Schwarzenegger actively involved in development, could star

CANNES — Dimension Films, the 6-year-old Miramax genre division, has inked scribes Ron Shusett and Gary Goldman to write “Total Recall 2,” its most expensive pic ever, possibly with Arnold Schwarzenegger to topline.

Pic will be based on the scribes’ original story, developed with Dimension. The original was based on Phillip K. Dick’s short story “We Can Remember it for You Wholesale.”

Schwarzenegger, who starred in the original “Total Recall,” is actively involved in the development of the film.

According to sources, a couple of weeks ago the actor attended a four-hour development meeting with Miramax/Dimension topper Bob Weinstein and Dimension prexy Cary Granat.

Shusett will serve as co-executive producer on the sequel and Goldman will be co-producer. Shusett and Goldman shared credit on the screenplay of “Total Recall,” which Shusett also co-produced.

Dimension senior VP Andrew Rona and Miramax VP of business and legal affairs Cary Meadow brokered the deal on the minimajor’s behalf.

Auctioned rights

In January of last year, Dimension acquired the theatrical sequel, prequel and remake rights to “Total Recall” from the defunct Carolco Pictures for a princely $3.15 million at a Los Angeles bankruptcy court auction.

Carolco reportedly spent $80 million making “Total Recall”; Dimension originally said it would budget its sequel for considerably less, even with Schwarzenegger on board and collecting his full fee (in the $20 million range). Dimension wouldn’t comment on the budget, although it is understood that the film would be the most expensive in the banner’s history.

Under Dimension’s original deal with corporate parent Walt Disney Co., all of its films must have an average budget of $12.5 million. If one pic exceeds the cap, another must fall under it by the same amount. To date, Dimension’s most expensive production has been “Mimic,” which cost $28 million to make (and earned a disappointing $25 million at the box office).

Back-end profits

In the past, one way that Dimension managed to attract A-list talent to its genre pics while keeping costs down was to offer directors, writers and actors profit participation on the backend.

In addition to “Total Recall,” Shusett and Goldman penned “Minority Report,” a script in development at 20th Century Fox and Jan De Bont’s Blue Tulip Prods. The duo will exec-produce as well.

Shusett also co-wrote and exec-produced Fox’s first “Alien” pic as well as Andrew Davis’ “Above the Law.” Goldman co-wrote “Big Trouble in Little China,” “Navy Seals” and sci-fi original “Stowaway” for producer Gale Anne Hurd. Shusett is repped by the William Morris Agency’s Ramses IsHak and Andrea Smith; and Goldman is handled by WMA’s David Lubliner and Spencer Baumgarten.

Dimension is also in discussions with “Star Trek: First Contact” and the series’ upcoming ninth installment helmer, Jonathan Frakes, to direct the pic. But while he is understood to be the minimajor’s top choice, no deal has been signed.

Frakes made his directorial debut on the 1996 pic “Star Trek: First Contact,” which grossed $91 million domestically and $54 million overseas. He also starred in the film as William Riker, commander of the USS Enterprise, a role he originated on the “Star Trek: The Next Generation” TV series. Frakes’ agents, Robert Newman and David Wirtschafter of ICM, couldn’t be reached for comment.

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