This could get confusing, so please bear with me: A movie called Repo Chick, made by Alex Cox, the director of Repo Man, who swears it's not a sequel to Repo Man, will have its world premiere next month at the Venice film festival.
It's no relation to Repo Men!, a Universal movie previously known as Repossession Mambo until the studio evidently decided to change the title to make life difficult for Repo Chick.
Why bother? Well, Universal suspects Cox's movie is a sequel to his 1984 cult film, which starred Emilio Estevez as Otto, a young punk who quits his job in a supermarket and winds up working for Bud (Harry Dean Stanton), who runs an agency that repossess cars.
When it got wind of Repo Chick, the studio sent Cox a cease-and-desist letter, which he cheerfully ignored. On his blog, Cox vents about restraint-of-trade and reminds us the initials of MCA, Universal's one-time parent, stood for 'Muscle, Cash and Attorneys.'
Why all that fuss, considering Repo Man sold just $180,000 worth of tickets in the US and racked up a modest $3.7 million worldwide, according to IMDB.com? It beats me.
“If studio goons had any brains, they'd buy REPO CHICK and market the bijaziz (sic) out of it as if it were a sequel to REPO MAN,” says Cox, who has had a chequered career since his 1986 hit Sid and Nancy. “It isn't really; it's a story of different characters in a different world: but truth never gets in the way of the marketing department, whether it's pixels or Prozac.”
The new film features Jaclyn Jonet as the title character, who's described by the director as a “bad, arrogant, intelligent person.” The cast also includes Miguel Sandoval, Ben Guillory, Xander Berkeley, Karen Black, Zahn McClarnon and Robert Beltran.
Universal's Repo Men! is set in the near future when artificial organs can be obtained on credit and revolves around a man who struggles to make the payments on a heart he purchased: he goes on the run before the ticker is repossessed. Slated as a winter 2010 release in the US (and undated in Australia), it stars Jude Law, Liev Schreiber, Alice Braga and Forest Whitaker.
“I'm sure this is an excellent film, which Universal accidentally forgot to distribute, and now are passing off, in their innocence, as the new REPO MAN,” says Cox, tongue firmly-in-cheek. “Only a cynical person might see any attempt to catch the upward draft of REPO CHICK, and give loft to a turkey.”
Cox claims he still has a valid contract with Universal which specifies that if the studio ever wants to make a film based on his original work, it's obliged to ask him to direct it.
This may not be the end of the Repo saga….