If nothing else, the run-up to the Valentine’s Day release of Jeff Fowler’s Sonic the Hedgehog film is a demonstration of the power of fan reaction, which in this case caused the movie’s release date to get pushed back by more than three months and inspired Paramount Pictures to invest an additional $5 million in digital touchups to the poorly-received character design of its eponymous hero.
While promoting the adventure comedy, in which he plays the villainous inventor Dr. Ivo Robotnik, the eccentric and occasionally controversial Jim Carrey was asked which of the movies from his wildly varied filmography he believed would be a prime candidate to be remade in a contemporary context. We’ve already reported that several studios are interested in producing a third Ace Ventura story and that Emmy-winning producer Mike Richardson has “some ideas” for a potential Mask spinoff that hopefully ignores the abysmal 2005 standalone sequel.
Indeed, banking on the profitability of nostalgia, remaking the popular films of yesteryear is a trend that seems to be sweeping through Hollywood like a particularly virulent strain of the flu. Some attempts have been more successful than others – Disney, for instance, has cracked the code on producing massively-lucrative live-action versions of its beloved animated classics – and when pressed to pick one of his own films, the Canadian comedian-turned-actor named Peter Weir’s 1998 existentialistic The Truman Show, saying:
“I think Truman Show is something that exists on the micro level now. You know, it was kind of a story about that on a macro level. But now everybody has a subscriber channel, and everybody has their own little Truman Show world, so there’s something to be had there.”
Debuting during the infancy of the reality television pandemic, the film centers on Truman Burbank, a man who has unknowingly lived his entire life in front of a worldwide viewing audience, his whole world a studio set and every person in his life a cast member. When he discovers the truth, his reaction is to flee and seek the freedom of privacy, and that’s where Carrey thinks a modern perspective taken with a potential remake would differ.
“I often think and am asked about what I think would’ve happened to Truman when he goes outside the wall. And it took me a while to realize that basically, he was alone out there too, because everybody went back inside. They all wanted to be in the dome.”
The film has even inspired a subcategory of grandiose delusions known as Truman Syndrome, which describes individuals who specifically believe that they are the central characters of staged reality shows against their will. Perhaps, if The Truman Show was about someone who believed his life was real while it wasn’t, a remake ought to be about someone who believes his life isn’t real while it is.
Sonic the Hedgehog premieres February 14th, shortly after Carrey’s comedy-drama series Kidding returns to Showtime for a second season on February 9th. The Truman Show 2, meanwhile, might just be happening right now, all around you.