a 10 page biography. Part of this biography consisted of Christof doing a film on the homeless for which he won an award.
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The iconic poster, a rendition of Jim Carrey's face comprising hundreds of individual images, was created by artist Rob Silverman at a rumored cost of $75,000.
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The original script had Truman living in a recreation of New York City. But Peter Weir changed it to an idyllic town to make the movie feel less "sci-fi."
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A scene in the original script depicts a staged rape scene witnessed by Truman, who doesn't go to help the actress about to be violated and just moves on. When he's gone, the actors and actress return to normal and express wonder at how he didn't try to help, or even do anything about it.
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When Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert reviewed the film on Siskel & Ebert (1986), they not only gave the film two thumbs up, but they gave an on-air apology to Jim Carrey for saying that he would never have a career when they panned Ace Ventura: Pet Detective (1994).
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Several deleted scenes make it clear that Louis (Marlon) truly does care about Truman and gives him a moment of redemption where he finds him during the search and lets him go.
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The location shoot for Seahaven Island (the film's town in the dome) was in a place called Seaside, Florida. When director Peter Weir arrived there with his pre-production team, he said, "Unpack our things, we've found our town." The week they arrived during the location scouting is the week they began pre-production.
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Just before the boat stops, we see the number "139" prominently displayed on its sail. The ensuing dialogue between Truman and Christof contains some paraphrased references to Psalm 139, as do many other aspects of the film.
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Paramount was cautious about the film which they dubbed "the most expensive art film ever made" because of its $60 million budget. They wanted the film to be funnier and less dramatic. Peter Weir also shared this vision, feeling that Andrew Niccoll's script was too dark, and declaring "where he [Niccol] had it depressing, I could make it light. It could convince audiences they could watch a show in this scope 24/7." Niccol wrote sixteen drafts of the script before Weir considered the script ready for filming.
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Truman was supposed to be just out of high school, but since Jim Carrey was in his thirties, it got swapped from teenaged angst to more of a midlife crisis.
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Jim Carrey has said that being constantly watched by fans and paparazzi helped him relate to Truman.
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The overall look was influenced by television images, particularly commercials: Many shots have characters leaning into the lens with their eyeballs wide open, and the interior scenes are heavily lit, because Weir wanted to remind viewers that "in this world, everything was for sale."
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While figuring out how to play the character of Christof, Ed Harris suggested him being a hunchback (giving him an unhappy childhood and a desire for Truman to have an idealized life), but he changed his mind after trying on a prosthetic hump and seeing what he looked like.
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Dennis Hopper was originally cast as Christof, but walked off the set after his first day. Ed Harris replaced him. Hopper went on to a supporting role in Edtv (1999), which has striking similarities to the premise of "The Truman Show."
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Various trailers included scenes that were deleted from the theatrical and DVD releases: A cast read-through (a sign on the wall warns "ATTENTION: 1. REMOVE CELLPHONES. 2. NO SCRIPTS ON SET. 3. NO I.D. CARDS ON SET"); a visible tear in the "sky" after a stage light falls on the "street" in front of Truman's house; Truman singing the Planet Trumania anthem.
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Laura Linney heavily studied Sears catalogs from the 1950s to develop her character's poise.
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A deleted scene reveals that had Truman not realized what was going on, Christof and network execs were going to broadcast the main show and its spin-off on a two-channel format; the main show following Truman and the spin-off following his unborn child, repeating the cycle all over again.
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Peter Weir cast Jim Carrey after seeing him in Ace Ventura: Pet Detective (1994) because Carrey's performance reminded him of Charles Chaplin.
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In a deleted scene, Truman runs into a jogger played by the same actor who played a homeless man in a wheelchair two days earlier.
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Sylvia's apartment contains photos of cast members labeled with Post-It notes. One picture is of Marlon, labeled "Unable to Get Near Marlon - PRIME!" Other photos are labeled "Jogger - 'No Way'" and "will think about it." A printed banner above these photos contains the word "Agents."
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The couple at the picnic table, Daryl Davis and Robert Davis, are the founders of Seaside, the town where the movie is filmed. Robert Davis inherited the 80 acres from his grandfather, and he and his wife built the first home, and his concept of a small town and mixed-use building has become enormously popular and influential in the last twenty years.
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Instead of his then-standard $20 million paycheck, Jim Carrey accepted $12 million for his dramatic acting services.
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Peter Weir had planned for projectionists to stop the film at one point during all screenings, cut to video shot by cameras installed in every theater, then cut back to the movie. To make things even more meta, he flirted with the idea of playing Truman's director, Christof, himself.
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Director Peter Weir filmed in the 1.66:1 ratio to make it feel more like a television show. Only the original DVD is in this aspect ratio. The theatrical cut was cropped to 1.85:1 and the Blu-ray release to 1.78:1.
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In 2008, a psychiatrist shared that he had met five schizophrenic patients and heard of another dozen who believed their lives were reality television shows. One patient climbed the Statue of Liberty believing that his high school girlfriend would be at the top, which was the key to him being able to leave the show.
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There are around 300 extras in the movie, many of them from Seaside, Florida, where this movie was shot.
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Peter Weir wrote a 10-page backstory that described the history of the show. For instance, The Truman Show was a frequent winner at the Emmys.
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Robin Williams was considered to star as Truman Burbank.
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The motto on the double archway in the Seahaven town center is UNUS PRO OMNIBUS, OMNES PRO UNO: "One for all, all for one" in Latin, thus fitting the premise of the Truman Show. The motto is also the used in the Alexandre Dumas's novel, The Three Musketeers.
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Andrew Niccol rewrote the script twelve times, while Peter Weir created a fictionalized book about the show's history. He envisioned backstories for the characters and encouraged actors to do the same.
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1:06:17 Mike Michaelson (Harry Shearer) takes a call from The Hague for Christof (though the call is lost and they move on to Sylvia). This is where the international courts dealing with people like dictators on trial for crimes against humanity are based. So it is quite fitting since Christof proceeds to get into a moral debate with Sylvia about Truman. Further, when the Hague gets disconnected, a 2600Hz tone can briefly be heard, which is in fact what is heard when an international call hangs up. The same tone can be heard at the end of Pink Floyd's "Young Lust" when a Man is attempting to call a woman in the UK and a man answers who keeps hanging up.
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The man who bursts out of the Christmas box is Mark Ruben, who is also the Assistant Art Director of the film.
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Ed Harris only had a few days to prepare between accepting the role and his first day on set.
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One of the buildings Truman encounters bears the name "Omnicom." Common beliefs about God center around the qualities of being omniscient, all-knowing, omnipotent, all-powerful, omnipresent, present everywhere and omni-benevolent, perfect goodness. This alludes to Christof's role as the silent higher power embodying these qualities (except omni-benevolence) in playing God.
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Sam Raimi was considered to direct and had met with Jim Carrey.
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It took three years from Peter Weir receiving his first copy of Andrew Niccol's script to the film's completion.
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Truman's first name is a play on the words "true man." His last name is from studio city Burbank, CA.
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Norman Rockwell paintings and 1960s postcards were used as inspiration for the film's design.
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Those involved in visual effects work found the film somewhat difficult to make, because 1997 was the year many visual effects companies were trying to convert to computer-generated imagery.
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Part of the original screenwriting deal called for Andrew Niccol to have his directing debut, but Paramount executives later felt the estimated $80 million budget would be too high for him. In addition, Paramount wanted to go with an A-list director, paying Niccol extra money "to step aside." Brian De Palma was under negotiations to direct before he left United Talent Agency in March 1994. Directors who were considered after de Palma's departure included Tim Burton, Terry Gilliam, Barry Sonnenfeld and Steven Spielberg, before Peter Weir signed on in early 1995, following a recommendation from Niccol.
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Peter Weir has said that the film was based on Michael Jackson, whose life was also turned into a show for the world.
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The basic story of a man unknowingly being forced to live in an alternate reality is identical to the plot of the 1959 sci-fi novel "Time out of Joint" by Philip K. Dick.
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The 'location' of the dome where "The Truman Show" is filmed is in Burbank, California. Truman's name is Truman Burbank.
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The start of production was delayed for a year so that Jim Carrey could star in The Cable Guy (1996) and Liar Liar (1997).
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One of the picture frames on the wall of the Japanese family's home bears the words "Mainichi Truman" ("Truman Every Day") in Japanese handwriting.
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The (fake) opening credits for the movie announce that it is "Day 10,909" for the show. That means the main character (Truman) is just 48 days short of his 30th birthday.
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The name of Truman's sailboat is the Santa Maria, the same name as one of Christopher Columbus's ships.
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When Andrew Niccol was going to direct, Gary Oldman was going to star.
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The State Examination Commission in Ireland listed the film as one of the options for the English comparative study for the Leaving Certificate (state exam taken when leaving school) of 2008 and has just been selected again for 2010.
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The band uniforms that Truman was wearing belonged to the Blue Star Regiment of Riverside's North High School.
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Lauren Garland is named after Lauren Bacall and Judy Garland.
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Truman and his best friend Marlon both own new Fords. (Truman has a Taurus sedan, and Marlon has a Ranger pickup truck.) This is probably intentional since it is said during the film that the show makes lots of money by using product placement.
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The exterior shots of "Seahaven" were shot in the beach town of Seaside in Florida. Some interior shots were also filmed, including the local shop.
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The Truman Show was set in 1995
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In an earlier draft of the script, Truman wanted to go to Australia instead of Fiji.
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CGI was used to create the upper halves of some of the larger buildings in the film's downtown set. Craig Barron, one of the effects supervisors, said that these digital models did not have to look as detailed and weathered as they normally would in a film because of the artificial look of the entire town, although they did imitate slight blemishes found in the physical buildings.
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David Cronenberg turned down directing duties.
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1:02:56 When Christof is being interviewed, Mike Michaelson (Harry Shearer) says that he takes his privacy very seriously, which is the polar opposite of Truman, who is viewed constantly.
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The events in the movie The Truman Show took place between December 13th to December 17th.
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According to Peter Weir, the first season of the show was called "Bringing Up Baby."
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Laura Linney took some inspiration from her own mother for the film, not to play actress Hannah Hart, but to play actress Hannah Hart playing Meryl Burbank, Truman's wife and a nurse at the Seahaven hospital. Linney's mother was a cancer nurse at Memorial Sloan-Kettering.
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Judy Clayton, the actress who plays the travel agent, was in Ace Ventura: Pet Detective (1994) with Jim Carrey four years earlier, playing a woman who had hired Ace to find her lost dog.
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The iconic line repeated by Truman "Good morning, and in case I don't see ya, good afternoon, good evening, and good night!" is included in the lyrics of Divina Commedia by the Korean Artist Ji-Yong Kwon (a.k.a G-Dragon) in his self titled album KWON JI YONG, which explains the celebrity life and how suffocating it can be.
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During the film, Truman references his dream to visit Fiji, which, according to him, is the farthest place away he can go without starting to go back. If this is the case, then the set of "The Truman Show" would be located in Timbuktu, Mali, as it is on the opposite side of the world as Fiji.
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The film follows a very similar plot to Amazing Stories: Secret Cinema (1986). 1968
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Truman's birthday is January 29th
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While making purchases at a newspaper stand, the salesman asks Truman "Will that be all?" In the first scene, Truman replies "That's the whole kit and kaboodle." In the second scene, he responds "That's the whole ball of wax." Jim Carrey would later use these phrases in A Series of Unfortunate Events (2004) while his character, Captain Sham, discusses the importance of grammar, saying "It's the whole ball of wax, the entire kit and kaboodle."
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When Truman goes missing, Simeon refers to Louis Coltrane (Marlon) as 'Marlon', his stage name.
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Philip Baker Hall worked with Jim Carrey again in Bruce Almighty (2003).
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The Seahaven scenes were filmed at Seaside, a planned community and resort in Santa Rosa Beach, Florida.
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Brian De Palma was under negotiations to direct before he left United Talent Agency in March 1994. Directors who were considered after De Palma's departure included Tim Burton, Terry Gilliam, Barry Sonnenfeld and Steven Spielberg before Peter Weir signed on in early 1995, following a recommendation of Andrew Niccol. Bryan Singer wanted to direct but Paramount decided to go with the more experienced Weir.
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Paul Giamatti was also in Jim Carrey's next movie, Man on the Moon (1999).
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Hope Davis was in the running for the role that ultimately went to Laura Linney.
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Annabella Sciorra tested for the role of Lauren Garland.
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Paramount had originally scheduled the film for release on November 14, 1997. It was delayed to the summer of 1998, allowing for more time in post-production and to not take away from its awards chances for Titanic (1997).
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Louis Coltrane's name is an amalgam of two jazz musicians, Louis Armstrong and John Coltrane, and in one scene he plays trumpet.
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The only film that year to be Oscar nominated for Best Director, but not Best Picture.
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Ed Harris had an idea of making Christof a hunchback, but Peter Weir did not like the idea.
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This movie is basically a flip side of The Cable Guy (1996) released two years earlier. In the Cable Guy (1996), Carrey's character is obsessed with television 24/7. In The Truman Show (1998), Carrey's character is unaware he's on television 24/7.
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Truman's house is number 36, but in real life the house in Seaside, FL, is number 31.
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At about 1:28 in the movie, as Christof has just finished trying to drown Truman and he is recovering on the boat, the shot turns to a wide angle of Christof's set. In the lower left of the screen, a man is wearing a shirt that says "Love Him. Protect Him.", which is precisely the opposite of what Christof has been doing.
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Truman (Jim Carrey) keeps photos of his father and some other mementos in a Cremo-brand cigar box. Cremo Tobacco started out in the early 20th century in Manhattan. The original setting for The Truman Show was Manhattan, but director Peter Weir felt it was too dark.
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In chapter 8 (at 03:18) Truman is nearly run over by a coach - a 1990 ElDorado National Transmark II SL.
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This is the only time that Peter Weir was nominated for a Best Director Oscar in a non-Best Picture nominated film.
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Cameo 

Philip Glass: Television composer on the synth piano while Truman sleeps and Christof strokes the giant screen.
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Spoilers 

The trivia items below may give away important plot points.

The original script was darker and had crucial differences from the shooting draft. The city was not a utopian society but there were staged criminal incidents. Truman had a drinking problem. It is stated clearly that Truman makes love to his wife (whose real name is Hannah). Christoff's intention was for Truman to have Meryl impregnated and the child would carry on the show. There were more clues that help Truman realize the truth. The scene where Truman confronts Meryl was far more aggressive. Finally, and most importantly, after Truman passes the door, he meets Christoff and the main cast members on a rooftop, while in the film the story ends with Truman's exit from the fake world. In the encounter at the rooftop, which was in the script the actors stare at him sheepishly, but Truman in his rage attacks Christoff and tries to strangle him, but the rest of the actors hold him back. He is finally reunited with Sylvia.
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The ending mirrors the ending of the C.S. Lewis book "Voyage of the Dawn Treader," #4 of the Narnia series (#3 in publication order), with a ship sailing to the end of the "known" world and encountering a sky-blue wall, with a doorway leading to "another" world.
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The boat Truman sails on at the end of the movie is named the Santa Maria, the same name of one of Christopher Columbus' ships when sailing to eventually find 'a new world'.
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See also

Goofs | Crazy Credits | Quotes | Alternate Versions | Connections | Soundtracks

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