Comic-Con 2012 Exclusive: Is Len Wiseman’s Total Recall a Dream?

The director says he has his own take on the trippy sci-fi remake's premise. But will you be able to figure out what it is?

Fred Topelby Fred Topel


There shouldn’t be any spoilers about Total Recall. It’s a remake of a 1990 movie, so the plot already exists. In this case, the plot of the original remains a question to this day. Quaid orders a memory implant from Rekall, and then everything he asked for in the memory actually happens. So was it real or were we watching the memory he ordered?

Len Wiseman directed the 2012 Total Recall.  In a press conference at San Diego Comic Con he discussed what a fan he was of the original. He said he made a list of the 20 things he remembered from it, then rewatched it to see if those 20 things held up, and made sure they were in his version in some form.

After the press conference, we went up to Wiseman for an exclusive follow-up. We asked him if he thought the original Total Recall was real, or Quaid’s memory. “I’m never going to say because I’m so fascinated by the question of it,” Wiseman said. “I guess that’s part of what makes this idea the core of a sci-fi idea of a what if.”

In Wiseman’s movie, you can interpret it either way and he made sure you could win a bar argument whichever way you stand. “I went to great lengths to make sure that it really does add up on both ends because the ambiguity of what is real and what is not is part of the reason I’m super excited about it.”

Wiseman won’t declare himself pro-memory or pro-reality, but he definitely had to decide simply to dictate the directorial decisions he’d make on the film. Now he wants to see if we can tell which way he’s leaning by observing the film.

“I do fall on a side. Here’s the thing. I think as a director, you have to at least have a point of view that does slant at least one way or the other, [just for] all the minutiae of all the decision making that you’re doing. I do have one, so I’ll be interested if people feel that that comes across in the movie or not, but I’m keeping it to myself.”

Total Recall opens August 3.