Arnold Schwarzenegger hated the first Total Recall trailer. Schwarzenegger and director Paul Verhoeven got along famously while developing and ultimately making the 1990 sci-fi epic. In new interviews talking about their experiences, the two do not run out of great things to say about the experience of working together over 30 years ago now. But, they did run into a problem when the studio released their own trailer for the movie.
TriStar Pictures took it upon themselves to release the first Total Recall trailer and it was a bomb, to say the least. None of the story is really teased and the same can be said for the special effects, which were revolutionizing at the time. Arnold Schwarzenegger was furious about the blunder. He had this to say about getting the trailer done right.
“It looks like a $20 million movie in this trailer. It’s like a $50 million movie. Which in those days is a huge budget. I said to Peter [Guber]-I knew him well-‘Peter, you’ve got to help me with this. I know you’ve got your hands full now taking over a studio and all this, but here’s a movie where you guys could make a lot of money. And I said, ‘They’re not really getting what the story is and how to sell it.'”
In the end, they were able to get it right for the second Total Recall trailer and the movie went on to become a box office success all over the world. “I’m a big believer in good directors,” Arnold Schwarzenegger says while talking about the movie’s success. “Because if they are really on, then the movie’s going to be on.” Paull Verhoeven went on to praise the actor, stating, “He’s the soul of the movie. Before shooting, during shooting, and after shooting.”
When it came time for the post-production process, the director and actor switched places. Arnold Schwarzenegger took over the publicity while Paul Verhoeven sat back to learn. “For Arnold and I, we got exactly what we wanted,” Verhoeven says. “Without me trying.” Everything was set up on a handshake deal. “We shook hands, Arnold and I, and said, ‘We’re going to do this,'” Verhoeven says. “And that was it. No talk about money or anything.”
Paul Verhoeven goes on to greater detail in the Total Recall interviews, especially about wanting to give the three-breasted prostitute more breasts. He was later overruled and made one of the most memorable scenes in the movie at the same time. When it comes down to it, Total Recall sounds like making the movie was a great time with two new collaborators who were willing to put in the work to ensure they had a success on their hands. You can check out the rest of the lengthy interview with Arnold Schwarzenegger and Paul Verhoeven over at The Ringer. You can see the original trailer below.