Mike Fleming

Last we heard from Tom Shadyac, he’d captained the first giant flop of a mostly hit-filled resume, with the bloated Noah’s Ark pic Evan Almighty. That led to his exit from the Universal lot where he generated such blockbusters as Bruce Almighty,  Liar Liar, Patch Adams and The Nutty Professor. Turns out, Shadyac has been quite busy. Mark Urman’s Paladin has made a deal to release I Am, a first person documentary that Shadyac directed that chronicles his unusual journey of self-discovery. Urman plans a February, 2011 release. The pic begins after a cycling accident left Shadyac with a concussion that didn’t go away for months. It left him disoriented and unable to work or do much of anything but reflect on his life. By the time he came out of it, Shadyac was ready to throw away the trappings of his A-list life for something more fulfilling. After a slow recovery, Shadyac sold his house, moved to a mobile home community and tried to start over. His metamorphosis is the subject of the film,  which includes meetings with the likes of Noam Chomsky and Archbishop Desmond Tutu. Shadyac directed the film and appears on camera. He’ll take the film through the festival circuit, starting with this week’s Hampton Film Festival, and tour college campuses throughout the country. “It’s a very visual film, not a talking head movie and it got me thinking a lot about my own life,” Urman said. “He speaks to all these people who seem to have answers about mind-body-spirit issues, and they speak to us through him. He’ll tell them he’s the guy who made Ace Ventura, and most of them never heard of it. Tom is personally living his life differently, and while there’s no reason to think he won’t have a full and varied career after this, he has changed.” CAA, which continues to rep him, brokered the distribution deal.

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