It won’t be out until June 5, but moviegoers are already buzzing about Jim Carrey’s surreal fantasy The Truman Show. No, we’re not referring to preview audiences. We’re talking about the people clustering in theater lobbies to gawk at Truman’s poster, a hypnotic photomosaic of Carrey’s smiling mug assembled from more than 1,000 still images from the film set. It’s a head-turning effect: Think of a Magic Eye poster where the work is already done for you.
The portrait was created by visual artist Rob Silvers, who designed similar works for the covers of Newsweek, Life, and Wired, as well as for IBM and MasterCard International ads. The Truman poster is one of Silvers’ highest-profile projects to date, not to mention among his most lucrative: According to an insider, Paramount shelled out $75,000 for the work. Using a proprietary process he developed as a student at MIT in 1995, Silvers spent six months painstakingly piecing Carrey’s image together from more than 5,000 photos. To sharpen the final version, he slightly altered the color of some panels — something he normally considers verboten. ”I don’t want to complain about clients,” grouses Silvers, ”but [Paramount] changed it even more after I gave it to them, making it clearer.”
Oddly enough, Paramount refuses to comment on the poster, even though it’s a highlight of what could be a difficult marketing campaign: persuading folks to see a non-antic Carrey in a dramatic role. Maybe the studio’s trying to sneak one more image into the poster — a talking butt.