Arnold Schwarzenegger admitted the original 'Total Recall' producer didn't want him on board.

The 72-year-old actor - who played construction worker and secret agent Douglas Quaid in the 1990 sci-fi blockbuster - has revealed how Dino De Laurentiis didn't see him as a good fit for the movie after working together on 'Conan The Barbarian'.

Arnie told The Ringer: ''I've been chasing for years, years, years. Because Dino De Laurentiis had it.

''And he always felt, 'Schwarzenegger, I'd like you to be Conan. I don't like you to be in 'Total Recall'. I have Jeff Bridges.''

However, De Laurentiis' production company went bankrupt, meaning the project - which had spent almost a decade in his hands - was available.

After turning to upstart producers Mario Kassar and Andrew Vanja, Schwarzenegger met 'RoboCop' director Paul Verhoeven and they were able to push on with the film.

Reflecting on their chance meeting in a restaurant, he said: ''I thought that this idea of being a machine and all that stuff, we have done it, but it was a whole new spin.

''It was so creatively done and I really got engaged. It was just brilliant... [I remember thinking, 'I've gotta go over there and just tell him how much I enjoyed this movie.' ''

The pair agreed they should work together, and once the rights to Philip K. Dick's short story 'We Can Remember IT For You Wholesale' - which was adapted into 'Total REcall' - were available, the rest was history.

Verhoeven added: ''We shook hands, Arnold and I, and said, 'We're going to do this.' And that was it.

''No talk about money or anything. It was just looking at each other and believing that Mario could finance it and that Arnold and I were a good team.''