Peter Weir

DEAD POETS SOCIETY (1989) and THE TRUMAN SHOW (1998) Two pictures that did the unthinkable -- turned Williams and Carrey into ''serious'' dramatic actors (in Williams' case, an Oscar-nominated one), while still packing in audiences. ''I like working with people who want to break into another direction, who want to go double-or-nothing with their careers. But big stars have a lot to protect, so you have to gain their trust first. And with Carrey, this was a very different project for him. He wasn't able to draw on his physical talents, his range of body and facial movements. So for the first few weeks I told him to try anything he wanted -- not to hold back. It took awhile, as it does with any actor, but he began to trust me.''

Originally posted Nov 14, 2003 Published in issue #737 Nov 14, 2003 Order article reprints