"The Truman Show"'s ideal town is becoming prime real estate

Jim Carrey’s character may be eager to break free of his TV-perfect town in “The Truman Show,” but movie fans who have made his film the current No. 1 hit ($64.6 million total gross) are intrigued by it. Real estate agents at Seaside, the planned coastal community east of Pensacola, Fla., where the film was shot, are already getting more than a few “Truman”-related inquiries. The 80-acre town is full of the stunning beaches and white picket fences seen in the film, but tourists should understand that nothing can quite match up to movie magic. “Our sunsets are occasionally as fantastic as in the film,” says Robert Davis, who developed the 350-home vacation town in 1981 and still lives there. “But theirs were certainly computer-enhanced.”

Director Peter Weir made other alterations to create “Truman”‘s perfect location: Scrub oak trees were replaced by identical lawns to make the fictional Seahaven look more homogeneous, and a 30-foot stand of trees was removed from the town square to clear space to construct the office-tower set where Truman worked. Ever resourceful, the townsfolk took Paramount’s location-fee payments and built a real schoolhouse, where Laura Linney and other cast members gave guest lectures during their stay.

Davis, 54, says he’s thankful for the attention the film is bringing to Seaside: 70% of the homes are rentals, and many of the smaller cottages — all within walking distance of the picturesque town square — are available for vacation stays. Don’t expect to get Truman’s four-bedroom house, which is rented for the year (at $3,900 a week), but two-bedroom cottages can be had for $1,500 to $3,700 a week. “A friend called all excited because she had seen Seaside in the movie, and therefore it seemed more real to her,” says Davis. “The movie is right: We’re living in a culture where our perceptions of the world are framed by the images we see in the media.”

The Truman Show
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