Len Wiseman

Len Wiseman

If auteur theory is in full effect, Len Wiseman is an enigma. It’s easy to spot his work because it’s all the same, but it’s difficult to spot his work because he’s so hollow and generic. So how else would he make a reboot of The Mummy? According to Deadline Hollywood, Wiseman (Underworld, Total Recall (2012)) will be bringing his signature style to the upcoming franchise do-over from Universal. No doubt it’ll be covered in a gun metal gray patina and star Kate Beckinsale. The script comes from Jon Spaihts, whose made a name for himself with The Darkest Hour and work on Prometheus. The whole project is being overseen by Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci, who must have some sort of time device that gives them twice the amount of normal hours in a day for the sheer amount of productions they’re taking on. Both have explained the concept of the Mummy would be brought into modern times, but it’s unclear whether that means that it’ll take place in the present or if the style will reflect an update even if it’s still set in the past. No word yet on how they’ll work in skintight latex into the costuming choices.  

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Director Len Wiseman made the 21st Century remake of Total Recall we kind of expected. It’s big, flashy, and in modern remake/reboot fashion it’s also gritty & grounded. Sure Wiseman nicely packed three-breasted women into his PG-13 picture, but this isn’t a movie fit for Kuato, small prostitutes firing off machine guns, and Arnold Schwarzenegger making funny faces. There’s little room for comedy in the futuristic world Wiseman has built. Compared to his previous films, it’s the biggest sort he’s created thus far. With a budget of $125 million — which, as Wiseman points out, has been falsely reported as being $200 million — the director has also made a blockbuster about as big as one can get. That scope isn’t what drew the Underworld filmmaker, but the identity crisis at the film’s core is. Wiseman set out to make a personal detective tale which happens to be set in a big, futuristic world. Here’s what Total Recall director Len Wiseman had to say about not going big for the sake of big, the influence of The Fugitive, and how certain Roland Emmerich classics served as his film school:

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Let’s get this out of the way – there’s quite a bit different about Len Wiseman‘s remake of Paul Verhoeven‘s Total Recall. Although the film hasn’t exactly been greeted with the most pleasant of critical responses thus far, one thing you can’t criticize the film for is being a carbon copy of the 1990 film. Obviously missing is the iconic Kuato and the setting of Mars, but also absent from the film is a widely reported appearance by Ethan Hawke. Although it sounds like Wiseman’s remake lost a sizable amount of material in the editing bay – considering there is a 17-minute-longer director’s cut in the works – Mars and Kuato never even made it past the script stage. While speaking with Wiseman yesterday, he told us why there is no Mars, no appearance or mention of Kuato, and why you won’t see Ethan Hawke’s brief role in the theatrical cut:

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As the cinematic summer season winds to a close, audiences everywhere will soon get to relive the joy of memory implantation, three-boobed ladies, and governmental double-cross. No, no, it’s not The Bourne Legacy (is anyone triple-stacked in that? Let’s hope so!), it’s Len Wiseman‘s take on Total Recall. This time around, no one goes to Mars and Ahnuld is nowhere to be found, instead Colin Farrell takes over as the mystified and misplaced everyman Douglas Quaid whose fun-time mind-trip ends up with some seriously unexpected consequences. Last weekend, Beverly Hills’ own Four Seasons Hotel played host to scads of press primed to interview the Total Recall crew about such things as what they’d want Rekall to implant in their minds, what it was like working with a married couple, and how the film’s lovely lady stars stay so young-looking. Of course, there were also interesting questions asked at the junket, and director Wiseman and his stars Farrell, Jessica Biel, Kate Beckinsale, and Bryan Cranston answered those, too. And also Cranston talked about Breaking Bad for twenty minutes and we all took it in, starry-eyed. After the break, check out 21 we learned at the Total Recall junket, from how Cranston thinks BB will end, what element of the film stands out as the major difference between it and the original (hint: it’s not that the film doesn’t go to Mars), what Biel knows about the status of David O. Russell’s Nailed, and the special cameo that Wiseman built into the film […]

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Total Recall

Here we are, the downturn of one of the most hyped cinematic summers in recent memory. Now, we’ll be getting all the films the studios weren’t quite sure would make it during the May-July run. We’ll be seeing a lot of these titles over the next two weeks…two weeks…two weeks. To kick off the Gilligan’s-Island-worthy “and the rest” season is Len Wiseman‘s remake of Paul Verhoeven‘s Total Recall. Based on the book, “The Future Hates You And Will Kill Your Face” by Philip K. FunnyLastName. No, it was actually (of course) Philip K. Dick‘s ‘We Can Remember It For You Wholesale.” The basic premise is largely the same as it was in the before time, the Schwarzenegger longlong ago. A man trudging through a humdrum existence (Colin Farrell‘s Quaid), realizes he lives in futurey times and can have memories of a more exciting existences slam-packed into his brain via a company called Rekall. Trouble is that in so slam-packing, the company accidentally pops the top on a whole pickle jar of new skill sets and suggests that the life he currently knows may be a lie. The big difference of course between the original Total Recall movie and the remake is a profound reduction in the set pieces that take place on the planet Mars. That is to say, no part of the remake takes place on the planet Mars. This is where geeks like me would usually throw a conniption, or at the very least a strongly-worded hissy fit. […]

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Drinking Games

This week, Colin Farrell tries to fill Arnold Schwarzenegger’s sizeable shoes in the remake of Total Recall. If you’re not a fan of Farrell or director Len Wiseman, or if you’re just angry about a PG-13 remake of an R-rated film, why not check out Paul Verhoeven’s original? Lionsgate releases the new Blu-ray in the “Mind Bending Edition” this week, which basically means a new edition to sell the week of the remake’s release. But that shouldn’t stop you from visiting a bar in Venusville where you can drink yourself silly while watching this slice of R-rated 90s silliness.

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Total Recall

While not everyone in attendance at San Diego Comic-Con is the biggest fan of Len Wiseman, tweeting out jokes spotlighting his missing film knowledge and pedigree, it could just be jealousy that he is married to star Kate Beckinsale. That’s enough to make any man, and most women, insane with jealousy. Feelings for the director, and remakes, aside, I didn’t know what to expect from a Total Recall total remake. Would there be boobs? How many? Would there be tiny mutants? How many? Would there be bullets, explosions, and car chases? How many? We have some answers for you now.

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Earlier today, our own dapper man Nathan Adams predicted that Rian Johnson’s Looper could go down as the best action picture of the year. Now we got a trailer for another upcoming sci-fi actioner: Total Recall, which looks to give that time travel hitman tale a challenge in the trailer set piece count. Based on these trailers, if Looper is going to be 2012’s thinking man’s sci-fi picture, then Len Wiseman‘s remake shall take the honor of being this year’s most expensive ADD teen boy movie. A few months ago, Wiseman told us he wanted to make a “dangerous mind trip” with Total Recall, but, based on what Sony is selling, he really made a teenage boy’s ultimate wish-fulfillment – beautiful gals, a hunky lead as their P.O.V., robots, three-breasted ladies, and a frustrated Bryan Cranston. Take a look after the jump!

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More than a few opinions were changed about the upcoming Total Recall when that trailer hit last month. The big summer sci-fi blockbuster’s preview sold an epic scope, the chance to explore a new world, and a fresh take on Philip K. Dick‘s story. Gone was Mars, the mutants, and a body builder acting like a killing machine. What director Len Wiseman is bringing to the table is more in line with the tone of Dick’s short story: serious, heady sci-fi. Wiseman has unquestionably made a film that will contain its fair share of explosions and one-liners, but the mystery of Douglas Quaid is what piqued the Live Free or Die Hard filmmaker’s interest the most. “Who am I?” is a quintessential life question, so imagine the stakes of having to answer that while being chased down and shot at. Speaking with Wiseman, the busy director discussed his reliance on practical effects, building an entire world without too many talking heads, and the identity crisis Douglas Quaid faces.

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An adaptation of Gears of War and a remake of Escape from New York are tricky projects. The hit video game series is huge in scale, and if was translated right, it would make for a very, very hard-R picture. As for taking on John Carpenter’s cult classic, who could actually fill the shoes of Snake Plissken? Well, to answer that question, it was almost Lost‘s own Josh Holloway, a pick no sane man would disagree with. Total Recall director Len Wiseman was once attached to both projects a few years ago. While speaking with him today about his upcoming flick I had to ask what they might have been like. As it turns out, if he didn’t have his way, we could have gotten a $60m version of Gears of War starring wrestlers. Now there’s a film no fan wants to see. So what would they have been like?

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It’s fair to say the reception for the Total Recall trailer has been positive. Nathan Adams notably went over the moon for it, declaring the visuals “mind-blowing.” While that might a bit extreme, the trailer was pretty damn cool, and certainly more impressive than most skeptics were expecting. Now, courtesy of MTV, director Len Wiseman provides a commentary for the trailer, in which he discusses the world of the film, the unique opium den take on Recall, and how that one shot is an all-practical effect.

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Colin Farrell in Total Recall

When it first got announced that they were going to remake Paul Verhoeven’s action/sci-fi classic Total Recall, the collective groans of film fans could be heard the world over. If there was ever an action movie full of iconic imagery and quotable lines that didn’t need to be sullied, it was that Arnold Schwarzenegger-starring original. This remake was going to star a pipsqueak like Colin Farrell instead of a mountain of muscle like Arnie, nobody was going to be getting their asses to Mars, and there wasn’t even any confirmation that it would include a three-boobed hooker. Who needed it? Well, after watching the first full-length trailer, I’d say that anybody who’s ever been a fan of adrenaline pumping action, jaw dropping special effects, sprawling future cities, the feminine wiles of Kate Beckinsale or Jessica Biel, Bryan Cranston acting grizzled, guns, explosions, or Stormtroopers needs this movie. Check out the trailer and be blown away:

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This Sunday! There will be a thing on the Internet! That we all might be interested to see! But here is some of it now! The teaser trailer has somewhat recently become quite the en vogue way to heighten anticipation for films – throw up a few splashy title cards, dice in some scenes that could (or could not) be important to the film, bate viewers for the full trailer. It’s a fair way to market stuff, and when it works, it really works – like in this teaser trailer for Len Wiseman‘s take on Total Recall. Wiseman’s film is “inspired anew” by Philip K. Dick’s short story, “We Can Remember It For You Wholesale,” and it stars Farrell, Kate Beckinsale, Jessica Biel, and Bryan Cranston. While it’s hard to get too much of a feel for an entire production from a thirty-second spot that’s peppered with reminders to watch for the full trailer this Sunday, Wiseman’s film at least looks to be a bit more serious and hardcore than Paul Verhoeven’s 1990 film. And, of course, it appears to come complete with Farrell jumping on stuff, like, all the time. The teaser trailer won’t make you wish you had three hands, but it will certainly make you want to see more.

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So, in case you didn’t know, Len Wiseman is directing a remake of Total Recall for Sony Pictures. I know what you’re thinking, “Total Recall was a perfect film, how could they possibly remake it and not make something disappointing and stupid, especially in this age of homogenized action movies?” Well shut up you, we will have none of that negativity here in this casting rumors article. Even though Arnold Schwarzenegger is once again free to start acting, this update has Colin Farrell signed on to step into the Hauser/Quaid dynamic. So what we need is a couple of chicks for him to knock boots with. If you recall, the Paul Verhoeven classic had four big female roles. The first is the undercover secret agent playing Quaid’s doting wife. The second is his spicy space mistress Melina, who he hooks up with as part of a rebel uprising on Mars. The third is the hooker with three boobs. And the fourth is the midget hooker who blows a bunch of guys away with a machine gun. We have yet to get any word on the casting of the second two roles, but Deadline Thal has dug up some info on the process behind filling the first two.

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As Columbia Pictures moves ahead with its Total Recall Remake, it looks like the production has narrowed down its options to replace Arnold Schwarzenegger. Of course, by law, it also means that one of these lucky men will be the future governor of California. That short list includes Colin Farrell, Michael Fassbender, and Tom Hardy (who weigh as much as Arnie did combined). Frankly, they are all fine actors, and any one of them would do a great job in what promises to be a reality-bending thriller. In fact, it’s difficult to know what truly separates these men when it comes to talent. That’s a good thing, because whoever sees their eyes bulge out of their head in an oxygen-deprived atmosphere will be facing the hurdle of screenwriter Kurt Wimmer (who most recently had the decidedly uncomplex Salt and Law Abiding Citizen see screens) and the directorial mediocrity of Len Wiseman (Live Free or Die Hard, Underworld: Evolution). [THR]

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This past weekend saw the cinematic glory of Resident Evil: Afterlife pushing past security to get into your local theater even though it was moving slower than an instant replay in a curling match. The absolute atrocity of this film raises a lot of questions, but one of the first and foremost is whether or not directors should work with their spouses in a leading role. Paul W.S. Anderson, who thinks Milla Jovovich is as big an action star as Sigourney Weaver, is also married to Milla Jovovich, and while we can’t prove causation for the low marks in her performance here – we can certainly point to correlation. We can also point to 9 more husband and wife teams in order to find out if working with your legally bound significant other is really such a great idea.

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Gears of War Movie

According to the LA times, New Line’s Gears of War adaptation has stalled and is set to be re-jiggered with a lower budget and new director.

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Kate Beckinsale is contractually obligated to appear in the fourth Underworld film, according to the folks at Bloody-Disgusting. And while this move may help her career, she appears to want out.

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beckinsale-underworld-header

A fourth trip to the world of Underworld is in development. And while they don’t have a director, or a star just yet, they do have a writer.

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len-wiseman1

Roland Emmerich isn’t the only director thinking about the end of the world this year. According to THR, Underworld and Live Free or Die Hard directer Len Wiseman is also looking to put an end to humanity.

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published: 12.23.2014
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published: 12.22.2014
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published: 12.19.2014
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