Photo: Courtesy of Tom Shadyac
Several years ago, Tom Shadyac seemed to have it all: a multimillion-dollar career directing Hollywood blockbusters like Bruce Almighty and The Nutty Professor, a 17,000-square-foot mansion, fancy cars, the luxury of flying in private jets, invitations to extravagant parties and more. It was a life many people dream about.
Despite these many luxuries, Tom says something just didn't feel right.
"I was standing in the house that my culture had taught me was a measure of the good life," Tom recalls in his documentary I Am. "I was struck with one very clear, very strange feeling: I was no happier."
Tom says he had been feeling a sense of emptiness for quite a while when a traumatic bike accident in 2007 left him with excruciating post-concussion syndrome. After several months of what he describes as "torture," Tom began to welcome death.
"Facing my own death brought an instant sense of clarity and purpose," he says in his film. "If I was, indeed, going to die, I asked myself: What did I want to say before I went? It became very simple and very clear. I wanted to tell people what I had come to know. And what I had come to know was that the world I was living in was a lie."
Five months after his accident, Tom began filming I Am to get to the bottom of two burning questions: What's wrong with our world, and what can we do about it?