Rumblings about a Total Recall remake have been sounding off since at least 2009, but things didn’t get “serious” until Underworld franchise director Len Wiseman was recruited to work on the film about a year ago. So, what will this particular re-working offer that Paul Verhoeven’s 1990 cult classic did not?
Well, among other things: Colin Farrell instead of “Ah-nuld” Schwarzenegger; Kate Beckinsale instead of Sharon Stone; and a PG-13 Rated sci-fi mind-bender full of hover cars and mutants, including a three-breasted woman, rather than… a pulpy R-Rated sci-fi action flick full of hover cars and mutants, include the aforementioned well-endowed character.
All jokes aside, the new Total Recall is purportedly sticking closer to the details of the original Philip K. Dick short story “We Can Remember It For You Wholesale” than Verhoeven’s adaptation – which, in all honesty, was mostly just a mindlessly fun Schwarzenegger action vehicle.
Dick’s literary source material revolves around Douglas Quail, a man who (in the futuristic world of 2084) wishes to visit the now-colonized planet Mars, but is unable to afford the trip. He decided to instead undergo a process where fake memories of an exotic trip to the Red Planet are implanted into his mind. However, the process awakens repressed memories in Doug’s brain, revealing him to actually be a government assassin – or does it?
That “is it all an illusion?” angle was present in Verhoeven’s Total Recall, but it was heavily played down. By and large, that film was more interested in showing Schwarzenegger as Doug (now, Quad rather than Quail) travel to futuristic Mars, shoot lots of people, and save the day – all while spouting corny one-liners – rather than exploring the idea that reality as he knew it was an illusion.
Jump ahead to 2010, when Christopher Nolan’s Inception ended up becoming a smash blockbuster success. Suddenly, the idea of a sci-fi thriller with overt existential overtones sounded less like a death trap, and more like a potential cash cow, to studio heads. Is it any wonder that development of the Total Recall remake began speeding up right after?
Wiseman’s Total Recall will apparently play up the “reality vs. fantasy” aspect of the plot, more along the lines of Dick’s original short story. Unlike both Dick’s literature and Verhoeven’s movie, however, the Recall remake is said to take place entirely on Earth. Plus, the remake will have the benefit of modern-day digital effects and production values. But will it really feel that much different than its 1990 counterpart?
There’s only one individual associated with the new Total Recall who has a background in “thoughtful” sci-fi: the main (but not sole) screenwriter on the project, Kurt Wimmer. He is- the same man who was responsible for titles like Sphere, Equilibrium, and Ultraviolet. His resume doesn’t per se bode all that well for the potential quality of the Recall remake, but it does suggest that it will genuinely be more of a thinking person’s movie than the Schwarzenegger-starring version was.
Just don’t expect Beckinsale to wear a skin-tight cat suit in the remake. That’s what Underworld: Awakening is for, right.
This guest post is by Edwin, you can follow him on Twitter: @TheCelebutaunt.