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Concept Art From David Cronenberg’s Abandoned ‘Total Recall’ Unearthed

Written by on May 3, 2012 

Despite Len Wiseman providing his take this summer, there is another version of Total Recall that was out in the ether. Before Paul Verhoeven took over, David Cronenberg worked for about a year on an adaptation of Philip K. Dick’s short story We Can Remember it For You Wholesale. Having written twelve different drafts before failing out with producers Dino De Laurentiis and Ronald Shusett, concept art was even developed. Today, we have our first look at some of these pieces thanks to i09.

Artist Ron Miller and his wife Judith worked on the film in DiLaurentiis’ Rome studio with production designer Pierluigi Basile and now we can see a batch of these images. They mention that Cronenberg’s version would have been less of an “over-the-top adventure” and more like the original source. See some pictures below, along with a blurb about some of Cronenberg’s intentions.

What eventually became Pyramid Mountain in the Verhoeven version was originally a prehistoric Martian sphinx excavated from the Martian desert, and a good deal more screen time was have been allotted to Kuato, including an elaborate dream sequence where he morphed first into the sphinx and then into a kind of phosphorescent vagina. Cronenberg had some very Cronenberg touches, such as agents with guns hidden within their bodies, but absolutely my favorite idea of all those we came up with was to have camels imported from earth to haul freight across the Martian deserts. This would, of course, have been after significant terraforming had already been done…but not so much that the camels didn’t have to wear respirators!

Check out the rest of the photos on io9.

Which version would you prefer? Do you like Cronenberg’s design?

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