He had it all: private jets, a mansion that brimmed with priceless antiques and fine art, untold riches, fame, fortune and all the trappings that success in Hollywood tends to bring.
Then a near-death experience altered everything.
These days, he lives in a mobile home. For Tom Shadyac, life has changed beyond recognition.
For Tom Shadyac has experienced an awakening.
“What I discovered, when I began to look deeply, was that the world I was living in was a lie,” explained a man who has moved alongside Tim Burton at the top of our list of favourite film-makers.
“To my surprise, the accumulation of material wealth was a neutral phenomenon, neither good or bad, and it certainly did not buy happiness.”
Is Tom Shadyac someone you're familiar with?
Unless you're a movie buff, you might not recognize his name. But his work is known – and acclaimed – throughout the world.
The man behind such box office hits as Liar Liar, Ace Ventura and Bruce Almighty, Tom Shadyac stood amongst Hollywood's foremost makers of film comedies. But no longer.
Nowadays, Tom Shadyac isn't playing for laughs. His latest movie, I Am, is a serious affair, a non-fiction film that delves into the problems he has identified with the modern world.
I Am finished playing in our local movie theatre last week, but not before making a profound impression on us all in our studio, here in Saunderstown.
In his far-reaching documentary, Tom and his team came to countless conclusions that spoke to us.
But one spoke louder than all the rest put together.
That conclusion? That we are all connected.
Surprised? Ha! Let's just say we almost choked on our popcorn!
“We are all connected – connected to each other and to everything around us,” said Tom, echoing a sentiment that has long inspired us, a sentiment that underpins everything that's done in our studio, a sentiment that encapsulates everything about us and our OMs.
“My real hope is that I Am can be a window into truth, a glimpse into the miracle, the mystery and magic of who we really are and of the basic nature of the connection and unity of all things.”
You can see why we like it so much now, right? It's right up our street. It's our kind of movie.
Have you seen it yet? It's quite extraordinary, although the tale behind the movie is almost as cinematic as the film itself.
In 2007, a man who admits that he had led a life of excess and greed, was involved in a huge cycling accident that threatened his life.
“I simply didn't think I was going to make it and death can be a powerful motivator” explained a man who, lying in his hospital bed, asked himself a rather big question. “If this is it for me – if I really am going to die – what do I want to say before I go? What will be my last testament?”
The answer is I Am – a movie made by a four-man crew, rather than the usual 400, a movie featuring Archbishop Desmond Tutu rather than Jim Carrey, a movie we love, a movie we're delighted to endorse.
For a man whose earlier movies grossed almost two billion dollars, I Am is a considerable departure. It is also a fascinating project that has struck a chord here in Saunderstown.
“As early as I can remember, I simply wanted to know what was true,” added Tom. “Somehow, I perceived at a very early age that what I was being taught was not the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. I think of I Am as the ultimate reality show.”
Goodness, we could write about this all day, but we don't tell it half as well as Tom Shadyac and besides, we don't want to spoil the show.
If you haven't seen the movie, we urge you to do so.
If you have seen the movie, please share your thoughts.
We'd love to know what you think. Your thoughts are important to us because we are all connected.
Tom Shadyac thinks so.
Remember, you heard it here first!
'We are all connected.'