Globes Flashback '99: Harris' Last-Minute Role
By ROBERT PACE
December 21, 2012
After twenty years in the business, Ed Harris was finally granted his first Golden Globe in 1999 for his role as the creator of the show within The Truman Show. Catching up with Entertainment Tonight after winning the award, the Best Supporting Actor winner reflected on his last-minute addition to the project that won him the award.
The role of "Christof," the man who oversees the show of Jim Carrey's character's life, was originally set to be played by Dennis Hopper, but he left the project during filming due to creative differences. This created an opening for the role, which was filled by Harris at the very last minute after it was denied by other actors.
"[It was] kind of a late kind of deal for me 'cause I came out and literally had three days to get ready to do this guy," he recounts. "I was real[ly] concentrated on just, 'How am I going to possibly play this man who's so powerful, you know?'"
The result of that crunched rush to embody a powerful character was an award, a very important reward to a man who had been in dozens of films prior to Truman Show. Although Harris' involvement in the film was delayed, he reveals that he had a firm sense that it would be well-received by audiences.
"I felt that [my character] worked, that...I believe ["Christof"] ruled this world. It made me feel good," the then-49-year-old actor says. "I was really struck with the originality of the film and that Peter (Weir, director) had pulled it off in such an exquisite way. I said, 'Here's a film that's unlike any other film I've seen [in a] long time.'"
Also winning his first Golden Globe that year was "Truman" himself, Jim Carrey. The comedic actor stepped out of his comfort zone for the drama film, which yielded substantial acclaim for him. Harris says that although he was surprised to see Carrey in the role, he executed it well on the screen.
"I was shocked when I heard Peter Weir and Jim Carrey were working on a film together. I thought somebody had made a mistake," he says. "Then I read the script and I said, 'Oh, maybe I can see what he's doing here.' I think Jim can do anything he wants. I think he's great, and he's a really good man."
Harris has received two Globes nominations since The Truman Show but has yet to win another award. However, third time may be the charm this year with his nomination for the TV movie Game Change.