When news broke in mid November that Colin Farrell was in negotiations to play the lead in a new version of the 1990 Arnold Schwarzenegger sci-fi epic “Total Recall,” the casting call came as a bit of a surprise. After all, everything about the two actors — from their line readings to their film choices to the size of their biceps — is wildly different.
When MTV News sat down with Farrell at the press day for his new WWII drama “The Way Back,” we were determined to get some clarification on whether he’s officially all-in for the “Total Recall” reboot, as well as intel on just how different it will be from the Schwarzenegger-starring, Paul Verhoeven-directed version.
When asked if he’s definitely doing “Recall,” Farrell responded: “I hope so. I think so. Yeah, I think so. Maybe in May.” That’s not exactly a hard “yes,” so will assume that he’s still tying up a few loose ends on his deal, but is likely to start shooting with director Len Wiseman (“Underworld”) in May.
And, as we suggested in November, Farrell’s involvement is indeed a sign that this “Total Recall” won’t just be a rehashing of the Ahnuld vehicle we all know and love? “It is… no, not really. That’s quite different,” he said of the 1990 film. “This is going back to the original short story. It’s closer to the original short story.”
The short story Farrell is referring to is 1966’s “We Can Remember It For You Wholesale” by legendary sci-fi author Philip K. Dick. In that story, a man named Douglas Quail cannot afford to visit Mars (apparently not uncommon in the future) and so pays to have memories of Mars implanted in his brain (also, apparently not uncommon in the future). But when Quail goes to have said memories injected into his cranium, he discovers that he actually has been to Mars. And, what’s more, he is a lethal assassin whose mind is loaded with sensitive government secrets.
The 1990 film is only loosely based on this story, with Schwarzenegger’s Quaid actually traveling to Mars in the present (he doesn’t in the Dick short story). But while Quail won’t necessarily be heading to Mars in the film’s present tense, it does sound like we may at least get a look at Mars via some flashbacks.
“It’s going to be beautiful,” Farrell told us of the world being created for the film. “Yeah, I saw some of the artwork, some of the pre-visualization stuff of the world that [Wiseman’s] folks are creating. And it’s really beautiful, really really cool. And I’ve had a good experience telling Philip K. Dick stories. Well, I’ve only had the one experience, but ’Minority Report’ was such a blast. Yeah, this could be a lot of fun.”
Are you excited that the new “Total Recall” will stay truer to the Dick short story? And do you think Farrell is perfect for the part?