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Total Recall Could Have Been Very Different

The movie Total Recall was released nationwide 25 years ago today. It was based on the Philip K. Dick story “We Can Remember It For You Wholesale,” which went through quite a few changes on its way to the silver screen. For example, can you imagine Richard Dreyfuss as the lead instead of Arnold Schwarzenegger?

5. THE QUAID/HAUSER CHARACTER WENT THROUGH AN IMAGE OVERHAUL.

Producer De Laurentiis’ initial vision of the film’s hero Douglas Quaid (originally named “Quail”)/Carl Hauser was decidedly more in line with Dick’s short story: A schlubby office drone who dreams of a more exciting life. With this characterization in mind, his first choice for the part was Richard Dreyfuss. Over time, the desired machismo of the film’s leading man increased, prompting suggestions like William Hurt (courtesy of Cronenberg) and Patrick Swayze.

6. AT FIRST, ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER WAS TURNED DOWN FOR BEING TOO MANLY.

Despite the gradual growth of Quaid’s imagined virility, there was a limit to how far De Laurentiis was willing to stray from the original character. He insisted that someone like Arnold Schwarzenegger was out of the question for the part and even turned down the Terminator star when Schwarzenegger expressed interest in the role.

But Schwarzenegger still wanted the role, and he took advantage of his growing clout in Hollywood to get it. Find out how that happened, and other trivia about Total Recall on its 25th anniversary, at mental_floss.  


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