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Tru & Jerry
Victims of the Tube

Is Truman Burbank really Jerry Seinfeld? Truman (Jim Carrey) is the hero of the movie "The Truman Show," and the star of "The Truman Show," the lifelong TV-show-within-a-movie, where he unwittingly plays himself. Jerry was the star and producer of "Seinfeld", a 9-year-long series in which he played a comedian named...Jerry Seinfeld. When Truman discovers that his whole life is under public scrutiny, he struggles to escape. Seinfeld has meanwhile stopped making his show, and passed up millions of dollars, partly in an effort to divorce himself from his TV persona.

The coincidence hasn't been lost on Peter Weir, The Truman Show's director. "His name is Seinfeld and he is the star like Truman," Weir said in a recent New York press event. "And he said that he had very little in the way of a private life."

"Seinfeld", the "show about nothing," made comic hay from mundane circumstances. (Elaine, Jerry's female foil, described her activities as "coming into this stinking apartment every 10 minutes to pore over the excruciating minutia of every single daily event.") But "Seinfeld's concerns are world shattering compared to those of "The Truman Show," which keeps viewers riveted to the most trivial everyday routines of a conformist, Middle-American guy.

One other similarity: Like TV's Seinfeld, Truman lives among liars. Not even George Costanza is as duplicitous as "The Truman Show"s sham artists. "Truman is brought up by wolves and lives in a nest of liars," said Weir. "The people around him are ambitious actors, grinning and leaning into the camera."

It helps, of course, to have a top banana on hand to keep the audience tuned in. Jerry Seinfeld is one; Jim Carrey's another. "We needed a star to make this work," Weir said. "Carrey was perfect."

--Sean Doorly
(Written for Premiere Magazine Online)