It was Die Hard in my father's workshop. And so when that opportunity came up, the possibility of doing it, it's more the teenager in me who says that, 'I have to, of course I'm going to.' So that's the fun of reinventing, or just getting involved in things that really, actually loved as a kid growing up wanting to grow up to be a director.
I had made a list of about ten things that I remembered from the original 'Total Recall' before I went back and watched. It had been about twenty years. I wanted to write it out before I watched it again. And I felt if those things stayed with me long enough, those are the things that I wanted to highlight.
The three-breasted woman was very much at the top of my list in [original 'Total recall']. Like I said, I was fourteen! I remember Arnold [Schwarzenegger] pulling that big tracker out of his nose and freaking out about that. I remember going through the immigration booth where their face splits open with that heavyset redheaded lady. So there were a lot of these little moments that I remember.
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I love helicopters. In fact, my wife and my friends, the myth of the chopper in the sky is that Len's going to stop and look at it. I love, probably, destroying them, yes. You know, It's the big elements, the big toys, the trucks the helicopters, and things like that. You have a few tools to play with.
It's more going back into, I've always been really interested in the MKULTRA program and some of the programs and the fact that we really tried to create an actual, I guess you could call it an energy force of yourself. And you know, there were test subjects that were killed during the process. It have a huge ordeal, this huge congressional hearing that shut the whole thing down.
Being a fan of science fiction, I collect a lot of science fiction art work and so if you go to my house there's like a library and you just geek out on science fiction material. A lot of the colony worlds specifically are built as a melting pot of different societies, because the world is at a point where there are only two zones that are left inhabitable.
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So I was drawing in a lot of the habit district in Brazil, put that together with an Asian influence, so there are a lot of different things in terms of architecture which assisted in the construction. Then every sci-fi movie I've grown up with from 'Blade Runner' to 'Aliens' and 'Star Wars.'"
I'm not a crazy horror fan. At that time i wasn't really looking to do something like that. But I thought to put a twist on it to put a werewolf versus vampire... 'What's the best opponent for a werewolf?' Became the idea of vampires and what about putting those two together? And ultimately it got turned down. But we loved the idea and shopped it around.
I wanted to do something that dealt with more of paranormal techniques that wasn't a horror movie. It is an action movie that deals with a special operations group. But if a Tier One team went in to take out Bin Laden today, if you had those kind of abilities, of course you would use that kind of group. And it was more going into that arena. And I wanted to make it feel more like, grounded, as if we had this ability.
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The class warfare was in the script as well. It establishes what the world is like and what would happen if we really had two zones that were left and everybody had to survive using these two areas. What would our society to do with that set up? I wanted the state of world, in my mind, how it would actually realistically unfold. I drew that from what was in the script.
LSD caused a lot of experimenting going on. And we're thinking, 'Wait a minute, what if we've got...' I always thought, 'What if some of those experiments actually had worked?' And what if they did? We probably wouldn't know that they existed. We heard that they were shut down, but we probably wouldn't be told if they succeeded.
It was practically with people with strings. There was no CG involved, it was just painfully taking Collin [Farrell] and Jessica Biel and putting them upside-down, we built the set upside-down and just try to twist perspective to make it all seem like zero gravity. And it was one of the most difficult things I've ever shot.
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I had no intention of replacing Arnold [Schwarzenegger]. There were a few things that made me want to do the movie. They were the script which had a different direction to it, and it was a chance to do a very different Quaid. I didn't read the short story until I went to college.Reading the story had a different effect on me of how I pictured him to be and the tone of the story was different. In the story, he's a bit more of an everyman.
I think that it drives from an emotional connection with everybody that pulls you through all of those events, whether it's the events or what would be more the action, or I guess the visual effects side of it. So it always starts with me from - emotionally - 'Why do you care about the people who are going through what they're going through?' Because it takes a hell of a lot to put them through that. So you better care for them when they're doing it.
I'm not saying anything that's unknown, but movies are always cut down and there's a lot of complexity within the film that is not always widely accepted by the general audience, which is just a reality; a movie of a certain size, they don't want people to be too - it's a balance of how deep to keep going with these ideas.