It might have failed to turn three Academy Award nominations into wins, but The Truman Show remains a fan-favorite staple of late 90s cinema. Fifteen years after it was up for Best Director (Peter Weir), Best Supporting Actor (Ed Harris), and Best Original Screenplay (Andrew Niccol) in the 71st annual Oscars race, among countless other award nominations (and several wins), the dramedy film continues to spur new discussions and interpretations – especially as our culture has become increasingly obsessed with social network over-sharing.
Hackers tap webcams and search our e-mails, burglars monitor Four Square for local marks on vacation, and impressionable teenagers send scandalous pictures to one another without a second thought. In a world where we are dangerously naive about personal privacy, the story of Truman Burbank has become more poignant and resonant than ever. Apparently, Paramount Pictures agrees and has initiated development on a Truman Show TV series.
To be clear, the TV series will be a fictional story based on Andrew Niccol’s story about a man unknowingly living his life as part of a semi-scripted reality TV show – not a Truman Show branded reality experiment. No doubt, a real-life Truman Show would be a smash success in our celebrity-obsessed world, but a reimagining of the film setup is also rife with potential – assuming Paramount finds the right filmmakers (and network) to turn the clever movie concept into a serialized TV series.
According to The Wrap, the announcement came as part of a new initiative at the studio – which hired a team of executives to oversee key departments: David Goldman (head of business affairs), Jennifer Howell (head of comedy development), Annette Savitch (head of drama development), and Stephanie Love (head of finance).
As a result, The Truman Show TV series was name dropped alongside the new Terminator TV series (which will reportedly crossover with the Terminator: Genesis reboot), as well as a drama adaptation of Caleb Carr’s novel The Alienist, and a “limited series based on A. Scott Berg’s biography of Charles Lindbergh.” The report asserts that development on The Truman Show series is in very early stages – meaning the studio is ready to announce their intentions but has yet to hire show runners, a pilot director, or any cast members.
Despite over fifteen years since the film’s release, a Truman Show series actually makes a lot of sense. It’s a rich setup, featuring a charged mystery, that is rife for drama and unexpected twists. In the wrong hands any potential could be squandered but if a clever producer, like Bryan Fuller (Hannibal) or Kyle Killen (Awake), signed-on, there are plenty of interesting (and timely) ideas that could be explored. Duality identity characters like Truman’s “best friend” Marlon and wife Meryl, along with anti-Truman Show activists, not to mention the unintended connections Burbank forms (such as his lost love, Sylvia), would all serve as an ample foundation for The Truman Show TV series to provide a unique and fresh examination of humanity across multiple layers – especially if the program opts to focus on characters outside of the Seahaven archeological dome as well.
Beyond the core Burbank personal story, watching show runners toy with the self-referential tone established by Weir (e.g., sponsored advertising within Truman’s idilic town) could be a lot of fun – not to mention the many postings around Seahaven warning Truman against the dangers of travel (“It could happen to you”). For all the potential, fans of Weir’s film will understandably see a Truman Show TV series as Hollywood attempting to capitalize on a beloved move property – and that’s probably the case. Still, the logistics and challenges of The Truman Show were interesting – even if the film, thankfully, remained glued to its quality character story – and there’s reason to believe that expanding the focus might provide a worthwhile drama series.
That is to say, assuming Paramount can find the right network, director, writers, and (most importantly) actor to fill Jim Carrey’s shoes.
The Truman Show TV series is in the early stages of development at Paramount and does not have an official premiere date (yet).
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Sources: The Wrap