And you thought Shakespeare adaptations were Hollywood’s new thing. Turns out the hot concept around town is real life. Or more accurately, blurring the line between reality and celebrity. This month, Ron Howard’s EDtv stars Matthew McConaughey as a video clerk who volunteers to live his life on camera; also in March, ABC unveils It’s like, you know…, a sitcom featuring Jennifer Grey as herself (joking about her nose jobs); in theaters this July will be Universal’s Bowfinger’s Big Thing, with Steve Martin as a filmmaker so hungry to get a megastar (Eddie Murphy) into his new flick that he secretly films his everyday life; and later this year comes YOU, Fox’s ”karaoke comedy” that will offer regular folks a stint in front of the camera.
EDtv screenwriters Lowell Ganz and Babaloo Mandel credit everything from The Truman Show to the shenanigans in Washington with fueling the get-real fascination. ”We didn’t want to make [our film] a fantasy,” says Ganz. ”And the more we heard about [projects] that sort of brushed against this concept, the more we said, Yep, that’s where things are going.”
Brian Grazer, producer of both EDtv and Bowfinger, adds that the trend reflects our cultural obsession with celebrity. ”In the case of Bowfinger,” notes Grazer, ”it seemed really plausible that somebody could follow a star around and patch together a movie that would be worth something to the paying public.” Now, all you need is a soundtrack from Linda Tripp.