Alex Cox on Why He’s Directing a ‘Repo Man’ Sequel: ‘Everything Has Changed and Nothing Has Changed’

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Alex Cox’s 1984 “Repo Man” was a Reagan-era satire about consumerism and the Atomic Age. Its punk rock soundtrack transformed it into a cult hit, but its funny and strange combination of sci-fi, workplace comedy, and the fear of nuclear annihilation made it an enduring classic.

Forty years later, Cox will revisit the repo man and the world of bland, generic grocery store clerks stocking and selling “Food” and “Beer” day in and day out. He has written and will direct a sequel, “Repo Man 2: The Wages of Beer,” and he told IndieWire why this film will embody “the repo world of 2024.”

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Cox said “The Wages of Beer” will take place in a world of self-driving cars and an even more pressing threat of global destruction. “The advent of incredible technology means, for the repo man, that everything has changed — and nothing has changed,” he said via email.

“Repo Man 2” will star Kiowa Gordon, best known as Embry Call in the “Twilight” movies, in the role of Otto, whom Emilio Estevez played in the original. Cox will present the project to buyers at the upcoming European Film Market during the Berlin Film Festival in hopes of securing some pre-sale funding to get it made. The producers are currently working out a start time for production.

The sequel is not the first time Cox has revisited these characters. In the 1990s, he tried his hand at a different kind of sequel, “Waldo’s Hawaiian Holiday,” but Cox said that film “was of its time.” Production began but was never completed, a story featured in the 2006 documentary “A Texas Tale of Treason.” The script for the unfinished film also became a 2007 graphic novel. In 2009, Cox made another semi-sequel, “Repo Chick.”

REPO MAN, Harry Dean Stanton, 1984
“Repo Man”©Universal/Courtesy Everett Collection

“Repo Man” starred Estevez and Harry Dean Stanton in a film hailed as a punk, cult, and sci-fi classic, and has been enshrined in the Criterion Collection. The film is about a punk rocker who is recruited by a repo agency to track down a Chevy Malibu that with it has a $20,000 bounty.

The new movie picks up closely after the events of the 1984 original. Having tracked down the mysterious 1967 Malibu from the original film, a car connected to a recent alien sighting and carrying a toxic substance in its trunk capable of disintegrating anyone who looks inside, Otto has driven off into the infinities of space and time. But, as Cox explains, although the world around him has flashed forward into the present day it’s as if no time has passed for him at all.

“Otto used to spend all night cruising around bad neighborhoods looking for cars. Now he spends all night on the internet doing the same thing,” Cox said. “Instead of hot-wiring the vehicle, Otto takes control of the onboard computers and directs it to the repo yard, or the sheriff’s substation. Yet this is not enough for Otto, who has only aged by 90 minutes in the last 40 years. He yearns for past simplicities: beer, booty, and no nuclear war.”

“Repo Man 2” is backed by Buffalo 8 Prods., which produced Netflix’s “Conversations With a Serial Killer: The Jeffrey Dahmer Tapes.” The producers are Lorenzo O’Brien (“Narcos”) and Adam Harris Engelhard, Matthew Helderman, and Luke Taylor from Buffalo 8. Michael Mortensen and Ram Getz from GM Management will executive produce.

“After an extended period of anticipation, director Alex Cox’s efforts are finally culminating with the sequel to the cult classic. We have full confidence in Kiowa’s capacity to take on the iconic role of Otto, originally immortalized by Emilio Estevez in 1984 when the film first made its debut,” said Buffalo 8’s Head of Production, Adam Harris Engelhard.

“Repo Man” was Cox’s feature directorial debut. He went on to direct “Sid & Nancy,” “Straight to Hell,” “Highway Patrolman,” and “Walker,” among others. “Repo Man” should not be confused with the unrelated 2010 thriller “Repo Men” starring Jude Law and Forest Whitaker.

Gordon is represented by Clear Talent Group, GM management and Greenburg Glusker.

Variety first reported the news of the “Repo Man” sequel.

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