One of the reasons tens of thousands of fans flock to San Diego each year is for an advance look at the best of what’s to come in the next year. Sometimes Hollywood fulfills our expectations and sometimes it lets us down, but the advance peeks always leave you eager to see even more. Across the street from the San Diego Convention Center this year during Comic-Con weekend, Columbia Pictures revealed a futuristic police car and future police officer from the new remake of the movie Total Recall, to hit theaters in 2012.
I think the general consensus is that it seems a little early for a Total Recall remake or re-imagining. The original movie starring Arnold Schwartzenegger as Doug Quaid is a sci-fi classic, with standout supporting performances by Ronny Cox as Cohaagen, Michael Ironsides as Richter, and Sharon Stone as Doug’s wife Lori. The special effects were first rate when the original premiered in 1990, including Arnold wearing a fake woman’s head as a disguise that splits apart, X-ray body scanners at the future airport–years before they would become commonplace, and that scene you can’t forget were Arnold has to pull a tracking device out through his nose. The original is also cited by anti-violence types as having one of the highest body counts of innocent bystanders in any film. It was–and still is–the ultimate sci-fi, action adventure. So why remake it? For one, the original had a box office take of $261 million. Special effects technologies are constantly changing, so the best answer is probably “why not?” Here is the only movie still released so far:
The new look from the San Diego display last weekend immediately resembles another Philip K. Dick story turned major motion picture: Minority Report. And like Minority Report, the new Total Recall will feature Colin Farrell (Phone Booth, Daredevil), this time in the lead role, as Doug Quaid. The remake also stars Kate Beckinsale (Underworld series, Much Ado About Nothing) as Doug’s wife Lori, Jessica Biel (Stealth, Blade: Trinity, Next, The A-Team) as Melina, Bill Nighy (Doctor Who, Underworld: Rise of the Lycans, Pirates of the Caribbean series, Harry Potter series) as Kuato, John Cho (Star Trek 2009, Harold and Kumar series), Ethan Hawke (Gattaca, Assault on Precinct 13, Alive), and this time out Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad, Batman: Year One) plays the tough Cohaagen, the leader of Euromerica who, under the cover of protecting his people, is secretly readying an invasion of New Shanghai. That’s right, this story doesn’t take place on the surface of Mars as the original and so there will be no reference this time out to sustaining oxygen for the planet’s residents.
Philip K. Dick’s original short story “We Can Remember it for You Wholesale” is a brief story as short stories go so there is definitely room to expand the story in any number of directions. But the producers promise this version will come closer than the 1990 film to the original short story. Total Recall is currently in production at Pinewood Toronto Studios with filming expected to wrap in September 2011.