Filmmaker Tom Shadyac: from "Liar" to truth seeker

Fri Mar 11, 2011 3:19pm EST
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By Zorianna Kit

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Hollywood movie director Tom Shadyac is best known for blockbuster comedies such as "Ace Ventura: Pet Detective," "Liar Liar," "The Nutty Professor" and "Bruce Almighty" among other films.

But this Friday, Shadyac enters the world of documentary filmmaking with "I Am," which was inspired by a cycling accident that left him with Post Concussion Syndrome, in which symptoms of the concussion don't go away.

After facing death, Shadyac embarked on a quest for enlightenment, meeting with experts in science, philosophy and faith, among other areas. He spoke with the likes of David Suzuki, Noam Chomsky and Desmond Tutu, asking what's wrong with the world and what can people do to make it right.

The 52-year-old filmmaker, who sold his mansion and now lives in a mobile home community in Malibu, California, sat down with Reuters to talk about his personal transformation.

Q: Most filmmakers start off making low-budget independent films and graduate to big studio blockbusters. You're doing it backwards. Did your bike accident knock the sense into you, or out of you, for you to be doing this?

A: "It knocked me out of my head, but I think I called that into my life. I hit my head 'cause I had to get out of my head. What better way to get a person out of their head and into their heart than to make their head so filled with pain and noise? It dropped me into my heart. And that's why I did this movie because I faced my own death."

Q: What in your life did you feel needed changing?

A: "I looked at my life and how I was doing my own business. I was standing above and saying 'I'm more valuable, I'm the director, pay me more, give me more spoils.' That to me was break from the morality that I believe in."   Continued...

<p>Director Tom Shadyac talks about his new project, a documentary "I Am" in Los Angeles March 7, 2011. REUTERS/Gus Ruelas</p>