Jessica Biel Interview For ‘Total Recall’
Welcome to Rekall, the company that can turn your dreams into real memories. For a factory worker named Douglas Quaid (Colin Farrell), even though he’s got a beautiful wife (Kate Beckinsale) who he loves, the mind-trip sounds like the perfect vacation from his frustrating life – real memories of life as a super-spy might be just what he needs. But when the procedure goes horribly wrong, Quaid becomes a hunted man. Finding himself on the run from the police – controlled by Chancellor Cohaagen (Bryan Cranston), the leader of the free world – Quaid teams up with a rebel fighter (Jessica Biel) to find the head of the underground resistance (Bill Nighy) and stop Cohaagen. The line between fantasy and reality gets blurred and the fate of his world hangs in the balance as Quaid discovers his true identity, his true love, and his true fate. Inspired anew by the famous short story “We Can Remember It For You Wholesale” by Philip K. Dick, ‘Totall Recall’ is directed by Len Wiseman. ‘Total Recall’ lands in cinemas August 3rd in the US and August 29th in the UK.
What themes and questions raised in ‘Total Recall’ attracted you to this project?
Jessica Biel: This script was written so well. It really, for me, feels like we’re tapping into what Phillip K. Dick’s short story was about, with issues of identity, relationship, perspective. The questions of who am I, what do I know, what do I remember, what is my reality? These kinds of themes I really like in that story and it’s running over into this story. Also, Len’s vision of it, everything that he had in his mind what this world is going to look like and how these two people are really in the midst of a tragic love story – Melina and Quaid. Quaid doesn’t even remember her. And then with Melina, she doesn’t know what he knows, or if he’s on her side. Does he remember that they love each other, that they are passionately connected? That’s what I was interested in. And how do we maintain that throughout these crazy hover car chases, wild explosions, amazing fight sequences, robots, how do we maintain that? Because that is the most important key.
What was it like working with Colin Farrell, considering the sort of dynamic your characters have through the film?
Jessica Biel: Colin has been one of the reasons that this experience has been so enjoyable. He’s inspiring to watch work. He’s just constantly doing something different, surprising me, surprising himself, wanting to push himself. I find his performances just continually layered and complicated and complex and interesting. We were constantly helping each other along, he was a great partner to go through all the experiences we did with our characters in the film. He’s also just fun and funny (laughs). It was enjoyable to spend everyday literally stuck in a car with him, or jumping from the roof of a building on a wire, hanging upside down for a zero gravity scene. He’s silly, he doesn’t make it too serious, and we laughed all the time. Its been pretty wonderful collaborating with him. And Colin, he’s into the stunt work like I am, he thinks its cool, we were doing Parkour together, learning that technique.
How did you find the physicality that this role entailed, all the stunt work?
Jessica Biel: You know, you never really understand fully how much physicality a role will be when you read a script like this. Yes it’s on the page, yes you know exactly what you’re getting into, but it doesn’t REALLY sink in with how hard it’s going to be, how challenging, how exhausting things will be. Things that you don’t think about, for example: trying to fly and shoot the machine guns in this amazingly futuristic helicopter that we had….REALLY exhausting (laughs). Trying to fake the shake of two huge machine guns, your arms are on fire, your sweating bullets, your exhausted from it. You don’t even think about what that’s going to be like when you’re reading the script. You just get excited about it, you talk to Len, you see the visuals, you see the pre-vis, you think it looks incredible, and just want to be a part of it.
Was there a particular scene you found the most challenging? The stunts and the physical nature of the work, that seems to exhilarate you….
Jessica Biel: Definitely. I’ve always had an attraction to these kind of roles, getting into stunt work, doing a lot of my own things in films that I can do. I like the physicality of it. I like pushing myself to a point of extreme tension physically, I like that kind of challenge. I mean, literally, every other day, we’re hanging upside down on a wire, getting pinched in all areas, floating upside down, getting yanked and firing a gun – that was all really cool. And the most challenging thing, there was this one jump that Colin and I had to do. We were on a harness and we were on a wire, but they pulled us up about 50 feet in the air and they just dropped us down to a sort of padded platform, so it was safe. But that was so exhilarating, being hung up 50 feet in the air and just looking down and going, “Oh my God, we’re literally just going to drop!” It was like a thrilling, crazy rollercoaster feeling. And it was terrifying, but a good terrifying (laughs).
How was it filming the fight scene with Kate Beckinsale?
Jessica Biel: Kate and I, we had a great time doing the fight scene. It was very weird at first because we’re not used to fighting against another woman, so we were both very nervous and a little bit uncomfortable about the fact that we could possibly make a mistake and accidentally hit the other person. Which we didn’t, luckily (laughs). But it was funny because we were constantly apologising to each other. It was the most polite fight you’ve ever seen if you saw the outtakes or if you were there during filming, it was very tough because we were so polite with each other (laughs). We had a very good time doing it.
What it like working with director Len Wiseman on his vision?
Jessica Biel: He’s very clear about what he needs, I think he was editing in his brain as he went along. He knows what kind of spectrum we need to stay within so that he can play in the editing room and find out which tone is going to work best. For me, so much of it is his confidence of his vision; what he needs, what he doesn’t need? And keeping Colin Farrell and my characters storyline gelled together constantly. That’s really the most important piece of this movie. Every other piece is highly highly important, but that is the piece. And since he knew that, I felt comfortable with that.
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