Sci-Fi Bits: Total Recall Remake, Alphas, Doctor Who, Earthseed, Star Trek, and Rise of the Apes

Former “Malcolm in the Middle” dad Bryan Cranston plays a reluctant meth dealer in AMC’s “Breaking Bad”, a role that’s nabbed him plenty of hardware. And now he’d like to translate all that goodwill into playing … the bad guy in Columbia Pictures’ “Total Recall” remake? Yup.

Variety has Cranston (left) in negotiations to play the villain in the sci-fi remake, a role originally played by Ronny Cox in the 1990 Paul Verhoeven original. Besides the whole “get your ass to Mars” premise, the remake, currently being penned by Kurt Wimmer (“Equilibrium”) will probably diverge heavily from the Arnold Schwarzenegger film. Or at least, one hopes so, otherwise why do it?

“Total Recall” Part Deux is scheduled to go ahead with Colin Farrell in the lead and Len Wiseman (“Underworld”) directing.


Like sci-fi TV? You’re in luck. “Doctor Who” is about to begin its Season 6 run on April 23, 2011, with simultaneous premieres in the UK and Stateside to cut down on all that piracy that took place in the pace when new “Doctor Who” episodes aired months ahead of their Stateside debut. Check out the latest trailer for “Doctor Who” Season 6.

The show stars Matt Smith as the current Doctor Who, and Karen Gillan as his current companion. Alex Kingston also co-stars in the American-visiting Season 6.


“Alphas” is a new superhero show on the SyFy Channel set for debut sometime in the Summer. It stars Ryan Cartwright, David Strathairn, Malik Yoba, and Laura Mennell, and is co-created by Zak Penn, who has penned “X-Men: Last Stand”, “Fantastic Four”, and “Elektra”. Look at it as “Heroes” on a smaller budget. Or “X-Men” the TV show. Quickie TV spot for the show below.

When a witness is inexplicably murdered in a locked room at a federal courthouse, Section 8 (under the auspices of the National Security Agency) is put on the case. Lead by Dr. Leigh Rosen, the team has but one mandate – locate and assess the threats posed by “alphas,” human beings with enhanced abilities due to differences in their brain structure. Joining Rosen in his quest are four such alphas – Gary Bell, a highly functioning autistic with an ability to process information that rivals most computers; Bill Harken, a former FBI agent who can amp up his “fight or flight” reflex, giving him extraordinary strength for a brief period of time; Nina Theroux, a beautiful woman who can reprogram other people’s minds to do as she bids; and Rachel Myers, an orthodox Jew who can shatter glass with but a whisper. However with said powers comes a price – for Gary, autism which makes him a child for all intents and purposes; for Harken, severe anger issues that cost him his job and family; for Rachel, living life as a near mute and being forced to wear an electronic device against her larynx; and Nina, never really knowing how those close to her actually feel. In any case, they’ve all come together for the common good with Rosen as their mentor, teaching them to further control their abilities with each passing day. As for the courthouse murder, it’s not long before the team uncovers that one of their own kind was responsible – Christian Hicks, a former Marine sharpshooter with supernatural balance and aim (he guided the bullet through a ventilation duct). After bringing him in though, they realize someone even more powerful was pulling the strings… someone with a new technology that can be used to mimic one of the team’s gifts.


Back to movie news, “Moscow”, the tentative title for the Jack Ryan reboot, has hit a bit of a snag, script-wise. As a result, Paramount has reportedly scrapped plans to make “Moscow” before the franchise’s new star, Chris Pine has to head back to J.J. Abrams’ rebooted “Star Trek” sequel.

Now, the studio is moving forward on “Trek 12” first, and hopes to iron out the “Moscow” script issues by the time Pine is available to reboot Ryan again.

Speaking of “Trek 12”, Chris Pine has read the script, and loves it. He also reveals that he’ll get a love interest this time around, and we’re not just talking a fling with some green skin gal.

Pine writes on his Facebook page:

After a thousand questions regarding the Star Trek sequel I can finally say I am holding the draft script in my hand,. I can also now tell you I have a love interest and it’s all looking very exciting. Sorry but I cant give you a date for filming yet, but you guys are going to love it!

Still no word on whether J.J. Abrams will return to direct the sequel, though.


Like Pamela Sargent’s “Earthseed” trilogy of young-adult novels? You’re in luck, because “Twilight” scribe Melissa Rosenberg has signed on to write and produce a film version of the first novel for Paramount.

For those not in the know, here’s the premise of “Earthseed”:

Earthseed takes place in a future where humans launch a project called Ship to carry Earth DNA into space to find a new planet on which to settle. During its flight, a group of newly grown teenagers born without traditional parents are provided a simulated Earth environment, Hollow, to test their ability to survive. As some of the kids splinter off, tensions grow between the groups and major revelations ensue as fighting erupts.

Kinda like “Lord of the Flies” in outer space, if you will.


And lastly, while over at CinemaCon, Comingsoon snagged this close-up look at Caesar, the head ape in Fox’s upcoming “Rise of the Apes”. Caesar will be “played” by Andy Serkis, and “Rise of the Apes” co-stars James Franco and Freida Pinto, and chronicles the original rise of the apes and the fall of humanity. I’m guessing things go bananas. (See what I did there?)