Len Wiseman of ‘Underworld’ Helms ‘Total Recall’
August 16, 2012 by Columbia Pictures Philippines
Known for the hugely successful “Underworld” film series, Len Wiseman now directs the big screen re-imagining of “Total Recall,” an action thriller about reality and memory, inspired by the famous short story by the iconic sci-fi author Philip K. Dick.
In the film, Rekall is a futuristic company that can turn your dreams into real memories. For a factory worker named Douglas Quaid (Colin Farrell), even though he’s got a beautiful wife (Kate Beckinsale) who he loves, the mind-trip sounds like the perfect vacation from his frustrating life – real memories of life as a super-spy might be just what he needs.
But when the procedure goes horribly wrong, Quaid becomes a hunted man. The line between fantasy and reality gets blurred and the fate of his world hangs in the balance as Quaid discovers his true identity, his true love, and his true fate.
“That concept of Rekall, as Philip K. Dick created it in his story, is what made me want to direct this movie,” says Len Wiseman. His take on the film was to delve deeper into the main character by creating a hybrid of a psychological thriller and an action film that just happens to be set in the future.
Wiseman’s approach to “Total Recall” was to build practical sets wherever possible. “Of course, there’s a lot of CG in this movie, because there’s certain things you just simply can’t do,” he notes. “But if you can make it real, then I try to do it. I love to build it and draw it, create it and shoot it.”
“He wanted to make it as real as possible, because he feels it looks better,” says producer Toby Jaffe. “He feels the actors perform better when they’re hanging off of a car as opposed to hanging off a block on the stage. So it was part of our agenda from the beginning to build practical versions of our futuristic cars and shoot on real locations.”
Wiseman approached friend and colleague Patrick Tatopoulos, who directed “Underworld: Rise of the Lycans,” to design the production. Tatopoulos knew it was a project he couldn’t pass up. “First of all, Len was directing it,” Tatopoulos notes. “Secondly, the script was very exciting. For example, I liked the concept of this gigantic elevator going through the Earth – for me, that’s even better than going to Mars.”
For “Total Recall,” the idea was to get across the idea that the film is set far in the future – but not so far into the future that it is unrecognizable. Instead, it’s very much a world that could grow out of our own. “We tried not to push the envelope too far,” says property master Deryck Blake. “So if you look at a lot of our sets, a lot of our props, we try to start with what we have today and not try to go too far out there.”
“We built a U-shaped set, and we cut it up like a pie and shot sections to make it look like different elements, different parts of town,” explains Wiseman.
Even when visual effects would be employed – as with the hover cars – Wiseman used a mix of the practical and the virtual when he could. “We actually built the hover cars and fixed them on top of street racing cars. The actors sit up top and the drivers are down below,” producer Toby Jaffe explains. “I like that better than the actors sitting in a shell on green screen. You see the vibration and you have the actors’ performances reflecting the reality of it at every turn.”
Opening across the Philippines on August 22, “Total Recall” is distributed by Columbia Pictures, local office of Sony Pictures Releasing International. Visit http://www.columbiapictures.com.ph for trailers, exclusive content and free downloads. Like us at www.Facebook.com/ColumbiaPicturesPH and join our fan contests.
Watch the trailer here: