a) The P K Dick challenge
For Ron Shusett, adapting a Philip K Dick story for a movie prevented a challenge. Dick was so brilliant with his set up, he painted the reader into a corner, but there was barely a second and there was no ending, and if one didn't match up his brilliance with the third act, the audience is going to be disappointed. So one has to go to extreme length, talent and luck to come up with an ending that's worthy of Dick's brilliant set up.
b) Discovering We Can Remember It For You Wholesale
The original Total Recall was called We Can Remember It For You Wholesale. Ron always read Galaxy and Fantasy Science Fiction and in the latter, it appeared as a 23 page short story. It was the first story that knocked him right out which he knew would make an incredible movie although one that was very expensive. He optioned that for $1000 up front.
c) Discovering his co-writer
He then became aware of Dan O'Bannon's work afterwards, and went to meet Dan who had just graduated USC, and was 28 years then. (See: Alien: Memory Surfaces)
- Ron Shusett: The other Philip Dick movies all failed for one reason. He’s so brilliant with his set up, he paints you into a corner, he has no ending, there’s barely a second act, and if you don’t match his brilliance with a third act the audience is disappointed. You have to go to extreme length, talent and luck, and come up with an ending that’s worthy of his brilliant set up. That’s why it took six years to get a third act! (movieline.com /colin-farrell-total-recall-remake-paul-verhoeven-arnold-schwarzenegger/ August 27, 2012)
- Ron Shusett: The original Total Recall was called we can remember it
for you wholesale. It appeared in one of those magazines, I always used
to read Galaxy and Fantasy Science Fiction, and it appeared there in a
23 page short story. This was the first story that knocked me right out
which I knew would make an incredible movie , a movie incredibly
expensive. I optioned that for a $1000 up front. I became aware of Dan
O'Bannon's movie afterwards. I went to meet Dan, he had just graduated
USC. He was 28 then, he said "Look i think we can work together" and we
launched in full speed trying to make Total Recall, and everybody said
"No, it's too expensive"