‘Total Recall’ Official Synopsis & Kate Beckinsale Interview

Published 3 years ago by , Updated July 18th, 2014 at 9:56 am,

total recall official synopsis Total Recall Official Synopsis & Kate Beckinsale Interview

One entry on our Most Anticipated Movies of 2012 list that seems to surprise a number of people is Total Recall: a film that’s part reboot of the popular 1990 Arnold Schwarzenegger sci-fi action romp, part re-interpretation of the original Philip K. Dick short story, “We Can Remember It For You Wholesale”.

For more insight on why the film (arguably) has the potential to be something more memorable than yet another Hollywood remake that pales in comparison to the original, you need look no further than the newly-released official synopsis – and word from costar Kate Beckinsale (click here for our Kate Beckinsale photo gallery), about her “altered” role in the film.

First things first: here is the official synopsis for the new Total Recall (courtesy of Sony Pictures):

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.

So, yeah, in many ways, the new Total Recall‘s plot sounds similar to director Paul Verhoeven’s 1990 Schwarzenegger vehicle – with some big exceptions, including how the setting is restricted solely to Earth, rather than taking place in part on Mars, and what producer Neil Moritz describes as “a great twist” to the plot that (apparently) neither Dick’s source material nor Verhoeven’s movie had.

However, the big element that isn’t touched on in the above synopsis relates to how the new Total Recall‘s primary screenwriter, Kurt Wimmer (Equilibrium, Ultraviolet, Street Kings) is focusing more on the existential themes present in Dick’s original story. Those sci-fi philosophical elements were present in the 1990 version, but played second fiddle to the Schwarzenegger action movie trademarks, such as the cheesy one-liners and mindless gratuitous violence.

Similarly, the new Total Recall should benefit from having the lead role played by Farrell, who has re-invented himself as more of a capable character actor in recent years (see: Cassandra’s Dream, In Bruges, The Way Back, etc.). Likewise, the supporting cast includes always-solid actors such as Bryan Cranston and Bill Nighy, along with Kate Beckinsale and Jessica Biel – who are both best at playing kick-ass ladies, as is the case here.

Kate Beckinsale plays a deadly villainess in 'Total Recall'

Beckinsale spoke with Collider at the beginning of this year about both the upcoming Underworld Awakening and her role in Total Recall, which reunites the actress with her husband/director Len Wiseman. Here’s what she had to say about her role as Douglas Quaid’s wife (ie. Lori) in the latter project:

“It’s going really great, and everyone’s very excited about it.  I suppose the thing is, Sharon Stone’s interpretation of Lori [in the 1990 'Total Recall'] is safe because my character is more… It is Lori, but it’s an amalgamation of Lori and Richter.  So I guess one of the differences about our movie as opposed to their movie is in that period of time they needed her to have a right hand man.  I am the right hand man and Lori at the same time.  So it’s a little bit more of an amalgamation of a couple of parts… And then for me there was a lot of… I mean, I’m beating everyone up.  Fighting with Colin [Farrell], fighting with Jessica [Biel].  The fight with Jessica is going to be great.  I like the fact that it’s a proper fight.  It’s not two girls, and one of them, the shoulder is ripped off, and the bra comes out.  It’s not like one of those stupid girl fights.  It’s a proper fight.”

To sum it all up: there are some excellent ingredients being mixed together in the new Total Recall, including that of a more interesting (and intimidating) villainess played by Beckinsale, excellent acting talent filling important roles, and a plot that aims to better mix brains with futuristic set pieces and gritty action. If all those elements are used appropriately, then we could end up getting a quality sci-fi film on a par with, say, the Farrell-starring Minority Report. Sounds good enough for now, by our count.

We will see how it all turns out when Total Recall arrives in U.S. theaters on August 3rd, 2012.

Source: Sony Pictures, Collider

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    • I think this film is ripe for a reboot. The 90′s one was a trashy action flick that was great fun and in that respect a classic. But I’m not sure how close it was to the original short story. Not very I suspect.

      If they are going to deal with the plot implications of this film seriously, along with the really wonderful set and costume design I’m seeing, then I welcome it.

      • without the mars-plot?

        • The Mars plot was lame. I hated the dirty, ugliness of the environment and the sad looking mutants in the 90s one.
          I’m pretty excited to see Cranston as a bad guy

          • If you wanna see him as a bad guy, just watch Breaking Bad. He’s phenomenal there!

        • Mars itself as a location is immaterial to the actual plot. It might as well of been Pago Pago, Samoa for all the difference it made. I think its nice to see the basic framework of the plot re-worked into something that’s a little more anchored in reality (to the extent that a movie about memory implants is able to be anchored in reality). Might not be quite so off-putting to a mainstream audience either.

          • Except for the fact that the story this was based off of REVOLVES around Mars as a plot device. Yeah, completely immaterial. /rolls eyes.

          • True, but Mars offered an exotic and mysterious environment in which the Spy version of Quaid can adventure then eventually free the enslaved Martian poor (happy ending). So that most likely will be the difference. Will Quaid fight the baddies on Mars or elsewhere?

  1. I’m glad to see Dick’s source material getting the respect it deserves rather than being criminally converted into b-movie shlock with all the substance sucked out. In a period where we seem to be assaulted with endless re-hashes, re-workings, re-imaginings, sequels and re-boots, Dick’s material is ripe with fresh and interesting themes that are perhaps even more pertinent now than when they were originally written. Minority Report and, to a lesser degree, A Scanner Darkly showed what his novels could become when entrusted to capable hands. Just give me The Man in the High Castle and Ubik!

      • Wow, this is beyond awesome. I think Ubik is a story perfectly suited to Gondry’s talents (The Green Hornet… not so much), and he has that right amount of “unusual” (for lack of a better term) that I think a director needs to bring to Dick. A lot of potential here. I hope this didn’t get stuck in development hell because I sure haven’t heard anything about it in the last year… gonna head over to imdb and check it out. Thanks, Sandy.

    • Yes give me The Man in The High Tower! if you can dig the string theory and multiple universes, you can get this! The opening action sequence of Total-recall has Colin Farrell doing moves like “the muscles from Brussels”. He hasn’t been in better shape since Alexander, not an extra ounce on his frame. Yet the meaning of true reality, which goes thru all Dick’s tales, is present. I was enthralled by the Science channel’s Prophets of Science-fiction: the Phillip Dick story, I’ve always loved his work, but the glimpse into where these fasinating stories sprung from was terrific!

  2. Consider zat a divorce

    • “That was your wife?!”
      “What a b****!”

  3. Could not agree with lovetron more…

    What a good cast. And with Kate and Jessica in the same movie… what could be better?

  4. all this is fanservice, new generations these days dont understand the love in a film and rather say”but mars looks dirty”!…the heck with that…any person with half a mind for cinema knows its go big or go home because you wont be able to revisit a long standing sci fi franchise such as this one in around ten years CAUSE YOU ALREADY REVISITED IT AND YOU SCREWED IT UP.

  5. Even though I enjoyed the original for it’s story-line,artistry & action,I never considered Arnold to be a consummate actor & the fact that he never bothered to drop his Austrian accent for a role,really irritated me.

    That being said,the fact that Kate Beckinsale is part of the cast for the remake,gives me hope.

    It’s a big plus also,that this upcoming flick is following the book more closely,so I’m actually really excited over this one.

  6. if you think that this is going to be less action vehicle and more straight forward thriller the you are in for a big suprise!!!
    this will be as action-packed as it can possibly get

    • Action-with a brain/purpose is a better way to put it, Maybe not so much thriller but a good balance of it both similar to the minority report adaptation. Think less along the lines of expendables and more…the matrix?, not saying it’s going to be anywhere near as epic but take that however you will.

    • Well…I’m all for action of course,otherwise I wouldn’t have ever liked the original.
      I just meant that I like the fact that the story is going in a different direction,rather then regurgitating the same exact plot,is all.

  7. No Michael Ironside = crap. He makes everything better. :P

  8. i love it when people say this movie is screwed up. we havent even seen a trailer, but already closed minded folks are writing a eulogy for a film they havent even seen yet. ever heard the old saying “dont judge a book by it’s cover.”? i think it applies here.

    i would like someone to do a reboot of another ahnuld film, “the running man”. as a huge stephen king fan, i was SO put off by how far removed from the original story it was they should have just called it something else. it wasn’t even based on the actual story, other than the game aspect. that was one craptastic movie.

  9. The twist will be JGL showing up as Arthur at the end as an inception professional for the Rekall company. Colin’s character will then go home and want a divorce from his wife. All to save a corrupt business man’s oil company. What a twist!

  10. * Rekall: check
    * worker named Douglas Quaid : check
    * procedure goes horribly wrong: check
    * on the run from the police: check
    * Cohaagen: check
    * underground resistance: check
    * Quaid discovers his true identity: check

    Yeah, a completely different movie. Hopefully better.

    • * No Richter: check
      * No Johnny Cab (thank God!): check
      * No Quatto (?): check
      * No Mars: check
      * No cheesy acting: check

      Any remake that has a lead actor who can, well actually act and do faithful service to the original material, then I’m all for it.

      Don’t get me wrong, I’m a fan of Arnie. I think he was great because he never took himself seriously. He was never a great actor, he was an action figure, you pull the cord and out pops a one-liner, then he goes off and kicks butt. He even proved he was funny, Kindergarten Cop, Twins, Junior, you just have to like the guy (well, Last Action Hero was crap, but we all have an off day).

      But when he was doing sci/fi (apart from the first Terminator, and Predator) he brought a lot of cheese along with it, even T2 and T3 had lost some of the edge when he became the good guy.

      But back on subject, at first when I heard “Total Recall to be remade” I thought “WTF!!” Please no!!

      But now I think it’s actually going to be good.

      Looking forward to it.

  11. I totally agree with you jeffro, that movie was so different from the book you could barely call it the same story

  12. The cast alone is reason enough to see this (Bill F*cking Nighy!)

  13. Sounds better than the original on paper

  14. awesome movie

  15. I hope they have tri-breast martians on earth for the reboot.

  16. but will there be the only thing i remember about that movie? tri boob

  17. I’m not seeing much of a difference in tone from the original movie. I like the actors involved so I’ll catch it on disc when it’s released.

  18. Can’t wait to see it. Def in my top 3 of most anticipated movies this year!

  19. So if she is both lori and richter, does she become the no armed man rather than the right hand one at the end? See you at ze party, richter!

  20. Really excited to see Bryan Cranston and Bill Nighy in the same movie, both excellent actors!!!!!!!!!!!

  21. A load of s***!