Concept art from David Cronenberg’s unmade Total Recall


Even though there’s a new Total Recall coming out, I’m sure all of us have fond, three-breasted memories of the Paul Verhoeven version starring Arnold Schwarzenegger. Before Verhoeven, David Cronenberg was given the reins of the adaptating the film. Though the script was developed for a year, the movie was junked. Yesterday, concept art for Cronenberg’s version of Total Recall surfaced courtesy of artists Ron Miller and Judith Miller.

Cronenberg’s adaptation of Total Recall was actually mentioned in the book Tales from Development Hell by David Hughes, which we covered earlier in the year. There’s a full chapter on adapting Total Recall to the screen, as well as failed attempts to make a sequel. Apart from the tone and the style of the film, Cronenberg’s version would have had a drastically different lead — he wanted William Hurt to play Quaid.

Be sure to visit io9 for the full Cronenberg Total Recall gallery. After the cut, a brief excerpt from Tales from Development Hell about Cronenberg’s Total Recall.

[via io9]

From Tales from Development Hell:

Cronenberg recalls spending a year writing and rewriting his own version of the script on a Xerox 860 word processor. “It’s a good thing I had a computer because I did about 12 drafts in about 12 months,” he says. “I was constantly fighting with Ron Shusett [who had the film rights to the story], and meeting with him, and then at a certain point I was sitting in a room full of people, and Ron said, ‘You know what you’ve done? You’ve done the Philip K. Dick version,’ like I had done something terrible. And I said, ‘Well, yeah.’ And he said, ‘No, no, we want Raiders of the Lost Ark goes to Mars.’ And I said, ‘Well, Jeez, I wish we’d all had this discussion 12 months ago — it wouldn’t have wasted all our time!'”

Hubert Vigilla
Brooklyn-based fiction writer, film critic, and long-time editor and contributor for Flixist. A booster of all things passionate and idiosyncratic.