Comic-Con: Colin Farrell and Director Len Wiseman Discuss Total Recall During Sony Panel
07.14.12 by Ryan
The first part of Sony's Friday panel at the San Diego Comic-Con was devoted to the upcoming remake of Total Recall. Director Len Wiseman (Underworld, Live Free or Die Hard) and cast members Colin Farrell, Kate Beckinsale, Jessica Biel and Bryan Cranston were all on hand for the panel. The studio brought an extended trailer for the movie, which, sadly, only offered longer versions of scenes already revealed in the movie's promotional trailers and TV spots. What was new, however, looked terrific and the Blade Runner-esque world that Wiseman has created should more than convince doubters that this could be more than your average remake. As for why Wiseman was drawn to remake Total Recall, the director explained that it was the mystery of the plot, which sees factory worker Doug Quaid (Farrell) who heads to memory-implanting company Rekall and soon learns that he may or may not be a spy.
What attracted me the most was the mystery. I've been very interested in doing a mystery, and this was a mystery that was encased in a lot of action, the world building, all that I really geek out on — I love it, I love to create it, build it — but the core of what really drew me into it was the mystery and the fact that the mystery is the character itself I thought was fantastic. Anything that begs the question "who am I?" I'm just really drawn to. So that was the main thing that got me passionate about the film.
One attendee asked Farrell why he signed up for a big action movie after toiling for the past few years in more arthouse fare like 2009's Ondine, to which Farrell quipped: "I always wondered who that person was that saw Ondine." Farrell followed by explanation.
You know what, I hadn't done a big action film in six or seven years. I had, for the last few years, done things that felt personal and felt more intimate and I really enjoyed the work. There's a lot of fun to be had in a film like this — apart from the obvious stuff like the money's better — but genuinely, besides all that there's loads of fun to be had. When I met Len the first time, I read the script and I was a bit dubious as to the idea of my second remake — I was like "Oh God, could I get any less original?" But I read the script and I really liked and I sat with Len and then he showed me artist renderings of the world he was going to create for the movie...and I was like a six or seven year old and got so excited when I saw the drawings.
While Farrell was hesitant to take on yet another remake after last year's Fright Night, the actor admitted that he was so persuaded by Wiseman's vision that he didn't feel like he was following in Arnold Schwarzenegger's shoes.
Thank God I didn't feel like I had to fill his shoes. I think one of the biggest differences between this incarnation and Arnie's film, [director Paul] Verhoeven's film is the tonal shift. The original has such a wonderful, kind of absurd sense of humor to it, even the violence kind of had an air of comedy to it and this one is played a little straighter. What I'm saying is that I don't have one-liners — thank God. Most of that responsibility falls on Kate's very able shoulders. So fundamentally the story is about a man who's searching for his true identity and trying to find out who he is and that was the most interesting thing. I love the original, but it felt different enough for me not to feel I had to fight against what I did or try to be different.
Seeing the footage of the movie on a big screen showed off more of the immaculate details in the design of the world within the movie, and Wiseman explained that he has long wanted to be able to create an entire world within a movie.
A lot of it has been in the making I feel like since I was ten or eleven years old of wanting to bring a futuristic world to life. So I was finally given the chance to be able to do that, and so there's a lot of ideas in there that I've really been thinking about. In terms of how the world was built, I've never seen a world that's been built on top of itself rather than expanding out. That just created a whole different type of world that I've never seen before. In terms of inspiration...I collect a lot of sci-fi concept art, and always have, so I'm sure that works its way in there as well, and then just your own childhood fantasies.
And because it wouldn't be Total Recall at Comic-Con without a mutant prostitute with three breasts:
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