Jim Carrey plays Truman Burbank, an insurance employee who suddenly discovers that his whole life has just been a farce staged for television. He is the unknowing subject of the longest running show in TV history, and all the persons that surround him are in fact actors. Ed Harris took the role of the TV network head that controls Truman's life.
Peter Weir ("The Witness," Dead Poet's Society") directed "The Truman Show" for Paramount and among the lead cast were also Laura Linney and Noah Emmerich. (See below for other cast members.)
The movie was almost entirely shot on location, at Seaside, Florida. The crews began arriving during August 1996, to change the town into Seahaven Island, homestead of Truman. A few fake buildings were constructed and some existing structures were also modified. Among the sets put up were the facades of a bank, of the insurance company where Truman works, the city's bus stop, the city's newsstand and the Seahaven Island Elementary School.
Filming started December 9th 1996 and the movie counted with many locals in its pool of approximately 300 extras. Some scenes were shot in Panama City (where an empty warehouse was transformed in a soundstage for the interiors filming), and also at various locations around the area. Principal photography on location ended March 6th and the remaining filming was subsequently done in Los Angeles.
A few crews remained behind, after the main shooting was concluded, to finish taking down the sets. The city's authorities were said to keep at least one of the buildings for community use, namely the one located at Seaside's central square.
The general comment from several persons involved in the shooting was that it went very well.
Ed Feldman, one of the executive producers, stated that "Carrey has done a terrific job, and people will be very excited when they see his performance. He's like a young Jimmy Stewart. He handles dramatic scenes very well."
Feldman also said that the production stayed on schedule, except for two or three days of night beach scenes, which had to be re-shot in L.A., due to weather problems.
Dennis Hopper's sudden departure from the cast, alleging "creative differences", after just one day of filming, was probably the most important incident reported.
Luckily, Hopper's scenes where scheduled to be filmed at Los Angeles, had very little interaction with other main cast members and required approximately only 10 days of shooting. The movie's producers rapidly replaced him by Ed Harris, surpassing the problem with a minimum delay.
During post-production, there were some important work done on the enhancement of outdoor scenes, through the use of computer generated imagery. The company that handled many of the special effects was Matte World Digital.