Total Recall (1990)

Okay first things first. The audition. As I recall, this was just after Turner and Hooch, and was the same casting office. Judy Taylor and Mike Fenton.

I went into the office and Paul Verhoeven, the director was there, bubbling over in Dutch enthusiasm, as is his way. He introduced himself and then took the script from me and proceeded to give me line readings for the entire scene.
“Okay, This first part you say like ‘Your first trip?’ ”
The he skips to the next page and reads the next line, “Don’t worry. Thinks hardly ever fuck up around here.”
And goes through the entire scene, then he hands me back the script and says, “but don’t do it like me. You do it like you. That’s why you’re here.”
Now I should explain to those not in the actorial trade, what I mean by line readings. Generally the conversation that occurs between a good director and an actor is about how to convey the meaning of the dialogue, the tone of the scene and other bullshit that means everything when you’re there and nothing in hindsight.
One of the worst things a director can do, is to SHOW an actor how he wants the lines read.
I know actors who would been insulted by what Verhoeven was doing. Was I?
Oh hell no. First of all, he was just so ENTHUSIASTIC! Second, he had just shown me, EXACTLY how he saw the role. So, I just read the scene EXACTLY the way he had just read it to me (minus the Dutch accent) and when I was done, he actually jumped out of his seat and shook my hand and told me I was great.
And I got the gig, so there.
That’s the way he directs. He’ll just jump in there and act out all the parts, and then say, “but don’t do it like me, do it like you, that’s why I hired you.” And there’s something so charming about it, that you just sort of go along.
Ya know the opening scene with Arnold and Sharon Stone in bed, gettin’ it on? I heard a story that they pretended Sharon was having trouble understanding what to do, so Paul jumped into bed (with Arnold) and showed her. “you might stroke him, like this, and maybe grab his butt like this….”   Funny.
What else…?
I had a bruise the shape of Arnold’s foot on my chest for about a week after shooting. That was fun. Souvenir.
Oh, that part where I get slapped?
Twenty-four takes, and the last one actually knocked me unconscious.
Yes it did.