Watch: ‘Total Recall’ Director’s Exclusive Trailer Commentary

Len Wiseman walks MTV News through the first look at his remake.
By Kevin P. Sullivan, with reporting by Kara Warner

Colin Farrell in "Total Recall"
Photo: Sony Pictures

Earlier this week, we saw Colin Farrell realize he may not be the man he thought he was, in the first trailer for "Total Recall." The first look at the sci-fi remake had a ton of futuristic visuals, badass women and a bleach-blond John Cho, but we wanted a deeper take on what the movie has in store.

So MTV News turned to director Len Wiseman for the answers. Wiseman went into the details of the trailer and how it will reflect the finished film, scene-by-scene, and even shared some secrets from the set.

The first images from the trailer surprisingly give no sign of the remake's futuristic setting. Colin Farrell, as Doug Quaid, wakes up next to his wife (Kate Beckinsale) and slowly looks out onto his world. "We actually open up very intimately with Quaid, and then we step out and realize what world he lives in," Wiseman said. "I wanted to set the stage first for just his relationship and then get a sense of the world and what sort of environment he is in and oppressed by."

Once the plot begins to move forward, Quaid seeks meaning from Rekall, a company than can implant memories. Here, Wiseman saw an opportunity to pay homage to the original film. "Rekall, I wanted to set up some elements that were familiar — a bit of the chair, a bit of what I was excited about when I was a teenager, things that I had kept from that experience," he said.

At the same time, Wiseman wanted to add edgier elements to the familiar setting. "[We] set it up in a much more opium-den, slightly more sketchy version of this whole process," he said. "I wanted to have a little bit more danger. At its core, it's screwing with your brain chemistry. That cannot be a widely accepted thing."

The flashiest scene of the trailer comes after the police storm Rekall and attempt to arrest Quaid. In a brutally kinetic single shot, the camera literally flies around the room as Quaid dismantles the police force. Wiseman said he had always wanted to do a scene like that but only just found the opportunity with "Total Recall." "I needed to have the audience feel what Quaid was feeling. I wanted to set up a moment where you aren't given a chance to take a breath until it's over, just like he would."

The setup to capture that shot involved computer-operated cameras moving quickly around the set as Farrell repeatedly performed the fight choreography. "It was a very complicated shoot where Colin had to do the fight 22 times, actually, to get the thing right with all of the cameras," Wiseman said. "The cameras would move at 35 miles an hour that were on computer systems. It took two days. It was immensely fun, but it is 100 percent practical."

Though the trailer only shows a brief look at it, the fight scene between Beckinsale and Jessica Biel is one Wiseman felt was important to include. "I wanted to give a sense of how strong these female characters are," he said. "I want it to be the actual payoff of Jessica Biel and Kate Beckinsale going at it; you're not watching two stunt players that are carrying that name. It's actually Jessica and Kate just kicking either other's ass."

The trailer closes with a mind-bending shot of Quaid quickly shuffling through a series of faces in place of his own. Wiseman said he included the scene as a way of communicating the central idea of the movie. "I've always been attracted and intrigued by anything that brings into question, 'Who am I'? It's such an enticing story to me," he said. "That line right there is the basis of the movie. That line right there is the core of the movie."

Check out everything we've got on "Total Recall."

For breaking news, celebrity columns, humor and more — updated around the clock — visit

Related Videos
Filed under: Movies


No Comments »

Leave a Reply

Back to Top