Total Recall, director Len Wiseman’s 2012 remake of Paul Verhoeven’s memorable (I say classic) 1990 sci-fi actioner, is available on DVD and Blu-ray today. While there was certainly some fan outcry regarding the decision to remake Total Recall, Weisman’s movie turned out to be a fun, polished production that paid homage to the original film while putting a different spin on Philip K. Dick’s short story “We Can Remember It For You Wholesale."
This week we had an opportunity to sit down with Len Wiseman and discuss the daunting task of remaking a popular movie, managing fan expectations, his approach to directing action scenes, and some of the keys to balancing his personal relationship (he’s married to Total Recall star Kate Beckinsale) in a professional environment.
Initially Wiseman wanted no part of remaking Total Recall. “My first response was absolutely not” he said, “because the nostalgia of a movie like that. At a certain point you are remaking nostalgia which is very tough to do. When I read the script and found that the (remake) was not traveling to Mars, I was both shocked and extremely interested because it was going in a direction I couldn’t foresee and that was exciting. I became more aware of (the story) in a different kind of arena. A bit closer to how the original short story alluded to Mars but never went to Mars. That’s what Verhoeven did with his adaptation of it. They took it, set most of it on Mars. So the fact that it was different, that’s what really attracted me. But then you still have the nervousness, whether it goes to Mars or it doesn’t go to Mars; you’re still remaking nostalgia. Which is always nerve racking."
In order to create his own vision of Total Recall, early on Len distanced himself from the original movie. “The script was very different than the film that I remembered as a teenager. I wanted to absorb all that and get my ideas before I went back and watched the movie again. Later into the process I did watch it again and was kind of shocked at certain things I did not (originally) pick up on. I think as a teenager I was just going to watch the next Arnold (Schwarzeneger) movie. I wasn’t looking at it as the Phillip K. Dick story that it was. I wasn’t really looking for the sci-fi theme. It was interesting seeing it as an adult. But I really wanted to stay away. I watched it and then that was it. It wasn’t something that we went back to or that the writer’s went back to."
Check out an exclusive behind the scenes clip from Total Recall after the jump.