Why You Won’t See Ethan Hawke, Mars, or Kuato in Len Wiseman’s ‘Total Recall’

By  · Published on August 3rd, 2012

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:

One noticeable difference between your adaptation and the original is no Kuato. Was it ever considered to keep him around?

I had wondered the same thing. By the time I had read the script it was already developed and there was no Mars or Kuato, and there was a lot of elements that were already decided about before. Just like you I was wondering if Kuato was going to show up. I remember reading it for the first time wondering when it was going to Mars, and I was a little disturbed realizing, “This isn’t going to Mars, at all!” I was a little concerned about it. Once I realized it wasn’t going to Mars I found myself having no idea where it was going, where I was turning the pages and seeing it as an adventure that was quite different. It was one of the reasons why I got interested.

For a film of this scope, I’m guessing having a little mutant on Bill Nighy’s chest may not be the most commercial image to have in your movie.

I would be all for it if it went to a different planet. You definitely can’t have a mutant crawl out of a guy’s chest if you’re movie takes place on Earth, and that’s the main reason. I’ll tell you, if it were to go on another planet, one person I would suspect having an alien on his chest is Bill Nighy, so I would be fine with that.

[Laughs] Pretty early on Ethan Hawke got involved in the film. Will we see that scene on the Director’s Cut?

We will see his scene. I’ve been wanting to work with Ethan for a while, so I asked him to do this experiment part, which I wanted to try to work in. It was very early on in the shoot process. I shot with him for a day. The studio was very cool about letting me give [something] a try and experiment, and there are other scenes like that. There were parts not even in the script, and the studio said, “If you can shoot and keep it in your schedule, then go for it.” I would work a way to set up a second camera, run two units at the same time, and experiment.

Make sure to check back tomorrow for a full interview with Len Wiseman.

Longtime FSR contributor Jack Giroux likes movies. He thinks they're swell.