Len Wiseman’s Total Recall is not only a film that stands on it’s own but also creates new worlds with strong female characters. Jessica Biel portrays Melina, Quaid’s (Colin Farrell) true love and rebel fighter. We had the opportunity to get an exclusive interview Jessica Biel. We spoke about her involvement in this film, being a fan of the original, if she considers herself an action star and if she wouldn’t mind playing a comic book character, her late night brainstorms with Len Wiseman and Colin Farrell while shooting, and if she would work with Justin Timberlake in the future.
How did you get involved in this film?
Jessica Biel: Initially I heard about it when I spoke to Len Weisman who showed me a bunch of visuals and gave me a little bit of a heads up of what he was looking to do. Then he asked me to come in and read and I came in and read for Laurie, Kate’s part. Then he asked me to come back in and read with Colin for Laurie, and then I came back in and read for Melina. It was wild actually because it was an intense process. Len wasn’t quiet sure what part he wanted me in, I was open to either parts. After I auditioned for both I then called him and said that Melina, I felt was a character where I could do the best job. He said that’s perfect because we think Kate would be amazing as Laurie. It all fell perfectly in place.
Where you a fan of the original film?
Jessica Biel: I really don’t remember my first viewing of Total Recall, I did kind of miss it I think I was eight at that time. I was probably watching Disney movies or something. I watched it obviously again before I started to do this film and it was great it’s so fun. When we were shooting, Colin and I would look at each other and think is this film too serious? The original was so fun and people loved it, they just want to have fun and we were so serious.
Did you have talks with Len about your concerns?
Jessica Biel: Yeah we would go up to him and say are you sure this is right? He would say yes we are not trying to remake the same film, we don’t want to create the same tone, and it has to be fresh.
You’re no stranger to action films do you see yourself as an action star?
Jessica Biel: No I don’t see myself as an action start because I do so many things. If I did only action movies and that’s all I was known for then I would feel more appropriate to say it. I just feel it’s one aspect of this business that I love. I feel lucky that I can tap into it occasionally. It’s a genre that I enjoy doing, it’s fun.
Would you ever consider playing a female super hero?
Jessica Biel: That would be great, where are they, where is that one they’re really hard to find.
What about Wonder Woman?
Jessica Biel: I think Wonder Woman is a tough one, I think people have had a really hard time adapting it.
Is there a character in the back of your head you wouldn’t mind playing?
Jessica Biel: No because I really don’t know much about comic books. I know the classic characters but I think the female characters you are talking about are probably a little bit more obscure.
I heard after a day of shooting both you and Colin would get together to discuss the shoot. What kind of conversations did you have?
Jessica Biel: There where a couple of times we would be working on the film then Colin, Len and I would get together at Len’s apartment and we would have snacks and just sit there and rewrite scenes for the following week. What we really were doing was talking about how we could make the film better. It wasn’t vague stuff, it was more like this scene needs to be better and we would sit down and talk it through for hours and hours. We would work to four in the morning sometimes.
Was this the first time you’ve done something like this?
Jessica Biel: Yeah, those late night work sessions that make you go crazy and at the end of the day, you don’t have any energy and somehow you turn a corner and have a breakthrough because you’re so exhausted that you’re transcending your body and the answer comes to you even though I can’t see straight anymore.
The elevator that goes through the center of the earth seemed like it took place on a massive set, how was it shooting the zero gravity scenes?
Jessica Biel: It was wirework and the camera is suspended upside down and me and Colin upside down. So we were hanging on harness on wires and completely bent over backwards it was crazy, but there were no injuries but major wedgie.
You have a fight scene with Kate Beckinsale, was it a bit intimidating fighting against her?
Jessica Biel: Yes and no, she was inspiring. Everyone knows how badass she is, she’s going to bring it and I want to bring it. I want to be a worthy opponent, a worthy advisory for her. I actually felt inspired to be better, to train harder and rehearse more and to be ready to go. I wanted to get there and impress her. I promise I wont hit you trust me.
Kate seems to have found a great balance working with her husband director Len Wiseman, would you ever consider working on a film with Justin Timberlake?
Jessica Biel: I think if it was the right thing I could absolutely work with him. We have a very respectful relationship when it comes to work. I feel envious that those two can work with their partners, it’s nice to be on set with them because you’re usually across the world.
What projects do you have coming up?
Jessica Biel: I have The Tall Man coming out, it’s a psychological thriller in the fall, I also have Hitchcock which hopefully be coming out in the fall, and Emmanuel and the Truth about Fishes and also Playing for Keeps in December. It’s weird they’re all just slotting together at the same time.
Total Recall is in theaters August 3rd.