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No Difference Between Flesh & Cloth
May 3, 2012 7:32 AM   Subscribe

"I've put together a small collection of this preproduction art, along with a few of Judith's models, to illustrate a little of what [David Cronenberg's] Total Recall might have been..."
posted by griphus (50 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite

 
I never new Cronenberg was involved in Total Recall. I can't help but think that his take on it (or on any PKD story for that matter) would have been awesome.
posted by dortmunder at 8:00 AM on May 3, 2012


This is great! Thanks for the link. He was also offered Top Gun at one point, which I bizarre to think about.
posted by brundlefly at 8:14 AM on May 3, 2012


Argh. Yes, I bizarre to think about.
posted by brundlefly at 8:15 AM on May 3, 2012 [3 favorites]


Honestly, the idea of David Cronenberg's Top Gun hurts my head to the point where I bizarre too.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 8:16 AM on May 3, 2012 [3 favorites]


There's a decent sized chapter on it in Tales From Development Hell - basically everything you might assume came from Cronenberg came from Cronenberg, including the pill scene. Oh, and though the ending is deliberately ambiguous just about everyone involved seems to come down on the side of "Dream".
posted by Artw at 8:16 AM on May 3, 2012


dortmunder, Cronenburg apparently wrote 12 scripts and insisted that William Hurt should play the lead. They were rejected by original director Ron Shusett, who had instead envisioned "Raiders of the Lost Ark goes to Mars."

So Cronenberg went on to do The Fly. If he'd stayed to do Total Recall, Tim Burton would have done The Fly and both films would likely have been completely different than the incarnations we finally wound up with.
posted by zarq at 8:17 AM on May 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


And ultimately what happened was, after doing a year’s worth of work — writing ten to twelve drafts myself, I finally handed the last draft to Ron Shusett and I said, “here, I think we have it, this is it.” And he said, “well, you know what you’ve done?” And I said, ”what?” And he said, “you’ve done the Philip K. Dick version.” And I said, “well isn’t that what we wanted?“ And he said, “no, we wanted Raiders of the Lost Ark Go to Mars.” And I said, “well it’s too bad we didn’t talk about that earlier because we could have saved ourselves a lot of trouble!” (from the 3rd link of the FPP)
Oh, Hollywood.
posted by Zed at 8:17 AM on May 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


In the David Cronenberg version of Top Gun the planes are literally giant penises.
posted by Artw at 8:21 AM on May 3, 2012 [7 favorites]


The three boobed lady stays in the picture.
posted by TheRedArmy at 8:26 AM on May 3, 2012 [3 favorites]


So Cronenberg went on to do The Fly. If he'd stayed to do Total Recall, Tim Burton would have done The Fly and both films would likely have been completely different than the incarnations we finally wound up with.

I'm not sure I like the idea of Tim Burton directing The Fly. It would have probably turned into a campy homage to the original complete with a giant ridiculoud fly-headed monster in a suit. Maybe everything worked out for the best.
posted by dortmunder at 8:31 AM on May 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


In the David Cronenberg version of Top Gun the planes are literally giant penises.

Naw, the pilots' genitals slowly begin to become more and more ...machine like until the infamous gas-pump-daisy-chain sequence.
posted by The Whelk at 8:47 AM on May 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


Naw, the pilots' genitals slowly begin to become more and more ...machine like until the infamous gas-pump-daisy-chain sequence.

Now we're two steps away from a Matthew Barney movie.
posted by mykescipark at 8:51 AM on May 3, 2012


Tetsuo: The Top Gun
posted by griphus at 8:59 AM on May 3, 2012 [3 favorites]


I'm not sure I like the idea of Tim Burton directing The Fly.

Goldblum did such an incredible job transforming into that monster, it just wouldn't have been as freaky with Johnny Depp.
posted by buriednexttoyou at 9:23 AM on May 3, 2012


I would love a peek into the alternate universe where Cronenberg made this movie and Jodorowsky made 2001.

I don't want to live there necessarily, just have a look-see.
posted by lumpenprole at 9:28 AM on May 3, 2012


I still wonder what Cronenberg's "Return of the Jedi" would have looked like, but "Total Recall"...
I have new weirdnesses to think about.
posted by Mister Moofoo at 9:31 AM on May 3, 2012


Artw: "In the David Cronenberg version of Top Gun the planes are literally giant penises."

So, not far off the final product then?

dortmunder: "So Cronenberg went on to do The Fly. If he'd stayed to do Total Recall, Tim Burton would have done The Fly and both films would likely have been completely different than the incarnations we finally wound up with."

Oh, man. I think a Burton-directed Fly would have just been campy and ultimately forgettable. Plus, I'd probably have a different nickname. And we can't be having that.
posted by brundlefly at 9:36 AM on May 3, 2012


I still wonder what Cronenberg's "Return of the Jedi"...

That was Lynch.
posted by griphus at 9:39 AM on May 3, 2012


I think Cronenberg was considered as well.
posted by brundlefly at 9:42 AM on May 3, 2012


Shit, they should have got Jodorowsky in as well, it would have been great.
posted by Artw at 9:45 AM on May 3, 2012


I still wonder what Cronenberg's "Return of the Jedi"...


Two words: Ewok. Meatguns
posted by dubold at 9:45 AM on May 3, 2012


Oh, and the speech has to stay.
posted by Artw at 9:46 AM on May 3, 2012


Wait, really? I'd never heard that. I think we should just go back in time and do some sort of Director Shuffle:

Stanley Kubrick's Return of the Jedi
David Cronenberg's 2001: A Space Odyssey
Alejandro Jodorowosky's Videodrome
David Lynch's Alien
posted by griphus at 9:48 AM on May 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


Rdiley Scott's El Topo?
posted by Artw at 9:49 AM on May 3, 2012


James Cameron's El Topo
posted by griphus at 9:51 AM on May 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


There's a Kim Newman Diogenes Club story, Swellhead, where a bit of a parralel universe turns up on a remote scottish island. One of the artifacts that is found there is Ray Bradbury's novel of 2001 A Space Odessey. I *want* that book.
posted by Artw at 9:52 AM on May 3, 2012


El Topopinator.
posted by Artw at 9:52 AM on May 3, 2012


Sam Peckinpah's El Topo, duh.
posted by lumpenprole at 10:05 AM on May 3, 2012


Oh, man. I think a Burton-directed FlyANYTHING would have just been campy and ultimately forgettable.
posted by Fizz at 10:07 AM on May 3, 2012


Alejandro Jodorowsky's Straw Dogs
posted by griphus at 10:08 AM on May 3, 2012


Stanley Kubrick's Jaws Please make this happen.
posted by Fizz at 10:08 AM on May 3, 2012


David Lynch's Alien

Wow, everyone in the theater is throwing up! EVERYONE!
posted by The Whelk at 10:11 AM on May 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


Michael Bay's Solaris.
posted by cortex at 10:25 AM on May 3, 2012 [3 favorites]


Andrey Tarkovskiy's Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen
posted by griphus at 10:26 AM on May 3, 2012 [3 favorites]


David Cronenberg's My Neighbor Totoro
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 10:40 AM on May 3, 2012


Stanley Kubrick's Tootsie
posted by The Whelk at 10:43 AM on May 3, 2012


Can I just say, there's so much great PKD, and despite how many movies have been made of it, very little of the Hollywood product shows much of PKD's sensibility? Bladerunner yes, surely, and A Scanner Darkly, but the rest, at least that I've seen, has kind of been lost in translation.
posted by newdaddy at 10:44 AM on May 3, 2012


Hayao Miyazaki's Breakin' 2: Electric Boogaloo.
posted by cortex at 10:44 AM on May 3, 2012 [3 favorites]


Crispin Glover's The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants
posted by griphus at 10:45 AM on May 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


TBH I'm suprised Minority Report gets the props it does - that's far more clearly a PKD story hollowed out to put in a generic Hollywood SF movie in than Total Recall is.
posted by Artw at 10:47 AM on May 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


(Also, like Paycheck, they take a short story that's essentially a clever little brainteaser and fuck it up with a different ending)
posted by Artw at 10:48 AM on May 3, 2012


Total Recall is my second or third favorite Schwarzenegger movie (depending on how I'm feeling about Terminator vis a vis Terminator 2 on any given day). That said, as much as I enjoyed the version of the movie that was made, I think I would have loved the Cronenberg version even more. I'm certainly drooling over the concept art.

Also, George Lucas' Videodrome
posted by Joey Michaels at 1:36 PM on May 3, 2012


Fellini's 8 Mile.

TBH I'm suprised Minority Report gets the props it does

I think it gets props mostly for looking really great and being a competently made scifi thriller flick without any super obvious camp/cheese. Much as I am fond of Total Recall in a lot of ways, I'm fond of it as a silly Schwarzenegger flick that doesn't feel any more like a Dick story than Minority Report did but was a whole lot more cheeseball.

I mean, they're both movies based on Dick stories that managed not to seem like they were made by people who read those stories particularly carefully if at all. I think the reactions they get are a product mostly of their presentation as things unto themselves, and one of them is a lot more like The Running Man than the other is.
posted by cortex at 1:48 PM on May 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


The Running Man was a Stephen King story. Also totally changed. It's kind of weird that the movies Total Recall and The Running Man seem like they could be from the same author.
posted by BurnChao at 10:55 AM on May 4, 2012


I would totally read everything by that author.
posted by Artw at 12:06 PM on May 4, 2012


"The man in the high castle fled across the desert, and the dopeslinger followed."
posted by griphus at 12:10 PM on May 4, 2012


Yeah, just to be clear, I know The Running Man is an SK story, not a PKD story. That's why I think it's so striking, as you say, how much those films feel like they're of a piece. Like there was some paperback writer in the early 80s writing out The Adventures Of Arnold Schwarzenegger In Future Dystopia and having a wildly successful film adaptation sideline as a result.

As a fan of the King story I'm actually pretty unhappy with what The Running Man ended up as as a film, for a lot of the same reasons that I end up kind of unhappy about what happens to most Dick stories that get adapted, but I'm right there with Artw on being interested in reading the actual alternate-universe source material those films are uberfaithful adaptations of.
posted by cortex at 12:15 PM on May 4, 2012


Total Recall was in development hell for a very long time and went through a lot of very different visions. At one point Richard Dreyfus was supposed to star as a more Walter Mitty-esque Quaid in a sort of light comedy take on it.

But casting Arnold Schwarzenegger changes everything. On a totally separate but oddly similar note, James Cameron originally envisioned the Terminator as an ordinary looking guy, someone you wouldn't look at twice until he suddenly stepped out of the crowd and killed you. Lance Henrikson was going to play the part - there's even concept art floating around that Cameron did of Henrikson in the famous half human face, half metal skull picture.

But putting Schwarzenegger in the part ruled that out, so the Terminator became someone you notice immediately. He just really doesn't give a damn whether you see him coming, or what might be between you, or much of anything else. It's a fairly unusual example of the casting itself forcing the underlying story to change in a way that dramatically improves it.
posted by Naberius at 1:21 PM on May 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


The Strange Creatures that Cronenberg’s Total Recall Would Have Included
posted by Artw at 11:38 PM on May 11, 2012


Terminator three has a 45 minute dialog scene between Nick Stahl and Claire Danes where essentially, nothing happens. We also have a 45 minute dialog-free moment in Castaway.

Let's play one with the other and see what we get. I'm sure it's no Dark Side of the Moon / Wizard of Oz but it would make Castaway a more interesting movie. The Skynet chip from Terminator 1 is somehow in the FedEx box?
posted by Monkey0nCrack at 4:37 PM on May 29, 2012


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