Hey there, dear reader. I am proud to present a brand new mini-series that I shall hopefully do once a week. (Or, as often as I can think of one.). We all know the inevitably and mixtures of dread and excitement that have accompanied sequels. Seemingly, any film that makes a serious amount of money, or critical acclaim is inevitably given a follow up, for better or worse. For every Dark Knight (Nolan, 2008) or Evil Dead 2 (Raimi, 1982) where the sequel manages to out do the original and improve on it's predecessor; we get a Highlander 2 (Mulcahy, 1991), a situation where the sequel is not only unnecessary, and does nothing to enhance the franchise, but rather spoils and destroys it's credibility. Thus, sequels are very tricky things to pull off, and most of the time, a great original is best just left alone. But, what about those films that hinted at a great sequel but never gave us one? Or simply left us with an ending that could easily lead into a new and interesting story. Over the next few weeks, I'll be attempting to come up with quick ideas for those sequels that should have happened.
The first film I have picked to receive my potential sequel treatment is the 1998 classic The Truman Show. Directed, superbly, by Peter Weir from a fantastic screenplay by Andrew Niccol, and starring the eternally charismatic Jim Carrey; The Truman Show was a wonderfully unique movie that was charming, moving, emotional and genuinely ingenious. The concept was that Truman (Carrey) was the star of a reality show, the show being his entire life. Living in a dome that is presented to him as a real working town, despite being in reality the world's largest film studio, Truman is blissfully unaware that his entire life is nothing but a fabrication. Eventually however, the cracks begin to show, and Truman's curiosity leads him to discover the truth. In a final act of defiance, despite the God-like producer Christof (Who is brought magnificently to life via a powerhouse performance by Ed Harris) desperately attempting to persuade him to stay, Truman leaves his fictional reality, ends the show to the cheers of an audience who had watched their entire lives, and heads into the real world to attempt to live a normal life.
All things considered, The Truman Show was a very intelligent written film with a lot to say on themes such as voyeurism, reality, media consumption, media manipulation, and the idea that, in the media age, the producer is God. Does it need a sequel? Arguably not. It's absolutely fine as it is. There is, however, room for a possibly fantastic film to follow on from the ending. Now, taken simply, the ending is a cheerful one. Truman thrusts off his oppressive shackles, shuns the limelight he has spent his entire life under, and then moves on into the real world and earns his freedom. However, if one stops to think about it just a little deeper, the true tragedy reveals itself and it is from that tragedy I'd create The Truman Show: The Cost of Freedom.
My idea would start with Truman a few years older. He no longer has any contact with anyone from the show, including his fictional parents and the woman who tried to wake him up to the truth. Christof is facing a court case for the ethics of The Truman Show, but this is quickly dropped as Truman desperately tries to escape the spotlight that followed him his entire life. Now, I won't spell out the entire plotline, as this could go many ways. What I will say though is that the tone has to be a lot darker than the original, as this is less a study of ethics within the media and our obsession with reality Television, and more a personal character study of a man desperately trying to adjust to a world he has never been a part of. Perhaps, towards the climax, he realises the only friends he ever had were the actors who portrayed his fictional friends; so, he goes to track them down, only to be rejected and shunned because he cost them their jobs. Finally, after being harassed once too often by a former viewer in a bar (Truman now drinks, I guess, to try and block things out?), Truman decides to break into the old studio, which they never tore down due to expenses, and then either live out his life as a hermit in the ruins of the only place he ever knew, or perhaps he kills himself, as he cannot cope with reality after living within a fabrication for so long. How does he kill himself, if that were the ending? By drowning, of course.
Is that potentially going to piss off a lot of fans of the original and strip it of some of the feel-good nature? Of course it is. Unfortunately, this is the only logical outcome to the tragic tale of Truman. The problem with the original, as I previously alluded to, is that the ending initially seems like the perfect end to his arc, until you realise that he still has to live afterwards. Then, we realise this is only the middle of his life's greater arc, and the need for a sequel surfaces. Nobody could ever, logically, make that re-adjustment to society after what he went through. It would only end in tears and misery. Imagine having to form actual friendships when every other friend you've ever had was paid to do so. Imagine trying to work when previously you were carried through your job by actors. Imagine trusting anybody ever about anything after being lied to for so long.
Once you start thinking about it, The Truman Show: The Cost of Freedom makes a lot of sense. It has been long enough since the original for a sequel to seem fresh, without being long enough for the original to be forgotten. Jim Carrey is still a relatively huge name, even if Kick-Ass 2 (Wadlow, 2013) is the only decent thing he's done since Bruce Almighty (Shadyac, 2003). He won't be forever though, so now is effectively the best time to strike. Also, thematically, the sequel would arguably make more cultural sense than the original did at the time, as reality Television is now more popular than it has ever been. If the original prophecised the rise of reality Television and questioned the ethics and principles, perhaps the sequel, during the reality boom era, could remind us of the potential dangers faced by flash-in-the-pan overnight stars. So whilst, initially, it may appear as though The Truman Show, is a fine stand alone film, a little deeper rooting uncovers some seriously unanswered questions. That's why The Truman Show: The Cost of Freedom is my first hypothetical Moulinie sequel.
I hope this was thought-provoking and entertained you for at least five minutes. Did you enjoy it? Do you have your own ideas for sequels? Was my idea completely stupid? Feel free to let me know in the comments section, and a new one will be with you hopefully soon.
Thanks for reading.