Frequently Asked Questions
It's 4 A.M. Do you know where your car is?
The movie:

The characters:

The people:

Making the film:

Trivia:

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Why do I remember scenes and lines which aren't in my copy of the movie?
The edited for TV version of the movie shown in the U.S. contained a few short scenes and shots which were deleted from the original theatrical release. This includes the phone booth smashing, I.G. Farben, and Lorna Doones. For details on the differences, see the transcript. For more information on the edited for TV version, see Alex Cox's web site. There is also supposed to be a British broadcast version which is something of a combination of these two versions. The Collector's Edition DVD has a short feature on the missing scenes which show them in their entirety and also a few short shots which were in neither theatrical release nor TV version. The Blu-Ray disc claims to contain the complete TV version.

What was the car and how much was offered for repossesing it?
A '64 Chevy Malibu. $20,000. It has New Mexico license plate 127-GBH except in the very first shot, where the plate is KBB-283.

Just what really is in the trunk of that car?
According to Alex Cox, the real inventor of the Neutron Bomb (Sam Cohen) first told him that it had to be a Strategic Area Denial Munition (SADM) - fancy name for Neutron Bomb. Later he changed his mind and decided that it must be an enormous concentration of nuclear material - gamma rays perhaps. Whatever it is, it's probably the same thing that was in the box in the movie "Kiss Me Deadly". And maybe the same thing that later appeared in the suitcase in "Pulp Fiction".

What was that a picture of?
The picture of the aliens has been described by the filmmakers as being "condoms filled with water, with grass skirts".

How did they make the car glow?
With some very expensive reflective paint. In this scene, the license plate has been turned backwards. I suspect they did this because the back of the plate naturally matched the glowing car (or they didn't want to wreck the plate by painting it with the reflective paint, or they were trying to use as little paint as possible because it cost so much).

What about the sequel?
Around 1997, Cox completed a script of what was then an unofficial sequel called "Waldo's Hawaiian Holiday". It was only unofficially a sequel since the studio owned the rights to an official one, which is why the name of the main character was changed to Waldo. In an interview Decider Austin, Cox claims to have put a deal together to get it made at that time, but that it fell apart when Estevez unexpectedly dropped out (Estevez denies having ever been interested after reading the script). In April, 2005, shooting of the film was begun by AntStuie Productions, with Stuart Kincaid directing, but the production had to be terminated before the film could be completed. The entire experience is described in their documentary "A Texas Tale of Treason". Waldo was eventually published as a graphic novel, which is marketed as being the official sequel.

What about the other sequel??
In the summer of 2008, it was announced that Cox was looking for a studio to support a new sequel to Repo Man called Repo Chick. Initial reports were calling it Repo Girl, but I'm guessing the Cox changed it when he discovered that a 2003 porn film had already used that name. The low-budget movie was filmed entirely against a green screen with backgrounds added later. It premiered at the Venice Film Festival in September, 2009. This movie isn't so much a "Repo Man" sequel as it is a remake taken to ridiculous extremes. It's loaded with references and parallels to "Repo Man" and at least 8 actors from the original (not including Cox) appear in it.

Is "Repo Men" yet another sequel???
According to Cox, "REPO MEN is definitely not a sequal to my film. I still have a contract with these guys and - if they ever want to make a film based on my original work - they have to ask me to direct it. What fun that would be! But it seems The Studio has, among its souvenirs, a Jude Law thriller called THE REPOSSESSION MAMBO, shot in Canada, almost two years ago. 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." For his full comments, see the blog entry for 2009.7.30.

What was the movie about????
From Alex Cox: "Nuclear War. Of course. What else could it be about?". Read the entire quote at alexcox.com.

What does Bud mean when he says that the Rodriguez brothers are "responsible for at least thirty vehicles in the field"?
From the Repo Man comic: "These boys buy a $500 junker & they pay it off on time. Now they got a credit record. Next thing you know it's Mastercharge and Visa and they're pulling outta there in an '83 Le Baron! And that's the last the dealer sees of 'em. Three missed payments later, they're a job for Repoman."

Is Otto's last name really "Parts"?
Probably not. At one point, information on Agent Rogersz computer screen identifies him as "Otto Maddox", but the credits just list him as Otto.

Was Alex Cox ever a Repo Man?
Not really, but he did occasionally ride around with a repossessor neighbor of his. He claims that on one or two occasions he drove the neighbors car back after a repossession, so technically he was assisting in the act. According to Cox, the movie "was based on my own personal Los Angeles horrors and the tutelage of Mark Lewis, a Los Angeles car repossessor and my neighbour in Venice, CA." On his web site, he states that "many of Harry Dean Stanton's dialogues came from the mouth of a real repo man, Mark Lewis". For more information, see Mark Lewis talks to Alex Cox and Dick Rude.

Was Alex Cox a punk?
According to Cox, "The Characters of Otto and Duke, and the punk milieu, came from a script by Dick Rude and Brandt Reiter, Rubber Leathernecks."

Did Alex Cox appear in the movie? What about producer Michael Nesmith?
Alex Cox appears twice in the scene where Kevin is working at the gas station. First we see him wiping down the Malibu coming out of the car wash, then we see him sitting on a bench as Kevin comes out of the office saying "what?" while the Rodriguez brothers drive off. Nesmith can be seen briefly in the background on a TV in the repo office in an ad for "Art Remnants", a segment from his movie "Elephant Parts". It has also been reported that Nesmith is the Rabbi standing next to Reverend Larry as they approach the car in the final scene.

Did any of the soundtrack musicians appear in the movie?
The Circle Jerks appear on stage in a bar as the act which Otto can't believe he used to like. Zander Schloss, who plays Kevin, joined the band after production ended and has remained a member.

What happened to Emilio Estevez? Why didn't he ever do anything that even came close to Repo Man?
Why did Michelangelo only paint one Sistine Chapel Ceiling? C'mon, guys, there's only one Repo Man. Ok, Michelangelo did do some damn good sculptures also, but let's face it... Estevez is no Michelangelo. He is, on the other hand, a talented actor and director who probably had more important things to do than to try to satisfy the cult following of a single movie. And I have to personally agree with Estevez when he said that he didn't want to be involved in the sequel because he didn't think that the script for Waldo's Hawaiian Holiday made any sense.

Who is Angelique Pettyjohn?
She plays one of the repo wives. Men my age will remember drooling over her as adolescents while seeing her play Captain Kirk's trainer in "The Gamesters of Triskelion" or, even better, as agent Charlie Watkins, Control's top female impersonator.

What was the film's budget?
1.5 million. The film was shot in six weeks in Los Angeles in July/August 1983. It went over budget and over schedule, and Cox had to ask the crew to work for free for the final 3 days.

Why did it only get limited screening?
Possibly the studio didn't think it had potential, or maybe because there was a new head of production at the studio and it's Hollywood tradition that new heads of production try to trash the projects of their predecessors. In any case, it previewed at the Panorama during the Berlin Film Festival in February, 1984, and one week later it was released in the U.S. for a very short run in only a few major cities before going quickly to video. Due to the efforts of the filmmakers, assisted by some good reviews and a very successful soundtrack album, the film did manage to make it back to the theaters for a more widespread, but still limited, screening.

Was Dennis Hopper really the first choice to play Bud?
Yes. In the "Film Anarchist" biography of Cox, Hopper claims he turned it down because he didn't think Cox could get the financing, while Cox says that Hopper was asking for too much money. In the DVD commentary, however, someone remembers that Hopper was still in "recovery" at the time and therefore too much of a risk.

Did Cox get so fed up with Harry Dean Stanton that he wrote him out of the film?
In the commentary on the original DVD, Cox and others laugh about the struggle which ensues during the shooting of a scene where Stanton insists on using a real bat instead of the much safer fake one which he's supposed to be using. Cox briefly mentions the occasional difficulties of working with Stanton and attributes it possibly to the fact that the 58-year-old veteran actor was being directed by a 29-year-old director.

In his 2008 book "X-Films", Cox expands on this incident to say that he wanted to fire Stanton and re-work the script so that the final scenes revolved around Lite. "I felt Sy was doing better work than Harry. His character had started out with almost no lines: Sy had created Lite from the ground up." In this telling of it, the producer, Nesmith, turned the plan down. Although I have not yet had a chance to review it, I'm told that the roundtable discussion on the Blu-Ray disk (2012) has Cox stating that he actually did write Stanton out of the film. The "Shots in the dark" scene is given as an example.

Lite only has 3 significant scenes with him and Otto riding around. The first scene, with the rat, could easily be one that was switched from Bud to Lite. The last scene is the one mentioned by Cox. The middle scene, however, seems to have been written specificially for Lite since it contains Lite's monologue. Cox's comments in "X-Films" would suggest that this scene had already been at least partially created prior to this incident, since he is clearly saying that Lite's role had already been significantly expanded. This also raises the possibility that the scenes given to Lite had more to do with Cox's appreciation of Richardson than his dislike of Stanton, although it may certainly have been a combination of the two.

It may or may not be significant that none of Lite's 3 scenes take place before the scene with the baseball bat. They wouldn't have been shooting in chronological order, of course, but when Cox says "final scenes" there is no way of knowing if he meant the scenes which hadn't been filmed yet or the ones which would appear after the one with the bat. And as a final caution, we should remember that Hollywood memories recalled 30 years after the fact might be prone to exaggeration or distortion. So in the end, you have to decide for yourself what the real answer to this question is.

Is that why Bud gets fired and then disappears from the movie?
No. The firing scene appears in an early version of the script written before filming began and where Lite is still nearly non-existent as a character. Nor does Bud disappear from the film after being fired. The film is near the end at that point and Bud appears in a significant portion of it (Lite, on the other hand, hardly appears at all). If they actually did remove any remaining scenes with Bud, it would've had nothing to do with him being fired.

What are the Repo Man comics?
Basically a Repo Man storyboard in comic book form, these were created sometime shortly after begining work on the screenplay. Originally intended to be completed and used for the entire movie, Cox quickly decided it was too much work and they ended up just being a marketing tool in selling the movie. Copies of the comic can be found here.

Is there something unusual about the credits?
They scroll down instead of up.

What about the standard "Any similarity..." clause. Isn't there something weird about that?
Not at all, but because the credits scroll down instead of up, you need to read the paragraph from bottom to top instead of top to bottom. Try it:
Coincidental
any persons, living or dead, is purely
photoplay are fictitious. Any similarity to
The characters and events depicted in this

Why the generic products?
It's a satirical commentary on the commodification of modern society. Or it was because the producers failed to attract any offers of payment for product placement, with the notable exception of the Car-Freshner company (which, according to Cox, sent them "a whole bunch of air fresheners WITHOUT the scent, which is too horrible for anyone, even an actor, to endure for long"). According to Cox, most of these generic products came directly from Ralph's Supermarket in Los Angeles, but they had to create the ones which said Food and Drink.

Did they really use a scrambler when J. Frank Parnell talks on the phone?
This is actually somebody reciting Jabberwocky, played backwards.

Any goofs in the movie?
The most obvious is during the first repossession scene, where the white Cutlass appears as either a 2 door coupe or 4 door sedan depending on the shot. Another good one is during the race in the culvert when Lagarto briefly disappears from the passenger's seat. There are other examples of things like visible equipment and obvious audio dubs listed at the Internet Movie Database. The goofs I've been able to verify (or disagree with) are pointed out in the transcript.

Where is the DVD's Easter Egg?
The original Repo Man DVD did have an Easter Egg. When you reach the "Extras" Menu, press your arrow key all the way to the right, until you highlight "Talent Bios" - then press up. From there a light will appear on the Malibu's dashboard. Press select and it will give you "The Repo Man Code" while showing a scene of a man removing a Repo Man T-shirt and then a woman putting it on. I have no idea what that's all about and, as far as I know, the more recent Collector's Edition DVD does not have any Easter Eggs in it.

Who or what is I. G. Farben?
If you've seen the TV version, then you know that I.G. Farben is the name on the business card which Bud hands to Mr. Pakman. In reality, IG Farben was once an enormous German industrial conglomerate, owning companies like Agfa, Bayer and BASF. It was considered the financial core of Hitler's regime, is believed to have worked closely with the regime in acquiring chemical plants in countries coming under Nazi control, and ran huge slave labor camps during the war. Mostly, though, it is notorious for having been the main producer of Zyklon-B, the gas used in Nazi death camps. It may be that Cox was using IG Farben to comment on the amoral character common to both Repo Men and large corporations. Just a guess...

Why don't you get a life? Why is this web site so lame?
I think you can see that one answers the other. The web site is lame because I actually do have a life. So why would somebody who wasn't a raging Repo Man fanatic have created this site in the first place? Well, here's the story. In 1997, I was working at a bankrupt dot-com. Not working would be a more accurate assessment, as I spent most of the day trying to find things to do to keep myself from becoming insanely bored. One day while looking for Repo Man information on the web, it came to my attention that there was no Repo Man web site, thus giving me the opportunity to create the first and the best. Back when the web was new and exciting, this was an opportunity which no computer programming Repo Man fan would have turned down.

C'mon. Isn't there any more trivia than that?
Oh yeah, there's plenty. Connections to William Burroughs and the Naked Lunch (Dr. Benway, Mr. Lee), to Tom Wolfe and the Electric Kool-Ade Acid Test (Edge City), Liquid Paper, and places where signs in the background relate to events in the movie (Plate 'O Shrimp, Auto Parts, Circle Jerks). See the Internet Movie Database for details and even more trivia.

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Copyright 2010 by Robert Cantor