Why does all of this warrant mentioning? Because director Len Wiseman ('Underworld,' 'Die Hard 4') and producer Neal Moritz (everything from 'Prom Night' to 'Green Lantern') have a list for the lead role in their remake of Paul Verhoeven's beloved, at least on this end, 1990 sci-fi flick about implanted memories and shoot outs on Mars, 'Total Recall.' There are some more than capable actors they're considering to spearhead the role that once went to Arnold Schwarzenegger, but at the top of the short list is Colin Farrell. It's an interesting choice for a number of reasons.
Colin Farrell isn't exactly the box office draw he once was. Around the time of 'Minority Report,' 'Phone Booth,' 'S.W.A.T.' and 'Alexander,' Farrell seemed like he was on track to be Hollywood's go-to guy when they needed a leading man that is both handsome and exceedingly talented. Around the mid-2000s, however, Farrell began seeking out more passion-based projects than high profile studio films. That may no longer be the case, however, as he's set to appear in the ensemble comedy 'Horrible Bosses' as well as play a crucial role in the 'Fright Night' remake. So, should Farrell end up in the role, 'Total Recall' would certainly be the actor's biggest reintroduction to pop culture thus far.
That speaks to what kind of a mindset this new 'Total Recall' has. They want a leading man who is recognizable to audiences, but who doesn't have a ton of other blockbusters on the horizon (which is why they're also considering Tom Hardy and Michael Fassbender). Sure, cynics will say that's a sign the studio simply wants to save money by not going for a Will Smith or a Robert Downey Jr., but an optimist can certainly see it as an intent to shape a film that has a distinct identity and that isn't immediately associated with other reboots or similarly intentioned tent pole films, whilst also trying to distance itself from the muscle bound image of Schwarzenegger.
Of course, there are more important variables to consider than who is cast as the lead actor when it comes to getting excited about this new 'Total Recall' to begin with. Len Wiseman has made a career out of making relatively safe, audience friendly blockbusters. The same can be said of producer Neil Moritz, whose company (ironically titled Original Film) is handling the remake. Plus, screenwriter Kurt Wimmer can be hit-and-miss. When he's on fire, he can deliver memorable action films like 'Equilibrium' and 'Salt.' When he's not, more generic affairs like 'Law Abiding Citizen' and 'Street Kings' happen. And when he's really left to his own wits, 'Ultraviolet' happens-- and that's no fun for anyone.
And what a 'Total Recall' remake (or readaptation, if you're feeling generous, of Philip K. Dick's story 'We Can Remember it For You Wholesale') needs to be is fun. It's an adventure that's all about the fantasy of being involved in a larger than life story. It's got Mars and mutants and aliens and three-breasted women in it. People want to see that same, deliriously weird spirit maintained. Farrell is certainly adept at balancing humor and drama, perhaps more so than the other two gents on the list. Let's just hope the studio makes an actual offer at some point and stops daydreaming about it.