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Remakes are rarely necessary, and I’ve yet to be sold on director Len Wiseman’s upcoming take on Total Recall. The 1990 original, directed by Paul Verhoeven and starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, just nails it for me. It’s fun as hell and there’s an exploding robot head, which doesn’t suck. That said, it doesn’t hew very closely to Philip K. Dick’s original short story, which is something Wiseman’s update is meant to do, according to producer Neal Moritz in an interview with Collider.
“It’s closer to the book, the big difference is we don’t go to space,” he said. Definitely a big difference. In Dick’s short story We Can Remember It For You Wholesale, Douglas Quail (changed to Douglas Quaid in the Schwarzenegger film) ends up on the run from government stoolies after a visit to a firm that specializes in implanting fictitious vacation memories unearths Quail’s true identity as a sleeper agent. The action never leaves the planet Earth, and there’s a sizable concluding twist which has absolutely nothing to do with the people of Mars needing air.
Moritz spoke quite a bit about the vision Wiseman has for the remake. “I think the world that Len Wiseman is creating is incredible,” he said. “It’s a real world, a real future world, where the cities have just gotten so overcrowded that the cities are just built up, up, up, up. It’s just everything I see on the movie, every pre-vis I see on the movie, every conceptual drawing on this movie that I see just makes me more and more excited. We’re playing it like a real world, but there’s all these technological advancements to the real world, and it’s just really, it’s cool. It’s an awesome movie. I’m dying—as a fan of movies, more than anything, it’s a movie that I’m just dying to see.”
Moritz also confirmed that Colin Farrell is close to being signed for the leading role. Total Recall won’t be joining the growing crop of 3-D movies being released every year, but Moritz sees it as a “tentpole” sort of release all the same. We’ll see for ourselves soon enough; shooting kicks off on May 15 in Vancouver.