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While talking to Superhero Hype about his screenplay for Underworld Awakening, which won the weekend box office, director Len Wiseman also delved a bit into his version of Total Recall, which is more based on Philip K. Dick’s short story “We Can Remember It For You Wholesale” than on Paul Verhoeven’s 1990 version.
Wiseman revealed he’s nearly finished with his first cut of the film, which premieres Aug. 3. “The combination of mystery and emotion and action, it’s coming together,” he said. “Colin [Farrell] is a large part of that and I’m really happy with him.”
He said he found some real meat on the bones of Dick’s short story that was not necessarily seen in the previous version of the film. “I think the complexity of the dual stories was the most surprising and challenging thing,” he said. “When you see Total Recall, the [Paul] Verhoeven film you experience it, it’s finished. When you’re involved in diving into the material again and going back into the Philip K. Dick story, you realize there is so much to be discussed about the dual stories. There’s the reality story and there’s the fantasy element. They’re running parallel together, so you always have to keep those two alive. That’s the inherent nature of the concept and what makes the concept so cool.”
The director also noted that the complexity made the behind-the-scenes talks with actors even more interesting. “I will say, at the same time, this made all of the conversation I had with my cast fun,” Wiseman said. “Every little detail has to apply to both scenarios. My actors would ask, ‘So, in this scene, am I – because I know that I’m lying, because I’m the double agent – how well do I act? It sounds like a silly question, but do you want the other character to see through that or am I so good as a double agent that you would never suspect I’m the best buddy or the wife.’ It’s all of those little things. So, that’s my long way of saying the dual nature of the story was the best thing about this.”
Here’s the official synopsis of the film released last week:
Total Recall is an action thriller about reality and memory, inspired anew by the famous short story “We Can Remember It For You Wholesale” by Philip K. Dick. Welcome to Rekall, the company that can turn your dreams into real memories. For a factory worker named Douglas Quaid (Colin Farrell), even though he’s got a beautiful wife (Kate Beckinsale) who he loves, the mind-trip sounds like the perfect vacation from his frustrating life — real memories of life as a super-spy might be just what he needs. But when the procedure goes horribly wrong, Quaid becomes a hunted man. Finding himself on the run from the police – controlled by Chancellor Cohaagen (Bryan Cranston), the leader of the free world – Quaid teams up with a rebel fighter (Jessica Biel) to find the head of the underground resistance (Bill Nighy) and stop Cohaagen. The line between fantasy and reality gets blurred and the fate of his world hangs in the balance as Quaid discovers his true identity, his true love, and his true fate.