The list of films David Cronenberg could have, but didn’t, direct is almost as impressive as his actual filmography. In addition to what would have been a legendary reimagining of Frankenstein, Cronenberg was courted for Return of the Jedi, Top Gun, and Alien: Resurrection. It’s an impressive list for sure, but ultimately, objectively, I think we can all agree it’s a good thing Cronenberg took a pass on these projects. There was another film, though, that the Canadian director waded hip deep into before being told the producers were looking for something more in line with Raiders of the Lost Ark; that film is Total Recall.
Total Recall, based on a novella by Phillip K. Dick, was ultimately directed by Paul Verhoeven and released in 1990. The Arnold Schwarzenegger-propelled sci-fi thriller was a hit; I have found memories of seeing Total Recall more than once in theaters during its initial run. Still, one has to wonder about what could have been, as Cronenberg’s skills are especially suited to the story featuring alternate realities, mutants, and espionage.
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Fortunately, being passed over for Total Recall allowed Cronenberg to concentrate on a project more dear to his heart and more enduring to horror fans: His remake of 1958’s The Fly. Still, the concept art developed during the year he spent developing Recall is absolutely stunning and deserves to be seen. The scope and grandeur are striking, quintessentially Cronenbergian! Have a look at some of my favorites, and see even more over at DangerousMinds.net, HERE.
One more thing to chew on: Cronenberg wanted William Hurt to play Douglas Quaid/Hauser. I’m not saying Schwarzenegger didn’t kill it, but one can only imagine the nuanced performance a more studied actor like Hurt might have delivered.
What do you think of the concept art for Cronenberg’s Total Recall? Would you have liked to see his version of We Can Remember It For You Wholesale or did Verhoeven nail it? Let’s talk in the Comments section!