The wiki article for Total Recall (1990) states that Patrick Swayze was originally attached to the film. I could swear that somewhere I heard a few other names were originally planned for the lead role, and Schwarzenegger was pretty far down the list.

Does anyone know who those original top choices were?

  • 2
    i wonder who gave the close vote on this good question.
    – Dredd
    Commented Feb 4, 2015 at 15:42
  • I don't think this is to be closed as trivia, he's not asking who played the lead role, but who once was in discussion for it. Easy to find or not, I wouldn't regard that as "trivia".
    – Napoleon Wilson
    Commented Feb 4, 2015 at 16:38
  • How would it not be regarded as trivia? What significance does this question provide outside of knowing a few nifty tidbits of information?
    – MattD
    Commented Feb 4, 2015 at 18:05
  • 1
    @MattD: I'd say it provides insight into the original artistic vision for the film and how it evolved. Commented Feb 4, 2015 at 18:25
  • 4
    I love Broderick, but that movie would have sucked badly if he was the lead. And, as Nate suggested, I am probably one of the minority who will watch a movie 3 times over; one as intended, once with the director commentary and once with the cast commentary. I like knowing these types of things, which I see less as trivia and more as a discovery of the process of filmmaking. Commented Feb 4, 2015 at 18:34

1 Answer 1


"Patrick Swayze was signed to play Quaid when the movie began preproduction in Australia with Bruce Beresford as the director. However, early in preproduction, Dino De Laurentiis' company went bankrupt. After Arnold Schwarzenegger heard about this, he persuaded Carolco to buy the script for him."

So Yes, the original choice was Patrick Swayze. IMDB

Some other choices were; "David Cronenberg was attached to direct but wanted to cast William Hurt in the lead role" Wikipedia

Among other chocies were Christopher Reeve, Jeff Bridges, Matthew Broderick and Richard Dreyfuss

Complete information is also present here: Cast List

  • One can only imagine how different the movie would be with Broderick or Dreyfuss in the lead! Makes me think about what Terminator would have been like with Lance Henriksen as the titular cyborg. Commented Mar 10, 2016 at 17:22
  • The above information can also be found in this making of featurette: youtu.be/Qm-dHbh34z8 - Arnold really wanted the part for a very long time, and Dino didn't want him to have it nor, initially, have Mars in the movie. Commented Nov 8, 2022 at 11:56

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