*EDIT 6:17 pst – I just got a phone call from Len Wiseman clarifying his stance on the “Iconic Characters” portion of our conversation. He doesn’t want you to get too excited about Kuato coming back or anything like that. Turns out he was referring to “Iconic Moments” more than he was “Iconic Characters”.
With Underworld: Awakening 3D hitting theaters today and interest in Total Recall beginning to pick up in anticipation of its release this summer – today was just as good as any to hop on the phone with Len WIseman. While he was too busy directing Recall to tackle Awakening, he still definitely wears his producer cap in the Underworld franchise.
We spoke a little about the future of the Underworld franchise before going into some detail on Total Recall itself. Details on the latter have been kept unusually scarce so it was nice to get some fresh updates right from the horse’s mouth. His redo also stars Colin Farrell, Bryan Cranston, Kate Beckinsale, Jessica Biel, Bokeem Woodbine, Ethan Hawke and Bill Nighy. It’s set for release on August 3rd, 2012.
And you’re caught up on the synopsis for the remake, right? It “ditches the Martian storyline from the original pic and instead involves nation states Euromerica and New Shanghai, with Douglas Quaid (Farrell), a factory worker in the latter who begins to believe he is a spy — although he doesn’t know for which side.”
We also talk vaguely about the end of Underworld: Awakening – so slight spoilers ahead!
Hit the jump for some excerpts from our chat!So after this fourth installment, where do you see Underworld going from here? “I don’t really think about it like that. I never thought there would really be a fourth one. Initially there was always just the hope of a trilogy if the first film did okay. When you’re developing the overall idea of a concept like this there’s ideas that come about where you just don’t have the ability to work a certain angle into the current film. Even with ‘Rise Of The Lycans’ there’s plenty of that that I actually planned on putting in the original ‘Underworld’. But we couldn’t afford it. We didn’t have the money or the schedule”
“With this one we had discussed the idea of a hybrid child. The idea has been so forbidden, what would it actually look like?”
But the ending of Awakening suggests a pursuit for Michael. If you did do it would you be pursuing a family dynamic between Michael, Selene and Eve? “At one time there was an angle that went into Michael’s story, but ultimately it distracted from the mother/daughter dynamic of Underworld”
How’s post on Total Recall going? “I’m just about wrapping up my directors cut. Producers and editors are tapping their feet as I’m on this phone call. I’m right in the thick of it. I turn it in in about four days.”
This one doesn’t use Mars. It uses two Earthbound nation states. When I spoke to Kate a few weeks ago she said this one would be a bit more serious. “I love the original. It exists in a tone that works in that era. It’s a bit more of a serious tone, still a hell of a lot of fun though. But it’s a bit more into the cerebral dilemma that Quaid finds himself faced with.”
“I always loved the idea of Recall itself does. Whether it takes you to Mars or a tropical island or a different section of a futuristic earth. It’s more about the dilemma that sets up. In the Philip K. Dick story he never physically goes to Mars. It’s a choose your own adventure book in your mind. So this chooses a different adventure because we’ve all seen that one and we already love it. That concept of Recall allows you to do any experience. I thought it would be great to do another experience of that.”
Any favorite moments you can’t wait to share? “I loved shooting the confrontation scene where everything comes into play. Where all the cards are on the table and we’re trying to answer if we’re in a fantasy or in reality. I love the scenes that deal with that question. So shooting the scene where you’re really having that argument was a lot of fun.”
Colin Farrell has been taking a lot of interesting roles lately outside of the action spectrum. Do you feel he brings a certain depth to this action role? “I could not be happier with the guy. It was the perfect blend of the emotion and depth I was hoping for, as well as the action star he aspect he brings to it. He’s a great action star, but the reason you care about him is because he has such a vulnerability. Such a soulful nature. You’re onboard with the action. I grew up watching Harrison Ford’s action films and you like him because you feel like you might be that way in a certain situation. He’s relatable and has an ability to show vulnerability while being tough at the same time. Which is quite difficult to do.”
There were some pretty iconic moments and characters like Johnny Cab and the characters on Mars in the first one. Are any of them returning? “Some of them [the moments] are. I couldn’t do this film without having some of those. As a fan of the original I would be disappointed if there weren’t a few things in there. But I never like to copy moments, so there are shifts in perspectives on some of those. I don’t step on the ones from the original, but I have fun acknowledging that we all love some of those moments. As I do.”