The Truman Show


  • Jim Carrey as Truman Burbank: Chosen out of six unwanted pregnancies and the first child to be legally adopted by a corporation, he is unaware that his daily life is broadcast continuously around the world. He has a job in the insurance business and a lovely wife, but he eventually notices that his environment is not what it seems to be. Robin Williams was considered for the role, but Weir cast Carrey after seeing him in Ace Ventura: Pet Detective because Carrey's performance reminded him of Charlie Chaplin.[2] Carrey took the opportunity to proclaim himself as a dramatic actor, rather than being typecast in comedic roles.[3] Carrey, who was then normally paid $20 million per film, agreed to do The Truman Show for $12 million.[4] Carrey and 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.[2] The scene in which Truman declares "this planet Trumania of the Burbank galaxy" to the bathroom mirror was Carrey's idea.[5]
  • Laura Linney as Hannah Gill playing Meryl Burbank, Truman's wife, a nurse at the local hospital. Since the show relies on product placement for revenue, Meryl regularly shows off various items she has recently "purchased," one of the many oddities that makes Truman question his life. Her role is essentially to act the part of Truman's wife and ultimately to have a child by him, despite her reluctance to accomplish either. Linney explains that Gill "was a child actress who never made it, and now she's really ambitious. Mostly she's into negotiating her contract. Every time she sleeps with Truman she gets an extra $10,000."[2] Linney heavily studied Sears catalogs from the 1950s to develop her character's poses.[6]
  • Ed Harris as Christof: The creator of The Truman Show. Christof remains dedicated to the program at all costs, often overseeing and directing its course in person (rather than through aides), but at the climax/resolution, he speaks to Truman over a loudspeaker, revealing the nature of Truman's situation. Dennis Hopper was originally cast in the role, but he left in April 1997 (during filming) over "creative differences." Harris was a last-minute replacement.[4] A number of other actors had turned down the role after Hopper's departure.[5] Harris had an idea of making Christof a hunchback, but Weir did not like the idea.[2]
  • Noah Emmerich as Louis Coltrane playing Marlon, Truman's best friend since early childhood. Marlon is a vending machine operator for the company Goodies, who promises Truman he would never lie to him, despite the latest events in Truman's life. Emmerich has said, "My character is in a lot of pain. He feels really guilty about deceiving Truman. He's had a serious drug addiction for many years. Been in and out of rehab."[2] His name is an amalgam of two jazz musicians, Louis Armstrong and John Coltrane, and in one scene he plays trumpet.[7]
  • Natascha McElhone as Sylvia (unknown last name) playing Lauren Garland (Truman's college schoolmate): Sylvia was hired to play a background extra, a fellow student at Truman's college, named Lauren. She became romantically involved with Truman and tried to reveal to him the truth about his life, but was thrown out of the show before she could do so. She then becomes a protester against The Truman Show, urging Christof to release its lead.
  • Brian Delate as Walter Moore playing Kirk Burbank, Truman's father. When Truman was a boy, his character on the show was killed off to instil a fear of water in his son that would prevent Truman from leaving the set; however, he sneaks back onto the set when Truman is an adult. This causes Truman to begin questioning his staged life, and as he tries to get away from it the writers are forced to write a plot in which Kirk had not drowned but had suffered from amnesia.
  • Holland Taylor as Alanis Montclair playing Angela Burbank, Truman's mother: Christof orders that she attempt to persuade Truman to have children.
  • Harry Shearer (cameo appearance) as Mike Michaelson (news anchor): Michaelson hosts TruTalk, an entertainment-news program about The Truman Show that broadcasts early in the morning.
  • Paul Giamatti as Simeon (control room director).
  • Peter Krause as Laurence (Truman's boss): At Truman's office, Laurence often interrupts Truman when he talks about his dreams of moving to Fiji.
  • Philip Glass, who composed and performed some of the film's soundtrack, makes a cameo appearance as the incidental keyboard player.

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