‘Total Recall’ remake with Farrell stands on its own

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‘Total Recall’ remake with Farrell stands on its own

LOS ANGELES - Twenty-two years after the blockbuster success of the Arnold Schwarzenegger film “Total Recall,” Colin Farrell is stepping into the muscleman’s shoes in a reboot. But if it seems like a dream job, Farrell initially was not so gung-ho.

As flattered as the 36-year-old Irish actor was to be offered the part, “there was a part of me that was honestly afraid of the judgment of people” who held the original film dear to their hearts.

“Films to some of us feel sacrosanct and the idea of remaking something seems like an insult to the original, when in fact it’s not,” he said.

Farrell sat down with director Len Wiseman, talked about changes to the new movie and decided it was clear the makers wanted a somewhat different tale - slightly less brawn and a bit more brain.

“While honoring the same conventions and concepts and narrative plot points as the original, this seemed to stand on its own,” he said.

The first movie in 1990 was directed by Paul Verhoeven and starred Sharon Stone and Schwarzenegger, then at the peak of action hero form.

The sci-fi tale was loosely based on a story by writer Philip K. Dick and told of a man who goes on a “virtual vacation” in his mind to Mars only to find he is being hunted, and he must fight his way back to reality. “Total Recall” was a huge hit, raking in $260 million worldwide.

The new film is also based on Dick’s story “We Can Remember It for You Wholesale” and co-stars Jessica Biel, Bryan Cranston and Wiseman’s wife, Kate Beckinsale. Farrell plays the same basic character, Douglas Quaid, who takes a vacation by strapping himself in a chair and going on a “mind trip.”

As with the first film, science goes awry and Quaid soon finds himself hunted by police before teaming with a rebel fighter (Biel) who explains he’s really a super-spy working for an underground resistance.

Key differences include one of his pursuers, a role played by Beckinsale, who is a combination of two characters in the original, and the fact that Wiseman’s film takes place entirely on Earth. Still, some scenes pay homage to the original. Wiseman said he made a list of elements that stayed with him over the 22 years since he’d last seen the film, at age 14.

“The three-breasted woman was very much at the top of my list,” Wiseman, 39, said with a laugh.

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