Is Netflix’s The Tourist Based on a True Story or a Book?

Image Credit: Ian Routledge/BBC

In Netflix’s ‘The Tourist,’ a man has to face the consequences of his actions, but the problem is that he remembers nothing about his past and his actions. A car accident in the desolation of the Australian Outback leaves Jamie Dornan’s character with absolutely no memory of who he is and where he comes from. He soon realizes that he doesn’t have the luxury of time and must figure out his origins as soon as possible because whatever he did in the past has put him on the bad side of some really bad people who want to kill him. Created by Harry Williams and Jack Williams, the show weaves an entertaining tale of mystery, action, and humor and makes one wonder if such a thing has really happened to someone.

The Tourist is a Fictional Tale With Existential Questions at Its Heart

‘The Tourist’ is a completely fictional show developed by Harry and Jack Williams, the duo known for their work on shows like ‘Fleabag’ and ‘Call the Midwife.’ They have also created shows like ‘The Missing’ and ‘Baptiste,’ the crime thrillers that have been immensely popular. However, after working on a lot of dark thrillers, the duo wanted to do something that would be less grim than their previous works and be more fun, not just for the audience but also for them. They wanted to explore the genre and deliver something with a completely different tone than what they are known for.

Image Credit: Ian Routledge/BBC

The idea for ‘The Tourist’ developed from a scene they had in mind. The scene, which eventually became the first scene of the TV show, was about a guy being chased by someone and then having an accident, following which he forgets everything about himself. Who is he, where did he come from, and how did the accident happen? All these questions are just the tip of the iceberg. The premise opened the door for them to delve into deeper existential questions. The protagonist not only has to dodge the attempts on his life and fight killers who are after him for unknown reasons, but he also has to figure out whether he himself is one of them. And if so, then can he accept his reality?

The first scene was compelling enough, and when the duo presented the idea to others, people would prod them for “what happens next.” The writers had no idea, and that, in a way, made the writing process even more fun for them. They hadn’t created any backstory for the protagonist prior to the first scene. He was just as much of an enigma to them as he was to himself and the audience at the beginning of the show.

Another thing that decided the look and the vibe of the show was its setting. The creators wanted something to echo the “vast expansive emptiness” inside the protagonist after the accident and loss of his memories, and the Australian Outback proved to be a perfect setting. The idea had started with an Australian setting, but they also briefly considered other places, including America. In the end, however, they came back to the original setting.

Image Credit: Ian Routledge/BBC

Jack Williams revealed that the idea for Australia came from his own experience while visiting the country. He’d been there a very long time ago, and the sheer scale of the place, especially the Outback, stuck with him. On the roads in the Outback, he considered the possibility of being stranded and how no one would know that he was stranded and there would be no one around to help him. When the idea for ‘The Tourist’ was being explored, he realized that putting the protagonist in the same situation in the same place opened up a lot of avenues for the story. It was an extremely remote and terrifying place to be stranded for a person of a different nationality with no memory of who he was and where he came from.

When it came to the characters, the writers focused on writing them realistically, giving them their own detailed backstories that feed into their present actions and dictate the kind of person they turn out to be. The actors brought their own personal experiences to the parts, and with the general humor mixed with the vulnerability their characters required, it was easier to slip into their skin and become those people. All of this, combined, makes ‘The Tourist’ an excellent story, delivered with such an eye for detail that it makes the audience relate to the characters, giving a realistic touch to an otherwise unbelievable series of events.

Read More: Where Is The Tourist Filmed?