Bryan Cranston Breaks Bad as ‘Total Recall’ Villain

Published 4 years ago by , Updated February 15th, 2014 at 4:27 pm,

It’s been announced that Bryan Cranston – three-time Emmy-winning star of AMC’s Breaking Bad – is in negotiations to star as the villain in the upcoming Total Recall remake, which is in development over at Columbia Pictures.

The remake is of course being directed by Len Wiseman (Underworld) and will star Colin Farrell as Douglas Quaid, the leading role once made famous by Arnold Schwarzenegger.

The announcement of Cranston as the villain is somewhat surprising (albeit welcome): the last we heard about this Total Recall remake was that a shortlist of actresses were being considered for the film’s two leading female roles – one of which was played by Sharon Stone in Paul Verhoeven’s 1990 adaptation of famed sci-fi author Phillip K. Dick’s short story, “We Can Remember It For You Wholesale”.

Speaking of Verhoeven’s film: we know that screenwriter Kurt Wimmer (Salt, Equilibrium) is sticking closer to Dick’s original story than the original Total Recall did, which raises some interesting questions as to who exactly Cranston will be playing. Verhoeven’s film had two primary villains: Corrupt Mars administrator / evil mastermind Vilos Cohaagen (Ronny Cox), and his ruthless henchman Richter (Michael Ironside). Whether Cranston will be playing the bad guy with brains or brawn has yet to be announced.

In the meantime, check out the synopsis for “We Can Remember It For You Wholesale” for an idea of how this remake could be different:

Douglas Quail, a simple and ordinary man, wishes to visit Mars. Unable to afford it, he visits a company, Rekal, Incorporated, that offers implanted memories (“extra-factual memory”). The attempt to implant some racy Mars memories of Quail as a secret agent reveals that Quail actually is an undercover government assassin with a mind full of dangerous secrets. The Rekal staff quickly get Quail out of their office; he heads home and finds certain physical evidence to support his new old memories.

The government initially seeks his death but instead Quail manages to make a deal. He returns to Rekal to have his Mars memories once more suppressed, and is offered by way of compensation a set of heroic wish-fulfillment false memories. The Rekal staff begin the memory-implanting procedure — and uncover a different and older set of suppressed memories revealing that the unbelievable memories they are about to insert are already there and are true.

Dick’s story had many deep themes about identity, reality, memory and perception that were lightly touched upon in the movie version; however, Verhoeven’s film was primarily an action vehicle for Schwarzenegger. In this post-Inception era of filmmaking, you can bet your sweet bippy that this remake is going to play with the line between fantasy and reality – which could make for a great sci-fi film if handled properly, or for another overly-ambitious meta letdown (Sucker Punch, looking at you…).

Cranston will also be seen on the big screen in the action/thriller Drive, the Steven Soderbergh ensemble thriller Contagion, and Disney’s adaptation of John Carter of Mars. Breaking Bad is still being aired on AMC.

Total Recall is slated for release on August 3, 2012.

Source: Variety

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  1. I hope former Governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger will have a cameo and share a scene with Colin Farrell, perhaps telling him to have fun.

  2. I absolutely love Bryan Cranston, Walter White is crazy awesome. Consider my intrest in this film officially peaked.

  3. Amaaaaaaazing actor! Breaking Bad is one of the best shows EVER.

  4. That should be “Douglas” Quaid… not Dennis. :)

    • LOL good catch, too bad its still up there as “Dennis”

      • Freudian slip ;-)

  5. Kate Beckinsale will probably play Lori Quaid or Melina as her husband is the director.

    I’ve always wanted to see Christian Bale and Colin Farrell do another movie together after having no scenes together in The New World (2005). They are both incredible actors and it would be amazing to see them bounce off each other in a film.

  6. Haha, that was funny: “…and will star Colin Farrell as Dennis Quaid”

  7. don’t know ’bout this yet. the first ones badness is it’s charm (like point break). sidenote, dennis quaid is such a bad actor, i doubt he could play dennis quaid. randy quaid could though, he rules…and is possibly crazy.

  8. I would have had my doubts before Breaking Bad but after watching him in that show, I have complete confidence he can play a ruthless bad guy.

  9. Sorry Ant’s,,,

    but I’m totally on board as long as its not in 3D and or Seth Rogen is involved.

    Cranston rocks he needs to do more film work I hope this is only the beginning. Love the guy!! BB is awesome as well!!!
    Goes without saying.

    • Yeah I am surprise that you’re ok with this 790. Well I guess we all have different views at times.

  10. Ant’s I loathe Swarzennegger and cheer for Cranston, so there ya go,,,


    Hell I can’t wait to see what they do (prop wise) with Quatro??? :)


    • well I can’t stand that twit Ferrel. TR and Last Action Hero are two of my fav arnie movies.

      • “TR and Last Action Hero are two of my fav arnie movies.”

        LOL! That tells me all I need to know about you. Total Recall is merely a decent action flick, and Last Action Hero is one of the worst films ever made.

        I also find it ironic that you seem to be so down on Ferrell, and so high on Schwarzenegger. Ferrell is a far better actor than Arnold ever dreamed of being. In fact, Arnold is a bad actor, never coming close to giving a great performance.

  11. Ant’s this is where I would be buying you a beer and reasuring you that Ferrel can dilever, Last Action Hero was a classic, and Bryan Cranston needs a cinematic break!!!!!

    You know what pisses me off about Last Action Hero, is that you can’t find it in Widescreen on dvd!!!

    • 790, not even an endless supply of beer can convince me that he can deliver, just no way in hell actually. I’m just not a fan of his, never will be lol.

  12. Calling Verhoeven’s Total Recall merely an action vehicle for Schwarzenegger is pretty simplistic. Hoping that this team of writers and a mediocre director as Len Wiseman are going to do a better job of touching the deeper themes of the short story is unwarranted optimism.