Director Paul Verhoeven has certainly had his share of success in the science fiction genre. His sci-fi films such as RoboCop, Total Recall, and Starship Troopers have made him a cult icon, and his films ushered in a new era of science fiction movies in the late 1980s. Considering how popular his SF flicks have been, they’re also ripe for the Hollywood remake machine. We’ve already seen one in the abysmal Total Recall remake from director Len Wiseman, and we’re slated to get another one next year with Jose Padilha’s remake of Verhoeven’s 1987 classic RoboCop. Needless to say, Verhoeven is not a fan of this trend.
In an interview with the Huffington Post’s Mike Ryan, the Dutch director opens up about Hollywood’s remakes of his early films. Wiseman’s Total Recall also adapted Philip K. Dick’s short story “We Can Remember It for You Wholesale,” but the two directors’ approaches couldn’t be more different. Verhoeven succeeded in making a sci-fi classic largely by not taking the source material too seriously. Verhoeven says:
It’s too serious. They took themselves very seriously and didn’t realize that the big story is also strange. And impossible, of course. But, I felt that it was strange. I felt the movie, in some way, should not take itself too seriously. In fact, ultimately, the casting of Arnold — he was already cast before I was there. So I had to take Arnold. I liked the script already, but Arnold was playing the main part. So, take it or leave it. I said I wanted to do it with Harrison Ford, like in Blade Runner. But I might have made a mistake because Blade Runner is also very serious.