Len Wiseman Talks ‘Total Recall’ & Vulnerable Action Heroes

Published 2 years ago by , Updated July 19th, 2013 at 12:41 pm,

This weekend, director Len Wiseman’s science-fiction actioneer Total Recall opens in theaters. The film is said to be, in some ways, a more faithful adaptation of We Can Remember It For You Wholesale - the Philip K. Dick short story that inspired it - than Paul Verhoeven’s Total Recall from 1990.

We had the opportunity to sit down with Wiseman to talk about what he wanted to bring forward in his depiction of the world of Douglas Quaid and Rekall, Colin Farrell as a modern day action hero, his commitment to practical effects and the possibility of a Total Recall 2.

You said that you wanted to stay a bit closer to the Philip K. Dick story. How do you think you’ve done that with this film?

“It’s a combination of more of a tone that I’d say is familiar with with the short story. Our biggest difference with the Verhoeven film is that we don’t travel to Mars. Which – the book never goes to Mars, as well. They talk about it, but it all takes place on Earth, and it’s actually, for those who know the book, the imminent threat is actually about invasion on Earth. And so we incorporated a lot of those ideas. But I really think it’s a fun combination of a lot of things that are familiar from the story, things that are familiar from Verhoeven, and things that are entirely original to our own film.”

What are some of the shout outs to the Verhoeven film? I’m curious about that because one of our writers, Rob Keyes, was on the set visit where he learned about the Ethan Hawke portion of the film in which he was playing the early version of Quaid (Farrell) prior to the character having his face changed and his memory wiped. We’ve heard that that scene has since been pulled out. Why did you decide to change that and will that be on the DVD?

“That will be on the DVD. You know there were many things that I wanted to try, and it was simply a sub-plot that got really complex for people. I personally really love as many layers as you can possibly put into a movie and sometimes those layers are just too complex for the majority of audiences, and that’s just the truth of it. I would definitely love to see what we did together still alive in some form.”

Colin Farrell in Total Recall Len Wiseman Talks Total Recall & Vulnerable Action Heroes

We have the short story, the Verhoeven film, and now your film, and in general terms, science fiction has a tradition of kind of hitting on cultural themes that are relevant in the present. I feel like Verhoeven’s version was really dealing with things that were of that time…in a fun way. I’m imagining that this version of Total Recall is going to be a good action film but, in addition to that, what are you tapping into thematically?

“I think that we are, maybe even in a different way, because we are staying on Earth – I think it’s even more relevant. You know, sci-fi has always fascinated me because it’s all about ‘what if.’ It’s a possibility, it’s an extension of if science could possibly take us somewhere, right? But it’s also if our society could possibly take us somewhere in a very dangerous way, as well. And so in terms of the political structure and how we work as a society, there are themes in there that I think it’s like the expanded version of things that are going on today and what they could possibly break into. And so it ties into a bit of plot that I don’t want to give away, but it was something I thought was, you could say, fun, because it’s—I hope it doesn’t happen to our society—but it’s fun to imagine the ‘what if’ scenario within a science fiction world.”

Do you want to sort of say what some of those things are in broad terms? I know you don’t want to give a plot point away and I don’t want to give a plot away either.

“Yeah, it’s very tied into the plot of the twisted plot.”

The sub-plot?

“Yes.”

I won’t spoil that for audiences.

Continue to page 2 to read Wiseman’s thoughts on “vulnerable” action heroes, the importance of using practical effects, and a Total Recall sequel.

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  1. Len Wiseman said all the right things to pique my interest.
    I like his retro image for the action hero and his stressing
    the use of practical sets and pushing the limit there too.
    Some of the footage does have telltale CGI when used.

    I have liked the trailers reminding me of Blade Runner
    in some sequences which is a good thing and logical.
    Great interview, Roth. I do hope this turns out well.

    • ALL RAIN!!!

    • THAT’S IT I GOT TO HANDLE THIS OHH WE GET PRIVACY AFTER THIS AND DA GENUIS ON ANY ISSUE,,,ALL SALIMI’S RED WHITE AND BLUE AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

    • I got this ill bring up that Guy from the Detention “rob the Track storys notes just leave him right there uhm” well every seen ill get him there on Pysch!! he fast Len “Ohh he’s a Broomstick” as I drop him off at ************ ** around a construction site **he says just leave me right here** God Daam!! could run him!!! God Daam!!! RUN HIM MY GOD!!!

      THAT’S IT WHERE GOING TO WALLS,,THEY HAVE TO PAY FOR US TO EXPLAIN SH***T!! AGAIN.

      • AUTO HILTA CHAIR’S OVER CHAIR’S

        !

        !

        !

        • old Len on some competition Uncle Cordy and my Dad sense some People in my Hosue and from that Day “that ********” ohh some comments went threw.Ohh uhm like a Pam ****** ohh ok,,I went off the right way,,,Len says OHH GET THE **** OUT OF HERE.

          **ALRIGHT GUY’S WRAP IT UP OLD NEW SCHOOL HILTA AUTO’S**

    • ohh no that Rain with Shelby “the Crabhouse I-10″ this is got to be handle RIGHT!!!!!

  2. “it was simply a sub-plot that got really complex for people… those layers are just too complex for the majority of audiences, and that’s just the truth of it.”

    what he means to say is that people are becoming more and more lazy and cbf watching and paying attention to wtf is happening and just want a very linear and boring narrative that goes from one action segment to another.

    the man speaks truth for sure, but i would have loved for him to say ‘screw the numbnuts i’m gonna make this a ‘complex’ movie’, then maybe those of us that like to use our heads to solve the puzzle alongside the character will have something to look at other then mindless action.

    that being said i dont mind action, it’s just that we are lacking in deep, realistic character driven movies and are straying into mindless garbage with plots that are spelled out for us and leave nothing for the viewer to interpret. one movie that got my mind thinking was promethius, that was hands down a very nicely done and ‘complex’ movie which even now has me thinking about the themes they explored in it (the movie).

    • Amen to that.

      I know that making movies is all about maximizing the revenue these days, but for crying out loud, please don’t dumb everything down to pander to the lowest possible IQ. Have some pride in your work and leave grabbing the money of these audiences to Michael Bay.

    • Ohh man when I back it up to O5 O5 when that Book came out those Alaters I had lookng into those Broken Hearts for model lust ALL GONE!! NO CRACK GONE!!! THOUGH JUST ALL GONE!! STONERS!!! OUT THE PICTURE.PLEASE GADAGADA 3 MONTHS AFTER THE LAST BLOOD CLOT CAME OUT NATURALLY “MIGHT BE OTHER WORLD ALSO RED. ERA AND DUH ERA ON ANY ISSUE” IM IN A TROLLY BOOK WHY DON’T ALL OF YOU HAWL ***!! AND DON’T EVER FORGET DUH ERA ON ANY ISSUE.

      • These are turning to Phill Collin notes TI TI TI TI TI TI TI TI TI TI TI TI TI TI TI TI TI TI

        AND GARCIA TI TI TI TI TI TI TI TI TI TI TI TI TI TI TI TI

        !

        !

        !

        • ((((((((((DON’T EVER MENTION THIS GUY TO ANYONE!!!!!!!))))))))))

          YEA UHM JACKAL ON FILMS,,,FIND THAT DEPTS IN THE GOVERNMENT.

          • ECHOES CLOSED DOORS))))))

            • RED. LIGHT DISRICT))))))

    • Meds DA ROME.

  3. “It’s a combination of more of a tone that I’d say is familiar with with the short story. Our biggest difference with the Verhoeven film is that we don’t travel to Mars. Which – the book never goes to Mars, as well. They talk about it, but it all takes place on Earth, and it’s actually, for those who know the book, the imminent threat is actually about invasion on Earth. And so we incorporated a lot of those ideas. But I really think it’s a fun combination of a lot of things that are familiar from the story, things that are familiar from Verhoeven, and things that are entirely original to our own film.”

    B – S.

    The novella was a slow paced, psychological intrigue piece. No where did it have car chases, entire groups being gunned down and the like. You CAN however find all of those things in the original movie version.

    It’s also getting hit hard by critics on RT.

    • UHM UHM LET’S TALK ABOUT ***MER WITH SOME ****’S AND THE BEAT!!! ***I JUST CAME IN LAST NIGHT,,they got me last night***

      YOU KNOW GERARD TOLLEFSON WOULD HAVE BEEN A GOOD U.S. MARSHAL!!! I SAID GERARD TOLLEFSON WOULD HAVE BEEN!!! A GOOD U.S. MARSHAL!!!!!!! I SAID GERARD TOLLEFSON WOULD HAVE BEEN A GOOD U.S. MARSHAL

      !

      !

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      • Nicole Kiddman etc. uhm some others tight seen ok.Well on the BOP transfer on the way back to the other institution ok.

        ***TEARS FOR FEARS***

      • Ok look you would think I would say the same numb**** with all of this LA etc. and us ehre never or something and I can’t have anything “***.*** under ***.***5 ok” where not “OHH DO NOT MISS THE DUH ROME COMMENT HERE ALSO=T2 IMAGES AND SAYS ALSO UHM OK CLOSED ISSUE” HERE WE GO NOW WE SELL BODY!! UHM!!! HOWS THAT MOON RECORD IT’S ON ME AND SOME PEOPLE LIKE ARNOLD AGAIN ME ALSO WITH THAT MOON RECORD OF GARCIA!!! WITH SUCH SAD EYES AND REALIZE AND THOSE TRUE COLORS ANYWAYS.DID YOU GET THAT MOON RECORD BODY OR THE TEARS DOWN STAIRS!!!

        • attached on a Queotes T3 ALSO.YEA AND A GRANDAD IMAGE FOR DEFENSE THAT WILL ALSO COVER ANY ISSUE!! DON’T WORRY ABOUT WANTS BEHOND HIS P.A. WRITING DUH.

          • WHICH ONE UNCLE **RDI UHM BANK NOW OK LAW THE CRYPTS AND THE BLOODS OK OK OK.TRY THAT MOON “YOUR A MENTALIST LEN OR A MENTALIST IT’S ON MY BROTHERS AUTO’S” TRY THAT MOON RECORD WITH GARCIA PLAYER!! THAT’S ON US HERE!!! TRY THAT MOON RECORD OHH MAAN “ARNOLD’S HERE LEN” THAT MOON RECORD MATE HIM AND VINCE.I NEED ATILIA POWDER POOFS ON MY NEW RAIN “THE NEW RAIN MAAN DOWN STAIRS!! IT’S NOT LENS!!! MY VIEWS P.A. WRITING DUH WITH PERFECT SEAT ROCCO WRITING FOLLOWS” SO I NEED SOME ATILIA WHERE NOT PLAYING A GUTIAR TONIGHT “CLEAR ON NAOMI TOTALLY” I NEED ATALIA DAAM!! GUY’S GOLDEN!!! SOMETHING ENOUGH OF MRS. *****TI.GOOD DAM MOON RECORDS HIM!!!
            ANDRICARDO!!!!!!!

            • That show Homeland the DUMBIEST ORLANDO GARCIA DIES ON THE CROSS BEFORE THERE EYES ATALIA WORD FOR WORD : ALL AGE 26 COURTY?WELL YES.

          • and for the Show Homeland ALL AGE 26

            /)

            • CHAINSAW

              /)

  4. at first didn´t liked it. but after some trailers and behind-the scenes feattures i am very interested now. so, the mars-plot was a idea of verhoeven,i thought it was in the book,but like wiseman said there is no mars plot. let´s see if this will be a worth reboot. i am one of those pro-reboot-remake guys, because i.m.o you can always reatell a good story or the source from a book that has become a movie for the past and the future. and also how it looks there are coming very unique and interesting movies like enders games , cloud atlas, elyssium , oblivion and so on. these are all sc-fi movies that i have never heard before,maybe in books but not on big-screen.

  5. correction: ….these are all sc-fi movies with plots that…

  6. This is Perrier maan Jackal FDC etc. Beatles DUH ROME.

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