Tomorrow you can finally see Len Wiseman’s remake of Total Recall and judge for yourself if it was worth revisiting Paul Verhoeven’s 1990 original. While there are definitely nods to the earlier version—many of you have seen a clip featuring an updated take on the “two weeks” moment—one thing you won’t see is a cameo from Total Recall star, and former California governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger.
The idea of having Schwarzenegger, who is in the process of revamping his movie career (to which I can only reply, thank Christ! The man was a cinematic pillar of my childhood, and belongs in movies, not government), was in fact bandied about some before it was ultimately scrapped. Talking to Movie Line, Wiseman said:
There was talk about it very early on, and the kind of teenager in me fan was very tempted by it…But the further we got into production on it, I just thought it would be too gimmicky. I wanted the movie to be its own movie.
That’s a wise decision. Total Recall is a darker take on the story, almost completely devoid of humor, and such a stunt would have been more of a distraction than a boon. Wiseman says as much later in the article. As it stands, there are enough little tips of the hat to the source material that it feels acknowledged, and an icon like Schwarzenegger popping up as a lab tech or cab driver would be an awkward stumbling block.
Beyond a Schwarzenegger cameo, another gimmicky trick—this one actually filmed—was left out of Total Recall. Ethan Hawke originally had a small part.
SPOILERS—at least for those of you who haven’t seen the original Total Recall.
Hawke played Karl Hauser, the government agent who has his mind erased and wakes up as Doug Quaid (Colin Farrell). In addition to having his mind squeegeed, he also apparently had his face surgically altered. Wiseman says this scene was deleted for pacing reasons, but honestly it sounds incredibly dumb. How’s Melina (Jessica Biel) supposed to recognize him with a different face?
Schwarzenegger will blow things up on movie screens soon in The Expendables 2, as well as in The Last Stand, the English-language debut from I Saw the Devil director Kim Ji-woon.