Exclusive: Columbia Eyeing Colin Farrell for ‘Total Recall’ Remake

As the Irish actor’s career resurgence continues, he’s being considered for lead roles in big-budget studio movies again


It has been a long, hard road back to Hollywood's A-list for Colin Farrell since the actor's promising career was derailed by the box office failure of "Miami Vice," which took in a disappointing $63 million stateside despite a production budget of $135 million.

Since that learning experience, the Irish heartthrob has conquered his personal demons and done some of his finest work in smaller films such as Woody Allen's "Cassandra's Dream," Gavin O'Connor's "Pride and Glory," Terry Gilliam's "The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus," Danis Tanovic's "Triage," Neil Jordan's "Ondine," Scott Cooper's "Crazy Heart" and Martin McDonagh's "In Bruges" (for which Farrell deservedly won a Golden Globe for Best Actor in a Comedy or Musical).

Farrell is in the midst of a career resurgence, and he has two more highly-anticipated dramas in the can — Peter Weir's "The Way Back," for which he's been earning Oscar buzz, and the crime film "London Boulevard," which marks the directorial debut of Oscar-winning screenwriter William Monahan ("The Departed").

Farrell recently wrapped supporting roles in two very different studio films — New Line's dark comedy "Horrible Bosses" and DreamWorks' 3D remake of the '80s cult classic "Fright Night," in which he'll play the currently-in-vogue role of a sexy vampire opposite star Anton Yelchin and Toni Collette.

So when will we see Farrell star front-and-center in a studio film again? It could be sooner than you think.

TheWrap has learned that Farrell is high on a list of actors being considered for the lead role in Sony "Total Recall" remake, which Len Wiseman ("Live Free or Die Hard") is directing from a script by Kurt Wimmer ("Salt"). Neal H. Moritz is producing the movie through his company Original Films.

With Farrell's star back on the rise and awards buzz growing louder for his performance as a Russian ruffian in "The Way Back," he's in line to receive a multitude of offers (especially if he receives an Oscar nomination), and Columbia would be wise to jump on the bandwagon early.

Few stars have the lethal combination of good looks, quick wit, buffed physique and acting chops that Farrell does, not to mention his international appeal. While Oliver Stone's "Alexander" flopped in the U.S., it took in $133 million at the foreign box office. Farrell is also recognizable to action and sci-fi audiences, as "Minority Report," "Daredevil" and "S.W.A.T." all grossed over $100 million domestically.

With sci-fi back in vogue (witness the Best Picture nominations for "Avatar and "District 9" last year, plus the rebirth of "Star Trek"), "Total Recall" is a hot property that could turn out to be a big hit for Columbia, provided the studio casts the right leading man.

Farrell has really impressed me with his work of late, so if Columbia does decide to offer him the lead, the remake could be on track to surpass the well-regarded original, at least in terms of the performances.

Paul Verhoeven's 1990 sci-fi/action film starred Arnold Schwarzenegger and was a loose adaptation of Philip K. Dick's "We Can Remember It for You Wholesale," but the contemporized remake will hew closer to the author's original short story.

Farrell is represented by CAA.