Sony Pictures brought the cast and crew of Total Recall to Comic-Con to talk about their new film, which is a mix of the 1990 science fiction blockbuster that starred Arnold Schwarzenegger, and the original sci-fi story written by iconic author Philip K. Dick.
Before the panel began, Sony presented footage from the new Total Recall and when the cast members arrived, they spoke at length about some of the key differences between this version and the Paul Verhoeven original. Director Len Wiseman joined stars Colin Farrell, Kate Beckinsale, Jessica Biel, and Bryan Cranston for the discussion.
The panel began with some footage from the new film, which highlighted many of the clips we saw in the trailer. But the footage featured a few additional key moments including a scene where Farrell’s character gets caught at a security checkpoint. The trailer showed us the checkpoint, but the footage revealed Farrell’s disguise showing obvious flaws, triggering major suspicion from nearby officers. But overall, the clips mostly served to highlight the story’s focus on how an ordinary man’s life is turned upside down when a visit to Rekall – a company that installs new memories into your mind – makes him realize that his life wasn’t what he thought.
When the panel discussion got underway, Jessica Biel spoke about the intensive training for the action film. She noted that that she didn’t mind completing it. “I love doing this kind of movie,” she said.
When the topic of this being a remake came up, Beckinsale – who is taking on the Sharon Stone role from the original – said that she didn’t feel like she was replicating the same role. “Our tone is kinda different,” she said, so it felt like a new character. The emphasis on the tonal shift between the 1990 version and this remake was repeated throughout the panel by Beckinsale and the other members of the cast.
Unlike the original version, the action of this film leaves Mars behind and one seemingly-perturbed audience member asked Beckinsale if she was okay with the way the Great Britain – which reportedly plays a large role in the film – is portrayed. A clearly-surprised Beckinsale answered with “I think I am.”
Later, Farrell was asked about taking on Schwarzenegger’s role in the movie. The actor shrugged it off humorously, noting that he “did think about messing around with an Austrian accent for a bit.” And by a bit, he noted that it was a very very short period of time that he fiddled with the idea. Later on, he added that he “really liked the script” and that’s why he chose this as his next project.
Biel was later asked about comparing her character to the one in the original film. “You can’t compare it,” she said echoing Beckinsale’s sentiment. Aside from the oft-mentioned tonal shift, the cast also noted that the remake doesn’t have the comic one-liners that Schwarzenegger’s version featured.
An audience member followed up by asking what it was like for Farrell to fill Arnold’s shoes in the role? “Airy,” he said, to laughs from the audience.
Becklinsale later talked about playing a bad-ass in the film and she seemed pleased by the query and noted that she loves being someone who can present such a strong female character onscreen.
As a futuristic thriller, we can expect a lot of special effects in the new version, but Farrell noted that the sets were invaluable to the process. “They built the most incredible practical sets” for the movie he said, before adding that all of the green screen stuff seemed to always be in the background of the production because of the elaborate sets.
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