Who’d Star In Your Total Reboot?
It makes The Enthusiast feel very old to contemplate the fact that Total Recall is now 20 years old. Released in 1990, Paul Verhoeven’s gory, hilarious false-memory adventure was one of the last movies to use non-digital special effects.
And while it tacked on a different ending to We Can Remember It For You Wholesale, the Philip K Dick story on which it was based, Total Recall contains a plethora of glorious cinematic moments, from “You think this is the real Quaid?” to “Give these people air!” and the immortal “Two weeks”.
It has also inspired enough song pastiches to fill a Broadway musical, from a bulgy-eyed performance of ‘No Air’ to Kuato’s bravura take on ‘Chocolate Rain’. In fact, Jon and Al Kaplan – the geniuses behind Silence! The Musical – did write an original musical number that incorporated motifs from Jerry Goldsmith’s score.
It seems altogether too beloved to remake. But that’s just what Sony is doing – directed by Len Wiseman (Underworld) from a script by Kurt Wimmer (Salt), with Colin Farrell in the Arnold Schwarzenegger role. Farrell reportedly beat Tom Hardy and Michael Fassbender to the part.
Farrell will next be seen onscreen in London Boulevard, which hits UK cinemas next week but isn’t yet scheduled for an Australian release. Early next year he appears in in The Way Back, a gulag-escape drama based on a true story and directed by Peter Weir.
Once Schwarzenegger has played a role, it’s difficult to imagine how anyone else would have done it. (If only his take on Citizen Kane had seen the light of day.) But let’s not forget that James Cameron almost didn’t cast him in his career-defining role: the Terminator.
Cameron had envisaged the Terminator as a nondescript everyman who could blend into a crowd. He’d tapped Lance Henriksen for the role and even used his likeness for concept art. Henriksen freaked out the producers by showing up to a meeting in full Terminator drag, including fake cuts on his face and gold cigarette-packet foil over his teeth.
We imagine that in a similar way, Farrell will portray a less physically imposing Quaid who’s a little less into quippy, cartoonish ultraviolence than Schwarzenegger. He’s more plausible as an ordinary guy in extraordinary circumstances – similar to the role he played in Phone Booth.
All the same, we’d have preferred either Hardy or Fassbender. Both have a mercurial quality – an intriguing combination of elegance and repressed menace – that would be excellent for this role.
But if Sony did want to preserve the sardonic quality of Verhoeven’s film, how about getting Sharlto Copley, the District 9 star who acquitted himself most drolly in The A-Team?
And, given that Wimmer wrote Salt for Tom Cruise yet Angelina Jolie stepped effortlessly into the part, how about a female Quaid? Angelina seems to have the female action market on lock right now, but I find her offputtingly samey.
Michelle Rodriguez can definitely kick arse, but we were rather impressed by Scarlett Johansson in Iron Man 2. Also, since the new version seems determined to cast a Briton, how freaky would Tilda Swinton be?
Over to you! Who would you instruct to “get your ass to Mars”?