Philip K. Dick has had a long and strange relationship with Hollywood, and the crazy part about it is that he’s been dead for most of that relationship.
Seems appropriate when you read the man’s body of work. He was a brilliant idea man, a SF writer who did the majority of his work in the era when you were paid by the word. He cranked out hundreds of amazing short stories that have proven to be incredibly fertile ground for Hollywood over the years. Frequently, though, they just strip out the big ideas from his work and then dump everything else.
“Total Recall” was a perfect example of that. Based on his short story, “We Can Remember It For You Wholesale,” the final film by Paul Verhoeven was an action movie that flirted with a few of Dick’s amazing ideas, but which ultimately boiled down to Arnold Schwarzenegger shooting people, something that I’m sure would have bored PK Dick enormously.
Since this morning’s announcement that there is a new version of “Total Recall” on the way with director Len Wiseman at the helm, with Kurt (“Salt,” “Equilibrium,” “The Thomas Crown Affair”) Wimmer writing it, I’ve seen many people grousing about the remake of a film they enjoy. But are we sure we can even call this a remake? If they go back to the source material, they could make a film so completely different that it might be totally unrecognizable. It sounds to me more like they’re using a title people know, but making something different.
We won’t know, of course, until we hear some story details. For now, here’s the press release Sony sent out today to announce Wiseman’s hiring:
“Len Wiseman is in final negotiations to direct Columbia Pictures” Total Recall, it was announced today by Doug Belgrad and Matt Tolmach, presidents of Columbia Pictures. The film will be a new, contemporized adaptation of Total Recall, which was based on the story, “We Can Remember It for You Wholesale” by Philip K. Dick. Kurt Wimmer is writing the screenplay. Neal H. Moritz will produce through his Original Film banner.
Commenting on the announcement, Tolmach said, “Len has an incredible love of the genre and a great gift for action. He”ll bring a contemporary feel to the film while taking care with everything we love about Philip K. Dick”s original story.”
Moritz said, “I have been trying for years to work with Len and fortunately we finally found a great project that he loves as much as we do. Len is terrifically talented and we know he is the right director to re-imagine Total Recall for a new generation of fans.”
Wiseman added, “I’ve always been fascinated with Philip K. Dick’s short story, and I’m excited at that prospect of diving even deeper into the type of world it evokes and the questions it asks. I love that the most crucial mystery our character is trying to solve is the one of his own soul.”
Toby Jaffe will oversee production on behalf of Original Film. Tolmach and Sam Dickerman are overseeing the project on behalf of the studio. Columbia Pictures secured the rights to Total Recall from Miramax. Wiseman is represented by ICM and attorney Howard Abramson.
LEN WISEMAN began his career in the art department on the blockbuster films Godzilla, Stargate, Men in Black, and Independence Day. With his natural visual flair and eye for design, he was soon behind the lens directing commercials for PlayStation, Time Warner, Oracle, Intel and Activision, which quickly lead to a career in music videos, working with such artists as Quarashi, Rufus Wainwright, Megadeath, En Vogue, Static X, Paul Oakenfold, and Brooke Allison.
Wiseman went on to write and direct Underworld, which was so well received that he went on to direct Underworld: Evolution, a film he also executive produced. He went on to produce Underworld: Rise of the Lycans. His next directing project was the blockbuster hit Live Free or Die Hard.
He most recently directed the pilot for “Hawaii Five-O” and is co-writer and producer of the upcoming Underworld 4.“
We’ll have more on this one as it moves through development and production, right here on HitFix.
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