The Truman Show is a satirical comedy-drama film from the United States released in 1998. It was directed by Peter Weir and produced by Scott Rudin, Andrew Niccol, Edward Feldman, and Adam Schroeder. Before the movie was released it went through several creative revisions to become the hit that we are all familiar with. But did you know that the original film was supposed to have a darker plot?
The Truman Show was initially conceived as a dark thriller set in a New York-style city. It took several drafts of the script to arrive at the comedy-drama that was eventually filmed.
The Plot of The Truman Show Plot
Follows Truman Burbank, a man who has spent his entire life in the public eye without even realizing it. At birth, he was adopted by a television studio and is the main star of the hit reality television show The Truman Show, which follows his every move. He lives in his hometown of Seahaven, a massive set, and interacts with his neighbors and other strangers around him, all of whom are paid actors hired to add realism to the show.
Christof controls all of this, the show’s creator and executive producer. He has almost complete control over Truman’s life, from the weather and environment around him to his love life and who he will marry.Truman is utterly unaware of anything, leading a carefree life as an insurance salesman with no desire to leave Seahaven. Truman begins to notice strange details in his world around his 30th birthday, such as a spotlight falling from the sky or radio broadcasts detailing his every move. Soon, he realizes that his entire life is a television show. (Source: Hollywood Insider)
Did You Know That the Original Truman Show Screenplay Was Much Darker?
The protagonist in the early drafts of The Truman Show was much darker. Unlike the sitcom-styled Seahaven, the draft, written by Andrew M. Niccol, is set in a man-made replica of New York City. In addition to this gritty setting, the original script presents audiences with a Truman who is reminiscent of the violent, self-absorbed anti-heroes featured in Mad Men, Breaking Bad, and Netflix’s You.
Before Peter Weir came on board, Niccol’s script was titled The Malcolm Show and was sometimes prefaced by a quote from Lily Tomlin: We’re all in this alone. Or an image of Edward Hopper’s painting A Room by the Sea. One particular draft, discovered today in the nerdier corners of the internet, is particularly strange. It bears far more resemblance to grim 90s thrillers like Dark City and The Game than the film it would eventually become.
In this version, Truman’s world is a fabricated, rain-soaked New York built on a Hollywood soundstage. Truman is addicted to alcohol and emotionally estranged from society, and his wife Meryl is an alcoholic, really an actress named Hannah. The truth about Truman’s life is treated as a mystery, with the character of Christof, the all-seeing God figure behind the show, lurking around set corners like Dick Dastardly in a wireless headset as a third-act plot twist.
But, while the plot remains the same, the script has gruff, exhausting masculinity, which is most noticeable in a scene in which Truman seeks out a sex worker named Veronica to re-enact his last encounter with his lost true love Sylvia. (Source: Dazed Digital)