Total Recall


1h 53m 1990
Total Recall

Brief Synopsis

Recurring dreams about Mars lead a man to discover his forgotten past as a government agent.

Film Details

Also Known As
Atto di Forza
MPAA Rating
Genre
Action
Thriller
Adaptation
Sci-Fi
Release Date
1990
Production Company
Heriberto Cardenas
Distribution Company
TriStar Pictures
Location
Pinewood Toronto Studios, Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Churubusco Studios, Mexico City, Mexico

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 53m

Synopsis

Set in the year 2084, a man goes to Mars via a memory implant and discovers the truth about himself.

Crew

Jon Alexander

Camera Operator

Ken Allen

Matte Painter

Henry Alvarez

Production

Armando Amador

Production Auditor

Victor Anderbery

Assistant

David Appleby

Photography

Lilia Soto Aragon

Script Supervisor

Andy Armstrong

Stunts

Vic Armstrong

Stunt Coordinator

Vic Armstrong

Second Unit Director

David A Arnold

Dialogue Editor

Alejandro Avendano

Stunts

Anuar Badin

Production Manager

Kim Balser

Assistant

Bruce Barbour

Stunts

Jennifer Ann Barnes

Production

David Bartlett

Sound Effects Editor

Ron Bartlett

Sound Effects Editor

Gary Baxley

Stunts

Amanda Beard

Production

Scott Beattie

Motion Control

Claudia Becker

Casting

Dickey Beer

Stunts

James Belohovek

Production

Craig Berkeley

Makeup

Tom Bertino

Rotoscope Animator

Margaret Beserra

Production

Paula Beyers

Production

Michael Bigelow

Motion Control

Roland Blancaflor

Production

Simone Boisseree

Stunts

Clay Boss

Stunts

May Boss

Stunts

Bruce Botnick

Music

Rob Bottin

Special Makeup Effects

Rob Bottin

Visual Effects

William M Boyd

Other

Marcus Brandly

Production

Derek G Brechin

Assistant Editor

Robert Bremner

Gaffer

Eric Brevig

Visual Effects Supervisor

Tony Brubaker

Stunts

Donald Bryant

Camera Operator

Chere Rae Bryson

Stunts

Pablo Buelna

Assistant

Jane Bulmer

Assistant

Stephen Burg

Visual Effects

Jeff Burks

Animation Supervisor

Rob Burton

Motion Control

Richard Butler

Stunts

Anne Calanchini

Effects Coordinator

Roger Callard

Stunts

Craig Campobasso

Liaison

Alfredo Gomez Capetillo

Other

Antonio Gomez Capetillo

Other

Hector Romero Cardenas

Assistant Art Director

Heriberto Cardenas

Cable Operator

Jon Carpenter

Driver

Ignacio Carreno

Stunts

Giuseppe Carrozza

Other

Dave Carson

Visual Effects Supervisor

Jose Demaria Casado

Assistant

Jorge Casares

Stunts

Anjelica Casillas

Animator

Elpidio Cano Castro

Other

Miguel Chang

Set Designer

Kathy Chasen-hay

Editor

Ann Chatterton

Stunts

James Christopher

Sound Effects Editor

James Clark

Production

Larry E Clark

Other

Richard F Clark

Video

Ron Cobb

Art Department

Richard L Cohen

Visual Effects

Doug Coleman

Stunts

Brent Collins

Video

Alan Collis

Transportation Captain

Donald Collis

Driver

Jack Collis

Driver

Lynn Collis

Driver

Terry Collis

Production Manager

Rhonda Columb

Assistant

Al Coulter

Production

Gustavo Covarrubias

Dolly Grip

Simon Crane

Stunts

Graeme Crowther

Stunts

Hugo Gutierrez Cuellar

Assistant Director

William Greg Curtis

Special Effects

James A D'orta

Medic

Jim Davidson

Production Associate

Jeff Dawn

Makeup

Vince Deadrick

Stunts

Gary Deaton

Other

Tracy Defreitas

Production

Noori Dehnahi

Post-Production Coordinator

Efren Del Moral

Assistant Director

Leon Delaney

Stunts

Carlos Delarios

Sound

Bryan Dewe

Production

Bob Dewitt

Driver

Philip K Dick

From Story

John Dickenson

Driver

Nick Dimitri

Stunts

Cal Divalerio

Construction Coordinator

Thomas B Divalerio

Foreman

Dennis Dorney

Visual Effects

John Downey

Driver

Tony Dublin

Consultant

Christopher Duddy

Photography

Stephan Dupuis

Production

Carlos Echeverria

Set Designer

Lynn Ehrensperger

Assistant

Alma Rosa Elizondo

Driver

John Elliot

Carpenter

Kenny Endoso

Stunts

Jeannie Epper

Stunts

Stephanie Epper

Stunts

Donna Evans Merlo

Stunts

Dana Dru Evenson

Stunts

Fernando Favila

Other

Craig Feied

Medic

Buzz Feitshans

Producer

Matthew Feitshans

Assistant Director

James Feldman

Production

Mike Fenton

Casting

Robert Fentress

Associate Producer

Gunnar Ferdinandsen

Production

Greg Figiel

Production

Scott R. Fisher

Special Effects

Thomas L. Fisher

Special Effects Supervisor

Tammy Fites

Production

Wayne Fitzgerald

Titles

Lily Flaschner

Location Manager

Donald Flick

Sound Effects Editor

Judee Flick

Foley Editor

Stephen Hunter Flick

Sound Effects Editor

Ileana Franco U

Assistant Director

Alex Funke

Miniatures

Jose Gallegos

Stunts

Anna Sanchez Genard

Assistant Set Dresser

Geo

Song Performer

Geo

Song

Dominic Gerace

Carpenter

Giacomo Ghiazza

Storyboard Artist

Buddy Gilyard

Stunts

Gary Goldman

Screenplay

Jerry Goldsmith

Music

Maria Asuncion Gomez

Accounting Assistant

Scott Goodale

Carpenter

Judith Goodman

Production Coordinator

Robert Gould

Set Decorator

Allan Graf

Stunts

Jose Rodriguez Granada

Art Director

Jim Grce

Gaffer

Jim Grce

Electrician

James Green

Photography

Douglas Greenfield

Consultant

Kris Gregg

Visual Effects

Xavier Pérez Grobet

Assistant Camera Operator

Lee Grodsky

Production

Jesus Guerrero

Other

Dana Gustafson

Sound Editor

Anette Haellmigk

Camera Operator

James Hagedorn

Camera Operator

Daryl Hall

Music Editor

Kenneth Hall

Music Editor

Ed Hamilton

Stunts

George Hanson

Other

Donald Hardenburg

Carpenter

Roy Harrison

Stunts

Tracy Hauser

Production Manager

Janet Healy

Visual Effects

Scott Hecker

Dialogue Editor

Suzanne Hefner

Stunts

Erik Henry

Assistant Editor

Daniel Hermosillo

Other

Enrique Lechuga Hernandez

Other

Javier Ibarra Herrera

Assistant

Freddie Hice

Stunts

John Hock

Stunts

Marcia Holley

Stunts

Alan Howarth

Sound Effects

Mentor Hubner

Consultant

Georgie Huntington

Visual Effects

Walter Huse

Key Grip

Walter Huse

Dolly Grip

Gloria Hylton

Production

Jay Ignaszewski

Assistant Editor

Fred Iguchi

Motion Control

Dream Quest Images

Special Effects

Enrique Soto Izquierdo

Assistant

David James

Photography

Nicholas James

Sound Effects Editor

Ismael Jardon

Wardrobe

Bob Jaurequi

Stunts

Jeff Jensen

Stunts

Jeanne Joe

Other

Jess Johnson

Stunts

Rick Johnson

Other

Dave Karpman

Other

Film Details

Also Known As
Atto di Forza
MPAA Rating
Genre
Action
Thriller
Adaptation
Sci-Fi
Release Date
1990
Production Company
Heriberto Cardenas
Distribution Company
TriStar Pictures
Location
Pinewood Toronto Studios, Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Churubusco Studios, Mexico City, Mexico

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 53m

Award Wins

Best Visual Effects

1990

Award Nominations

Best Sound

1990

Best Sound Effects Sound Editing

1990

Articles

Total Recall (1990)


The labyrinthine path by how Philip K. Dick's short story "We Can Remember It For You Wholesale" (first published in The Magazine of Science Fiction and Fantasy in April 1966) became the TriStar mega-blockbuster Total Recall (1990) is nearly worthy of the author's patented brand of mind-bending science fiction. Highly regarded by his peers but a veritable unknown otherwise, the prolific and forward-looking Philip Kindred Dick existed at the poverty level before his 1968 short story "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep" was adapted by Ridley Scott for the Warner Brothers release Blade Runner (1982). Though a box office disappointment, Blade Runner alerted Hollywood to Dick's back catalogue of twisty SF tales - not that it did him any practical good, as the writer died of a heart attack at age 53 three months before the film's American premiere. Subsequent big box adaptations of Dick's works included Steven Spielberg's Minority Report (2002), John Woo's Paycheck (2003), and George Nolfi's The Adjustment Bureau (2011), while more modest efforts - among them Nikos Nikolaidis' Morning Patrol (1987) from Greece, Jérôme Boivin's Barjo (1992) from France, and Christian Duguay's Screamers (1995) from Canada - drifted in over the years from all points of the compass. Biggest of all, most expensive and most profitable, was Paul Verhoeven's Total Recall.

Though Total Recall went into production nearly a decade after Dick's death, the property had been optioned as early as 1974 by little-known screenwriter Ronald Shusett, whose claim to anything resembling fame at the time was a story credit on the Cinerama Releasing Corporation thriller W (1974), which paired Twiggy with a pre-Battlestar Galactica Dirk Benedict. Paying $1,000 for the story rights, Shusett pressed friend Dan O'Bannon into adapting "We Can Remember It For You Wholesale" for the big screen. (O'Bannon had cowritten the low budget space opera Dark Star [1974], the first feature film for director John Carpenter.) When the futuristic tale - which featured space travel and memory manipulation - began to seem to the collaborators too expensive, they shifted focus to a more modest tale of interstellar terror, which became (as fate would have it) Ridley Scott's Alien (1979). The success of Alien brought Shusett to the attention of Disney, where Total Recall found a home for a time. Eventually, the property drifted to the De Laurentiis Entertainment Group) and Rome, where maverick Italian producer Dino de Laurentiis ordered the production artwork, the construction of sets, and the cashiering of Canadian filmmaker David Cronenberg as his director.

Cronenberg stayed with Total Recall for a year, writing more than a dozen drafts of the script, scouting locations in Tunis, and bringing in Oscar-winning actor Richard Dreyfuss (though he preferred the more cerebral William Hurt) to play a mild-mannered government clerk who comes to believe he is an amnesiac secret agent embroiled in a conspiracy with intergalactic implications. He eventually parted ways with both de Laurentiis and Shusett over irreconcilable artistic differences; The Stunt Man (1980) director Richard Rush would jump ship for similar reasons. De Laurentiis then passed the property to Australian director Bruce Beresford, with Dreyfuss replaced by Dirty Dancing star Patrick Swayze. Production resumed Down Under until D.E.G. ran out of money, at which point the property was acquired by Arnold Schwarzenegger and Carolco Pictures (for whom Schwarzenegger had just headlined Red Heat [1988]) for $3,000,000. A fan of Paul Verhoeven's RoboCop (1987), Schwarzenegger tapped the Dutch expatriate to take the reins on the runaway production - an apt selection, given that Verhoeven was Shusett's director-of-choice a decade earlier, based on his 1977 film Soldier of Orange (which starred a pre-Blade Runner Rutger Hauer).

Bringing on screenwriter Gary Goldman (fresh from penning John Carpenter's Big Trouble in Little China [1986]), Verhoeven, producer Shusett, and star Schwarzenegger recrafted the tale, teasing the dry, cerebral exercise favored by Cronenberg (whose subplot of Martian mutants was nonetheless retained) toward the paradigm of an action film (Shusett's model had long been Spielberg's Raiders of the Lost Ark) in which the protagonist was changed to a brawny construction worker who fantasizes about an exciting life on Mars and pays to have that false memory implanted in his brain - only to find out the dream is reality. Setting up shop at Mexico City's Churubusco Studios in March 1989 with a budget of $50,000,000, Verhoeven put a crew of five hundred to work on forty-five sets built inside eight soundstages. Total Recall would be one of the first Hollywood films to combine live action, miniatures, matte work, and animatronics with a glazing of computer generated imagery (later branded as CGI) to seal the illusion of far-flung futurism. Cast as Schwarzenegger's duplicitous wife was newcomer Sharon Stone (star of Verhoeven's follow-up blockbuster Basic Instinct [1992]), athletic character actress Rachel Ticotin, RoboCop villain Ronny Cox (as yet another corporate rotter) and Michael Ironside, a Canadian film actor best known for his dastardly turn in Cronenberg's Scanners.

A gamble for Carolco at the price, Total Recall nonetheless earned a massive return on its investment upon release in June 1990, recouping nearly half of its production budget on opening weekend alone and garnering an Academy Award for Best Visual Effects. Despite the big numbers, interest in a sequel was low, as film franchises (even in the wake of James Cameron's Aliens [1986] and Terminator 2: Judgment Day [1991], which starred Schwarzenegger) remained an idea whose time had not yet come. It was Gary Goldman who got the ball rolling when he optioned the 1956 Philip Dick story "Minority Report," about a police agency that uses precognition to apprehend criminals before any crime has been committed, with a mind toward directing it a low budget feature. When Goldman tapped Verhoeven to executive produce, the idea was floated to reshape Minority Report as a Total Recall sequel, with Goldman demoted to writer, Verhoeven stepping in as director, and Schwarzenegger returning as the name above the title. The subsequent bankruptcy of Carolco drove the property to 20th Century Fox, where Verhoeven lost ownership of the project and all plans for Total Recall 2 were dropped in favor of Minority Report being a stand-alone feature, slated initially to be directed by Verhoeven's countryman Jan De Bont until De Bont lost favor with Fox over the failure of Speed 2: Cruise Control (1997) and The Haunting (1999).

Steven Spielberg ultimately took the reins of Minority Report, which took several more years to coalesce into a feature film starring Tom Cruise. Meanwhile), Total Recall spawned a short-lived Canadian TV series, Total Recall 2070, which ran to 22 episodes in 1999. In 2009, a feature-length remake of Total Recall was announced in the Hollywood trades, with Kurt Wimmer slated to direct. (Wimmer's previous credit was the hyper-violent futuristic cop tale Equilibrium [2002], a thinly-veiled cash-in on the widely popular The Matrix [1999].) By the time the Columbia Pictures release went before the cameras in Toronto, however, Underworld's Len Wiseman was sitting in the director's chair, with Colin Farrell playing the Schwarzenegger role and Kate Beckinsale and Jessica Biel the women in his life (and dreams). As slate gray monochromatic as Verhoeven's adaptation had been chromatically candied, Total Recall (2012) was a critical and box office nonstarter that oddly elected to jettison the Mars setting of the earlier film in favor of an exclusively earthbound narrative - a tack that had been championed years earlier by Dino De Laurentiis, who was shouted down by every director he had hired for the job.

By Richard Harland Smith

Sources: "We Can Rewrite It For You Wholesale" by David Hughes, Tales from Development Hell: The Greatest Movies Never Made? (Titan Books, 2003-2012) Total Recall: My Unbelievably True Life Story by Arnold Schwarzenegger with Peter Petre (Simon and Schuster, 2012) The Cinema of David Cronenberg: From Baron of Blood to Cultural Hero by Ernest Mathijs (Wallflower Press, 2008) Divine Invasions: A Life of Philip K. Dick by Lawrence Sutin (Da Capo Press, 2005)
Total Recall (1990)

Total Recall (1990)

The labyrinthine path by how Philip K. Dick's short story "We Can Remember It For You Wholesale" (first published in The Magazine of Science Fiction and Fantasy in April 1966) became the TriStar mega-blockbuster Total Recall (1990) is nearly worthy of the author's patented brand of mind-bending science fiction. Highly regarded by his peers but a veritable unknown otherwise, the prolific and forward-looking Philip Kindred Dick existed at the poverty level before his 1968 short story "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep" was adapted by Ridley Scott for the Warner Brothers release Blade Runner (1982). Though a box office disappointment, Blade Runner alerted Hollywood to Dick's back catalogue of twisty SF tales - not that it did him any practical good, as the writer died of a heart attack at age 53 three months before the film's American premiere. Subsequent big box adaptations of Dick's works included Steven Spielberg's Minority Report (2002), John Woo's Paycheck (2003), and George Nolfi's The Adjustment Bureau (2011), while more modest efforts - among them Nikos Nikolaidis' Morning Patrol (1987) from Greece, Jérôme Boivin's Barjo (1992) from France, and Christian Duguay's Screamers (1995) from Canada - drifted in over the years from all points of the compass. Biggest of all, most expensive and most profitable, was Paul Verhoeven's Total Recall. Though Total Recall went into production nearly a decade after Dick's death, the property had been optioned as early as 1974 by little-known screenwriter Ronald Shusett, whose claim to anything resembling fame at the time was a story credit on the Cinerama Releasing Corporation thriller W (1974), which paired Twiggy with a pre-Battlestar Galactica Dirk Benedict. Paying $1,000 for the story rights, Shusett pressed friend Dan O'Bannon into adapting "We Can Remember It For You Wholesale" for the big screen. (O'Bannon had cowritten the low budget space opera Dark Star [1974], the first feature film for director John Carpenter.) When the futuristic tale - which featured space travel and memory manipulation - began to seem to the collaborators too expensive, they shifted focus to a more modest tale of interstellar terror, which became (as fate would have it) Ridley Scott's Alien (1979). The success of Alien brought Shusett to the attention of Disney, where Total Recall found a home for a time. Eventually, the property drifted to the De Laurentiis Entertainment Group) and Rome, where maverick Italian producer Dino de Laurentiis ordered the production artwork, the construction of sets, and the cashiering of Canadian filmmaker David Cronenberg as his director. Cronenberg stayed with Total Recall for a year, writing more than a dozen drafts of the script, scouting locations in Tunis, and bringing in Oscar-winning actor Richard Dreyfuss (though he preferred the more cerebral William Hurt) to play a mild-mannered government clerk who comes to believe he is an amnesiac secret agent embroiled in a conspiracy with intergalactic implications. He eventually parted ways with both de Laurentiis and Shusett over irreconcilable artistic differences; The Stunt Man (1980) director Richard Rush would jump ship for similar reasons. De Laurentiis then passed the property to Australian director Bruce Beresford, with Dreyfuss replaced by Dirty Dancing star Patrick Swayze. Production resumed Down Under until D.E.G. ran out of money, at which point the property was acquired by Arnold Schwarzenegger and Carolco Pictures (for whom Schwarzenegger had just headlined Red Heat [1988]) for $3,000,000. A fan of Paul Verhoeven's RoboCop (1987), Schwarzenegger tapped the Dutch expatriate to take the reins on the runaway production - an apt selection, given that Verhoeven was Shusett's director-of-choice a decade earlier, based on his 1977 film Soldier of Orange (which starred a pre-Blade Runner Rutger Hauer). Bringing on screenwriter Gary Goldman (fresh from penning John Carpenter's Big Trouble in Little China [1986]), Verhoeven, producer Shusett, and star Schwarzenegger recrafted the tale, teasing the dry, cerebral exercise favored by Cronenberg (whose subplot of Martian mutants was nonetheless retained) toward the paradigm of an action film (Shusett's model had long been Spielberg's Raiders of the Lost Ark) in which the protagonist was changed to a brawny construction worker who fantasizes about an exciting life on Mars and pays to have that false memory implanted in his brain - only to find out the dream is reality. Setting up shop at Mexico City's Churubusco Studios in March 1989 with a budget of $50,000,000, Verhoeven put a crew of five hundred to work on forty-five sets built inside eight soundstages. Total Recall would be one of the first Hollywood films to combine live action, miniatures, matte work, and animatronics with a glazing of computer generated imagery (later branded as CGI) to seal the illusion of far-flung futurism. Cast as Schwarzenegger's duplicitous wife was newcomer Sharon Stone (star of Verhoeven's follow-up blockbuster Basic Instinct [1992]), athletic character actress Rachel Ticotin, RoboCop villain Ronny Cox (as yet another corporate rotter) and Michael Ironside, a Canadian film actor best known for his dastardly turn in Cronenberg's Scanners. A gamble for Carolco at the price, Total Recall nonetheless earned a massive return on its investment upon release in June 1990, recouping nearly half of its production budget on opening weekend alone and garnering an Academy Award for Best Visual Effects. Despite the big numbers, interest in a sequel was low, as film franchises (even in the wake of James Cameron's Aliens [1986] and Terminator 2: Judgment Day [1991], which starred Schwarzenegger) remained an idea whose time had not yet come. It was Gary Goldman who got the ball rolling when he optioned the 1956 Philip Dick story "Minority Report," about a police agency that uses precognition to apprehend criminals before any crime has been committed, with a mind toward directing it a low budget feature. When Goldman tapped Verhoeven to executive produce, the idea was floated to reshape Minority Report as a Total Recall sequel, with Goldman demoted to writer, Verhoeven stepping in as director, and Schwarzenegger returning as the name above the title. The subsequent bankruptcy of Carolco drove the property to 20th Century Fox, where Verhoeven lost ownership of the project and all plans for Total Recall 2 were dropped in favor of Minority Report being a stand-alone feature, slated initially to be directed by Verhoeven's countryman Jan De Bont until De Bont lost favor with Fox over the failure of Speed 2: Cruise Control (1997) and The Haunting (1999). Steven Spielberg ultimately took the reins of Minority Report, which took several more years to coalesce into a feature film starring Tom Cruise. Meanwhile), Total Recall spawned a short-lived Canadian TV series, Total Recall 2070, which ran to 22 episodes in 1999. In 2009, a feature-length remake of Total Recall was announced in the Hollywood trades, with Kurt Wimmer slated to direct. (Wimmer's previous credit was the hyper-violent futuristic cop tale Equilibrium [2002], a thinly-veiled cash-in on the widely popular The Matrix [1999].) By the time the Columbia Pictures release went before the cameras in Toronto, however, Underworld's Len Wiseman was sitting in the director's chair, with Colin Farrell playing the Schwarzenegger role and Kate Beckinsale and Jessica Biel the women in his life (and dreams). As slate gray monochromatic as Verhoeven's adaptation had been chromatically candied, Total Recall (2012) was a critical and box office nonstarter that oddly elected to jettison the Mars setting of the earlier film in favor of an exclusively earthbound narrative - a tack that had been championed years earlier by Dino De Laurentiis, who was shouted down by every director he had hired for the job. By Richard Harland Smith Sources: "We Can Rewrite It For You Wholesale" by David Hughes, Tales from Development Hell: The Greatest Movies Never Made? (Titan Books, 2003-2012) Total Recall: My Unbelievably True Life Story by Arnold Schwarzenegger with Peter Petre (Simon and Schuster, 2012) The Cinema of David Cronenberg: From Baron of Blood to Cultural Hero by Ernest Mathijs (Wallflower Press, 2008) Divine Invasions: A Life of Philip K. Dick by Lawrence Sutin (Da Capo Press, 2005)

Quotes

Trivia

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States Summer June 1, 1990

Released in United States on Video November 1, 1990

Released in United States 1990

Released in United States June 2001

Shown at Deauville Film Festival August 31 - September 9, 1990.

Shown in New York City (Anthology Film Archives) as part of program "You Asked For It: The Films of Paul Verhoeven" June 21-30, 2001.

Formerly distributed by Carolco Home Video.

Completed shooting August 23, 1989.

Began shooting March 20, 1989.

Released in United States Summer June 1, 1990

Released in United States on Video November 1, 1990

Released in United States 1990 (Shown at Deauville Film Festival August 31 - September 9, 1990.)

Released in United States June 2001 (Shown in New York City (Anthology Film Archives) as part of program "You Asked For It: The Films of Paul Verhoeven" June 21-30, 2001.)