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Updated Again! Mr. Beaks Evades The REPO MEN With Screenwriter Eric Garcia!

Like many of you, I had no real expectations for Miguel Sapochnik's REPO MEN prior to the debut of that rather impressive red-band trailer over Christmas break. Now, I find myself anticipating a fun little throwback to the kind of brainy, darkly comedic, and gory as hell sci-fi action flicks Paul Verhoeven used to make. In case you missed it...
To be fair to the makers of REPO MEN, I am not expecting anything on the indisputably classic level of ROBOCOP. That said, I think the notion of a future in which a ruthless corporation dangles the life-extending miracle of artificial organs, while wielding the life-snuffing threat of repossession if one falls too far behind on their payments, has all kinds of grisly potential. And judging from that trailer, it looks like Sapochnik and company are exploiting the premise to an ludicrously entertaining degree. Toss in Jude Law and Forest Whitaker as a pair of top-notch organ snatchers, and Liev Schreiber as a scenery-devouring baddie, and it's a helluva lot easier to see how REPO MEN could go right than wrong. Since the official green-band trailer is set to premiere in theaters this weekend, Universal checked in to see if I'd like to chat with Eric Garcia, the co-writer of the screenplay (with HOUSE M.D.'s Garrett Lerner) and the sole writer of the novel (REPOSSESSION MAMBO) on which the film is based. This is the second of Garcia's books to be turned into a film (the first being MATCHSTICK MEN), and while it seems like his career as a screenwriter is about to take off, he insists that he is a novelist first. Amazingly, I don't think he's full of shit. I also tend to believe him when he says that the experience of making REPO MEN was a positive one, and that there might be franchise potential in this material. Now there's where they might have a shot at surpassing the legacy of ROBOCOP. As we started our interview, I accidentally referred to the film by its original title, REPOSSESSION MAMBO. Garcia was thanking me for this right as I hit "record"...

Eric Garcia: I think the original title is going to be lost to the ages at some point. They're going to change the title of the book to match publicity. Which is fine. I'm fine with it. Can you hear the fine in my voice? I'm cool with it.

Mr. Beaks: Yeah. I know that "fine". Well, let's start with the title. REPOSSESSION MAMBO is kind of a cool title, although I can understand why a studio might have trouble selling a film called REPOSSESSION MAMBO.

Garcia: It's a weird title. I get that. I've gotten that from the very beginning. In fact, Miguel [Sapochnik], who's our director, later told me "When they sent me the script, I didn't read it. I didn't want to read it because of that title. But eventually I picked it up and read it." (Laughs) It's one of those things where once you've read it or once you've seen the movie, you get it. But, of course, from a marketing standpoint, I get that it's weird. My mother-in-law could never remember the [title]. It's been fucking ten years, and she can't remember the title of the thing. So the fact that it's now REPO MEN, and she can tell her friends? That's a good thing.

Beaks: Full disclosure: I forgot about it until earlier this afternoon, but your script has been sitting unread on my hard drive for a year.

Garcia: (Laughs) See?

Beaks: Someone sent it to me, and I think it was just such a wacky title. Also, just being honest, I was also like, "Well, I've never heard of this writer before, but I've got a couple of Coen Brothers scripts, so..."

Garcia: I would've done the exact same thing. I can't even complain. (Laughs) But it makes sense, and, from a marketing point of view, you've got to what you've got to do. And everything marketing has done so far... a) it's so not my job, and b) I've been just kind of impressed with what they've been able to do.

Beaks: That said, I think a certain segment of the moviegoing population - i.e. geeks - will see the title REPO MEN and immediately think REPO MAN.

Garcia: Sure. What film geek doesn't know that movie? I get that. And while I can't speak for Universal marketing, my guess is they went, "What percent of the worldwide population knows REPO MAN?" It's probably a very small percentage because it's a cult movie. So I assumed that they're cool with it. If it brings up positive connotations, that's cool. I happen to love REPO MAN.

Beaks: What's interesting to me, at least from the trailer, is that REPO MEN seems to be somewhat absurdist in tone, whereas REPO MAN is very absurdist. I'm not trying to keep the comparison going, but it does seem like REPO MEN has a sort of cult movie tone to it.

Garcia: I will say this: through the various iterations - and we're talking the short story, the book, and I can't even begin to tell you how many drafts of the screenplay - it has gotten slightly less absurdist. That said, our producer, Scott Stuber, is a really bright guy and has a really good sense of what works in an absurdist way that can also be somewhat populist - if that makes sense. Look, my favorite movie of all time is BRAZIL, so that gives you an idea of where my mind comes from. That's the kind of stuff that I dig: dark comedy, and a view of the world that is... not just sci-fi, but somewhat absurdist. That said, we've always had this kind of action thing going as well - which is not initially what the movie was. It certainly became slightly more action-oriented as we went along. But not in a bad way. What we didn't want to do is action for the sake of action, because we've all seen that and it's boring at the end of the day. Hopefully, the action and the absurdist view meld in some way.

Beaks: That's such a tricky balancing act. I think ROBOCOP did it best.

Garcia: We referenced ROBOCOP constantly when we were talking about the tone of the film. That's a great example. And you'll see in REPO MEN, there are commercials - which are mostly in the background of the final movie. I'm trying to remember the name of the commercial company that did them; we worked with them on the tone, and they did these great commercials that remind me of the ones in ROBOCOP. That sort of sensibility fit very much into our world. It's like any of Verhoeven's stuff. You're like, "Wow, there's a lot of violence here, but there's something comedic. The violence is actually integrated and trying to say something."

Beaks: When you go for something this particular in the writing, and then hand it off to a director, who's probably got his own very particular take on the material - one that doesn't completely mirror yours...

Garcia: Actually, my writing partner Garrett [Lerner] and I - and I should point out that Garrett has another writing partner and is an executive producer on HOUSE; I'm kind of the affair that he had. Garrett is one of my best friends, so I showed him the book, and he said, "We should do the script." That was in 2002. And when we first went out with the script, the silence was deafening. You've got a script where your protagonist is taking organs out of people, and he's the good guy; that's sort of odd. But there was one producer, Valerie Dean, who found it and championed it, and we did rewrites with her. She got it to Miguel, and showed us this short he had done called "The Dreamer", which I think you can probably find online. [Beaks note: I couldn't.] It blew us away. And we said, "Okay, this is the guy who, visually at least, we like." So we met him, and... Miguel had a very similar and odd viewpoint - which is a good thing. As you were saying, you don't often find directors who have the same way of looking at things. It was nice that we all just kind of agreed on things, so, from that point on, there was some push and pull, but it was good to know that he was going to bring new things to it in ways that we couldn't have anticipated. And make it better.

Beaks: Speaking of that push-pull, usually when a studio gets a movie like this, they're looking to add as much action as possible and attach the biggest movie star available. That's why this is an interesting project to me: it's got interesting actors instead of huge movie stars.

Garcia: The Jude thing... we could always get people interested, but we could never get them to the point where they would just throw down the money. We always thought we'd do the film independently because, as you said, it's absurdist dark comedy, but also sort of an action thing. Then, in March 2006, Jude was on a plane with his agent, who had been trying to get him to read [REPO MEN] for a while. So he said, "Look, we are on this plane for the next eight hours. Read the script." So he read the script, and said, "Okay, I'm in." Once he attached himself to act, he also came on board to help shape his character - because when you've done this for as long as he has, you start to get a sense of what works and what doesn't. And when you get a movie star attached, that speeds things up. Then when Universal got involved, we started looking for someone to match with Jude, and Forest Whitaker was at the top of everybody's list. He was just coming off THE LAST KING OF SCOTLAND, and everyone was [chasing him]. I'd loved Forest forever, since THE CRYING GAME. I mean, you can go way, way back to when I was a kid, but I think THE CRYING GAME was the first time where I was like, "Who is this guy?" And GHOST DOG; I fucking love GHOST DOG. So as soon as Forest came up, we were like, "If we can get him, let's get him." And we did. And then we got Liev Schreiber, who I also love. I have no idea how much marketing or publicity want me to talk about this, but John Leguizamo was in the movie. He had this great, amazing scene that he did that, because it didn't fit in the final cut, ended up on the cutting room floor. But I will say that Leguizamo was awesome, and I think he'll be on the DVD. And Alice Braga is really good in this as well. So, yeah, it was nice that they weren't like, "We've got to go after Tom Cruise." They just went for actors who were really right for the roles.

Beaks: Did you ever feel pressure to really action it up and make the film more accessible?

Garcia: I don't know if it was to specifically to "action it up". As you can see in the trailer, there are these scenes where they shoot these taser grenades. In the script, they fight in the tanker, and there's probably a half-page of action. But then they get [on set], and start shooting it, and it just gets bigger and bigger. It's not necessarily anything I did, but, at the end of the day, it works. I think if there was any pressure to change anything... you'll see that there's a love story between Jude's character and Alice's character. That shifted a lot. I would say that's the thing we played with the most. And that's because in the book, Jude's character has five wives and is working on his sixth. So that, of course, ended up getting narrowed down. I think in the first draft he had five wives, but in the next draft it was down to four; he just kept losing wives along the way. (Laughs) And he was finally down to one wife by the time the film was ready to go. In a way, it was the hardest thing to do, because we know our character and where he's going. And this relationship was so crucial, and, at the same time, tangential - but we needed to keep it as part of the thing. It was tough going, but I think it came together in a good way.

Beaks: In terms of the balance, I hate to ask percentages, but... (Laughs) what percentage of the film is action, satire, etc.?

Garcia: Yeah, percentages are tough. Let me think. (Laughs) It's probably a good thirty-thirty-thirty - with another ten thrown in there. It's thirty buddy-cop - because it does have that buddy-cop thing where they're going after people. And then thirty dark comedy; "absurdist" might be going too far, but definitely darkly comedic. Again, ROBOCOP is probably a great example, because it has amazing action sequences, but they're all set off against this world - and there's a love story as well. I'd be so fucking lucky if we're ever spoken in the same sentence as ROBOCOP. Or BRAZIL. You know, you go to these test screenings - and, fortunately, they all went well. But you sit around afterwards and listen to these people talk about your movie and try to compare it to other movies. They would compare it to really kick-ass action movies, which was nice, and usually ones that had just come out. But one guy said, "It kind of feels like BRAZIL." And I just turned to Miguel and said, "He's my new best friend, that guy!" That was also an earlier cut. It's probably less BRAZIL now, and... although, I don't know how I'd describe it now. But, yeah, let's go thirty-thirty-thirty, and another ten thrown in there for extra goodness!

Beaks: Obviously, I don't know how REPO MEN ends, but is this the kind of thing where Universal might be thinking franchise?

Garcia: We've talked about it. We've had discussions in terms of, "Okay, if we do a sequel, what is the next thing?" We kind of know where the next two movies would go, but, at the end of the day, that ain't our decision. If it does really well, that would be nice. I actually started a sequel book to this three years ago; it was actually less a sequel than another story set in the same world with a character who was mentioned in the first book. But we decided we could take elements from that story and use it in [a potential sequel]. There is a way and reason we did things the way we did at the end, so you can possibly continue things.

Beaks: Were you writing this as a franchise, or just as a one-off?

Garcia: As initially written long ago, it was very much written as a one-off thing. But as we started getting into the world, we were like, "Wow, this world is even bigger." So we ended up cutting out parts of the world that we'd love to show. Obviously, we're focusing on these artificial organs, these pieces of metal and silicone that go into you. But a lot of it is a question of... to what degree has this changed the world because it's now possible. It goes all across technology in terms of social order and entertainment, so you can touch on things, but you never really open it up to the full world. And I think that's where a franchise, at least from a creative level, could be really interesting.

Garcia then went on to tell me that he just sold Sony on a remake of a hit '80s film that, in my opinion, is the kind of material studios should be revisiting (i.e. it worked commercially, but not so much artistically). Perhaps we'll have an announcement of some sort within a week or so. REPO MEN opens theatrically on April 2nd, 2010. Looking forward to it. Faithfully submitted, Mr. Beaks

1/14/10 Update... I had hoped to avoid discussing to the ongoing "controversy" regarding the similarities between Garcia/Lerner/Sapochnik's REPO MEN and Darren Lynn Bousman/Terrance Zdunich's REPO! THE GENETIC OPERA (mostly because it seems to be strictly fan-generated at this point), but numerous emails and one full-scale talkback derailment have forced me to address what I consider to be a non-issue. Once you read the following, I'm pretty sure you'll agree that there's nothing but coincidence at play here. In 1997 (four years before the first public performance of REPO! on October 20, 2001), Eric Garcia wrote a short story called "The Telltale Pancreas." As Garcia told me this afternoon, "It's about a bio-repo guy who's on a gig, and it sets up the world in which this guy repossesses artificial organs." Basically, the character in Garcia's story is engaging in organ repossession to keep up the payments on his own artificial pancreas. Garcia showed the story to legendary f/x artist Robert Kurtzman, who thought it could be a movie. Garcia decided to turn it into a novel instead, the first draft of which was completed sometime around 2000. Garcia on the development of the THE REPOSSESSION MAMBO: "I wrote this story at a time when the country was doing okay. We had just entered the dot-com boom and the second term of Clinton. [Bousman and Zdunich] say they began writing their thing in 2000. So it's interesting that we both started writing about these things that are now coming to fruition, with massive interest rates and health care and all that. I understand why people would be making these movies now, but it's weird that both of these ideas came up at a time when you wouldn't expect for them to come up. That's fucking weird, but I have no answer for it." "As a sci-fi writer, I read everything... all the way back to JOHN CARTER OF MARS, and it's weird how our brains get filled with these archetypes, like harvesting bodies for organs. And all it takes is a little leap - and I very specifically remember my leap. I'm from Miami initially, and we used to go back a lot to see family. I was driving with my wife down by where my old high school was, and we passed a pawn store. It was around Valentine's Day, and they had a heart in the window. And I think I said something like, "Oh, look! You can buy hearts at the pawn store!" And that kind of turned into a story. You get fifty ideas like this a day, and forty-nine of them you let go. But that one turned into [a story]." In March 2001, Garcia did an interview with SF Site, in which he discussed a book he "wrote a while ago called THE REPOSSESSION MAMBO." At the time, he hoped it would become his fifth-published book. Again, the first production of REPO! was not until October 2001. Garcia began developing the screenplay of REPOSSESSION MAMBO after meeting television writer Garrett Lerner in 2001. While Lerner was on hiatus from either ROSWELL or JOHN DOE (Garcia couldn't recall which Lerner was working on at the time), the two mapped out the adaptation - which was tricky as Garcia's novel is laden with Vonnegut-esque shifts in time. They went out with their screenplay in summer of 2002, and that's when producer Valerie Dean came on board. As discussed in my initial article, there were many rewrites of what is now called REPO MEN, but if you're looking to allege that Universal molded the film to be more like REPO! THE GENETIC OPERA, well, Zdunich would disagree with that sentiment. From his 12/30/09 blog entry:
All that said, after watching the REPO MEN trailer, I feel that while the two films share a premise, there appears to be little else in common.  REPO! exists as a whacky art film, a sliver of cult cinema.  REPO MEN looks like a gigantically-budgeted Hollywood blockbuster.  And REPO MEN is NOT an opera.
Right after I got off the phone with Garcia, I noticed a talkback from "tensticks", which asserts that Garcia "was a regular audience member" at the live REPO! shows. So I called him right back. "Wholesale fiction," said Garcia. "I have not seen their show." As for the allegation that the novel and screenplay of REPOSSESSION MAMBO/REPO MEN was "developed in the very same building [REPO! THE GENETIC OPERA] was edited..." Garcia disputes this on the basis that the novel and screenplay were developed in his house, where, to the best of his knowledge, REPO! THE GENETIC OPERA was not edited. What's unfortunate is that, at the end of the day, it seems like everyone got what they wanted: Bousman and Zdunich got to make their rock opera (which is now something of a cult phenomenon), while Garcia and Lerner are the sole credited writers on a major Hollywood film. There's just no real conflict here, guys. Everything's good. Nothing was stolen. End of story.

Update 1/14/10 11:09 PM PST Just received this email from REPO! co-writer Terrance Zdunich...
I just read the update to your post - I hadn't when I initially responded to you. Thanks for citing my blog, btw. In terms of REPO! vs Repo Man: I know that Darren Bousman has some stories to share about odd coincidences involving our two studios, so I've cc'd him here. But from my end, as the co-creator of REPO!, all I can comment on is REPO!'s well documented history as a stageplay. You've read my blog, so you've seen some of the physical evidence for this in the form of promotional flyers and such. While I agree with the basic sentiment of your follow-up article - which is a sort of 'who cares?' to the bickering over who came up with the idea of organ repossession first - I think that fans of the two films do care. Their impassioned comments are evidence of this. I know that when REPO! was green-lit as a film, and Repossession Mambo was brought up to our producers, legal teams were paid a lot of money to research the very same question that fans are now asking. To my knowledge, no evidence of Eric Garcia's short story came up during this search. As a writer, I know that just because something isn't published doesn't mean that it doesn't exist, but Darren Smith (REPO!'s co-author) and I were forced to meticulously demonstrate the history of REPO! to our legal teams, which we did. Honestly, I think that "The Telltale Pancreas" is an awesome title, and I would very much love to read the work if it ever becomes available for public consumption. Bottom-line: as underdogs in the big world of Hollywood, REPO! fans can rest easy knowing that REPO!'s long-standing history is transparent and readily available to anyone who's interested in doing just a little research. Thanks again for shining a spotlight on our film, and for wanting to hear all sides of the argument. Best, ~Terrance

Readers Talkback
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  • Jan. 14, 2010, 2:42 a.m. CST

    Repo! The Genetic Opera?

    by Lazakesau

    So no one is going to mention at all how this film is basically a non-opera version of that film? Fucking head-in-the-sand douchebags.

  • Jan. 14, 2010, 2:58 a.m. CST

    Repo! The Genetic Opera

    by Revscapegoat

    We'll no doubt get the usual "But Repo! TGO didn't do so well, so who cares that this film stole the entire premise?" B.S. from folk who didn't like TGO...

  • Jan. 14, 2010, 3:11 a.m. CST

    Repo MAN

    by TommyExtraStout

    Nothing with a similar title will be better than Alex Cox's masterpiece.

  • Jan. 14, 2010, 3:50 a.m. CST

    "Repo! The Genetic Opera"?

    by buggerbugger

    No, because some of us have longer memories than that. Pick up some old issues of 2000AD from the early '80s or something.

  • Jan. 14, 2010, 5:59 a.m. CST

    Repo Vs. Repo: The REAL Story, From Its Creator

    by tensticks

    Last time there was a REPO thread, I got into a fruitless debate with the REPO MEN trolls, doing my utmost to explain the true history of these two projects, how interrelated they are, and how utterly wrong this is. This time, I'm going to save myself the time and typing, and refer you to a blog on the subject by my friend Mr. Terrance Zdunich, writer/creator (with Darren Smith) and star of REPO! THE GENETIC OPERA. He spells it all out here, for any of you who want to take the time to bother to rad it; and with this, I leave the subject be.

  • Jan. 14, 2010, 6:01 a.m. CST

    Oh, and Alex Cox...

    by tensticks

    SHOULD sue, because he was indeed there first, and the original REPO MAN from 84 is one of the greatest films of all time. BTW should have been *read, not *rad, above.

  • Jan. 14, 2010, 6:28 a.m. CST

    Two reasons why this dude Beaks has no credibility...

    by nothingasitseems

    1. You can't even edit your own writing (which in all fairness, no one on this site seems to know how to do that) 2. You thought Bring it On and Anchorman was two of the best films of the past ten years.

  • Jan. 14, 2010, 6:39 a.m. CST

    Who are the ad wizards...

    by wampa 1

    ...that came up with this one?

  • Jan. 14, 2010, 7:02 a.m. CST

    Jude Law is perfect for this. Also, Beaks is a dick interviewer

    by dr sauch

    Really, Quint is the best interviewer on this site. Beaks is likely tied for best reviewer with Massawyrm. Harry is just a fat trademark.

  • Jan. 14, 2010, 7:29 a.m. CST

    What kind of journalist are you?

    by clupula

    You don't even mention the similarities between the two movies? Amazing how you could completely ignore that there already was a movie with almost the exact same plot, which was pitched to the makers of this film.<BR><BR>I don't think anything on this site has ever actually infuriated me before. I am glad to see that you endorse plagiarism.

  • Jan. 14, 2010, 7:39 a.m. CST

    I uh... (Laughs) eat babies!

    by YackBacker

    WTF is with the "(Laughs)" shit?

  • Jan. 14, 2010, 7:41 a.m. CST

    Cue Repo Opera miming goth fury talkback

    by Bileranter

    it's coming.....and the endless arguement will continue until it veers off onto some small point someone made and then will be talked about until everyone loses interest. Still think this looks worth a watch though. Even if you can't mime to the songs.

  • Jan. 14, 2010, 7:47 a.m. CST

    Stop cockblocking this movie

    by seppukudkurosawa

    with your whining about that wannabe Whedon musical and its lack of success. This is obviously something tonally different: more like a cross between Minority Report, a Cronenberg body horror movie and one of those strange 2000 AD strips. And unless there's a sideplot where Jude Law repossesses someone's car by dint of payment, Alex Cox suing the producers of this movie would be ridiculous. It's a different title. If all the movies released recently with "9" in the title managed to happily co-exist, surely Alex Cox, The Whedon Horror Show and this movie can all get along, too.

  • Jan. 14, 2010, 7:50 a.m. CST

    We grew up together.....

    by smirker

    But somehow my best buddy in the world Forrest Whitaker doesn't have my ENGLISH ACCENT. Yours sincerely, Jude Law.

  • Jan. 14, 2010, 7:51 a.m. CST

    For those just tuning in...

    by JackLucas

    Lions Gate gave Repo! The Genetic Opera ZERO marketing or promotions budget. That equals no money for Harry in return for promotion on this site. This other work of CLEAR PLAGIARISM is being released by Universal Pictures who are giving it a bit of a push and hence... coverage on this site with ZERO mention of Repo! The Genetic Opera. In fact it wouldn't surprise me in the least if one of the stipulations of Beaks getting that interview was that he not bring up The Genetic Opera in the course of his questions. It's either that or Beaks is just a really terrible "journalist". That topic is open for debate. So... "Bring It On." ;)

  • Jan. 14, 2010, 8:10 a.m. CST

    Have any of you actually read any of Beaks'

    by seppukudkurosawa

    writing for this site? All you guys have to go on is the fact that you don't agree with his Top 100 of the decade. Try coming up with one yourself, and I'll guarantee it'll either be an utterly homogenized waste of both yours and my time, or it'll be littered full of left-field choices with which most people will disagree.<p> Now, s'far as his actual intros to news items go, he's the only one on the team at the moment who voices opinions informed both on fact and passion for the subjects at hand (like, say, a cross between Harry's writing and that of a broadsheet).<p> So he didn't mention your middling musical? If that's really the worst thing this site has ever done, then AICN really IS a bastion of journalistic integrity.

  • Jan. 14, 2010, 8:20 a.m. CST

    Alex Cox won't be suing

    by rev_skarekroe

    I don't think he owns anything related to Repo Man. In fact, I believe Universal is trying to stop him from releasing his own upcoming film, Repo Chick. Please someone correct me if I'm mistaken.

  • Jan. 14, 2010, 8:21 a.m. CST

    Also, Repo - The Genetic Opera wasn't very good.

    by rev_skarekroe

    Maybe the guy should try writing an actual tune next time. Or telling a coherent, straightforward story.

  • Jan. 14, 2010, 8:24 a.m. CST

    shut the fuck up about the opera shit

    by Waka_Flocka_Flame

    NO ONE CARES!!!!

  • Jan. 14, 2010, 8:26 a.m. CST

    Beaks does fuck up a lot tho seuppuku

    by Waka_Flocka_Flame

    and he also comes across as a patronising arse kisser know it all as well. usually he tries to reference some obscure movie to show how clever he is to the person he's interviewing.

  • Jan. 14, 2010, 8:27 a.m. CST

    he also gets butthurt and deletes stuff

    by Waka_Flocka_Flame

    like he probably will with most these responses. i will say i liked this interview though.

  • Jan. 14, 2010, 8:50 a.m. CST

    I HATED Repo TGO...

    by JerseyJedi08

    but this is fucking bullshit. One of the most blatant ripoffs I've ever seen, and Beaks didn't even have the mind (or the balls) to make the connection and put the "screenwriter" to task. So much for journalistic integrity.

  • Jan. 14, 2010, 9 a.m. CST

    OK, maybe you're right about Beaks

    by seppukudkurosawa

    I can't say I've been following his every move closely enough to say too much about him. He seems OK to me, though...<p> I will say one thing, however: I reckon half of this Genetic Opera bitching is just tensticks on different accounts. He kind of proved his...erm...fervour about the subject that last talkback when he personally responded to EVERY OTHER talkbacker in the talkback.<p> My opinion on that movie's about the same as skarekroe's. It doesn't take much to go to the shower and hum yourself a memorable enough tune. But Repo: TGO decided to go more the warble the script route. It's the same thing that made Sweeney Todd pretty forgettable: no matter how gory or morbid you make the subject matter, if the thing you're making's a musical you better hope the music's worth a damn.

  • Jan. 14, 2010, 9:10 a.m. CST

    Seriously, enough with this opera shit

    by dr sauch

    Yes, they're the same. This is an action movie, it looks good, stop all the BAAAAWWWWW-ing.

  • Jan. 14, 2010, 9:42 a.m. CST

    Repo Chick — Am I the only one that wants to see this?

    by blakindigo

  • Jan. 14, 2010, 9:43 a.m. CST


    by Bileranter

    tagline "She wants your organ" I'm looking forward to the sequel "Repo Chicks"

  • Jan. 14, 2010, 10:03 a.m. CST

    Seriously, AICN should be covering Repo Chick instead

    by rev_skarekroe

    Why not champion the underdog instead?<p>And while they're at it, why not throw out some coverage on The Wicker Tree, another followup to a cult classic that's having a hard time seeing the light of day?

  • Jan. 14, 2010, 10:10 a.m. CST

    it's hard not to follow his every move

    by Waka_Flocka_Flame

    when most of them involve deleting my accounts lol

  • Jan. 14, 2010, 10:16 a.m. CST

    And there we have it...

    by Revscapegoat

    People without the ability to argue properly falling back on "Goths mime to Repo!TGO, therefore it must be rubbish, and the fact that this plot is stolen therefore doesn't matter." So what if some of the fans like to do the "shadowcast" thing? Rocky Horror fans have been doing it for far far longer, and it's fun for those that attend those shows. And it's not like attendance is mandatory, so if you don't like it - DON'T GO! As for the music - I'm a fan of Skinny Puppy and Rob Zombie, so I like quite a few of the tracks on there. Some are of questionable quality, but that's just my opinion and if others dig the tunes, then good for them. The fact remains that there's been some foul play - And while Repo Men does look like a very entertaining film, the makers should be taken to task for their plagiarism.

  • Jan. 14, 2010, 10:24 a.m. CST

    Mo' powah to Cox and Repo Chick

    by seppukudkurosawa

    I swear Hunter S Thompson put a hex on Alex Cox during that scene in Breakfast With Hunter where Cox suggested making the "high water mark" scene animated. His career's gone to shit since then. I guess Sid & Nancy and Repo Man were his only classics, but most of his films have shit to recommend them: Joe Strummer and Elvis Costello in a punk-Western? Nice.<p> Here's hoping Repo Chick gets a proper release.

  • Jan. 14, 2010, 10:26 a.m. CST

    (And the Skinny Puppy/Ogre tracks

    by seppukudkurosawa

    were the only ones I liked).<p>

  • Jan. 14, 2010, 10:27 a.m. CST

    What a fluff piece

    by IAmLegolas

    no mention of REPO! THE GENETIC OPERA at all. All bullshit aside, it would have been a fair enough question.

  • Jan. 14, 2010, 10:28 a.m. CST


    by Bileranter

    Don't go for the bait my friend. It was going to happen here whether I said that or not. Ok, I won't go. I was planning to take a week off work to celebrate my attendance to see people standing miming to songs in front of a movie screen but I have decided against it now. I'll have to find some other treat for myself before the cancer finally get me.

  • Jan. 14, 2010, 12:13 p.m. CST

    Plagiarism... really?

    by Pvt. Noguchi

    Was Deep Impact plagiarizing Armageddon? Was Brazil, or V for Vendetta, or Equilibrium plagiarizing 1984 or a Brave New World? Hell, was Repo TGO plagiarizing AD2000 or (and here my geek really shows) the RIFTS RPG? NO! because you can't plagiarize a fucking idea! (obviously IP is a bit different). They could make Repo Men into a fucking musical and it still wouldn't be plagiarism. There are only so many plots, ideas, and story lines out there kids, and they've all been used in some form or another. Its how you put the story together, and the dialog you write, that counts. You can't copy write a fucking plot. <br> Also, if you want REPO TGO to be memorable, maybe you shouldn't have made it suck so much.

  • Jan. 14, 2010, 12:14 p.m. CST

    er... copyright, i meant copyright

    by Pvt. Noguchi

    fucking lack of edit button.

  • Jan. 14, 2010, 2:14 p.m. CST


    by Toonol

    Calls of plagiarism seem ridiculous. If this movie stole from Repo:TGO, than you have to decry TGO for stealing from other sources. This has been a SF concept in many stories running back decades.<p> It's as stupid and shallow as thinking Avatar stole from Dances with Wolves. Really? Your knowledge of literature and film only goes back that far?

  • Jan. 14, 2010, 2:50 p.m. CST


    by mrbeaks

    Hardly surprising that two writers came up with (slightly) similar spins on the organ harvesting subgenre. Timing may be curious, but, as Pvt. Noguchi pointed out, these coincidences happen frequently in Hollywood (e.g. age-swapping, killer meteors, underwater ALIENS rip-offs, etc.) Keep in mind that Garcia began writing this screenplay with Garrett Lerner in 2002 - and that it's a sci-fi action film. Hard to see how this project would diminish the impact/profitability of a cult horror musical that was *never* aimed at the mainstream. You want to bitch at someone? Go after Lionsgate for barely releasing REPO! (Although I don't fault them at all for being iffy on the commercial appeal Bousman's film.) <br><br>And I'm sorry for mentioning such "obscure" movies as ROBOCOP and YOJIMBO in my last two interviews. Total reach on my part.

  • Jan. 14, 2010, 3:41 p.m. CST

    Uh but you didn't even bring it up!

    by von_agrippa

    Neither one of these films can say they came up with an original idea. But it's a pretty serious omission not even address R:TGO with the writer of this new film.

  • Jan. 14, 2010, 3:55 p.m. CST

    My last word...(for now)

    by tensticks

    To the above criticism that I have multiple accounts, no, I have only this one. I'm simply not the only one who feels passionately about this. That's why in this case I let the writer of REPO speak for himself, for any of you who bother to actually READ his blog. (And Beaks, I'm sorry, but it's right there in black & white that RTGO predates this project by years.) The part that he left OUT of his blog is that Garcia was a regular audience member at their live shows, and that the Repo script/novel was developed in the very same building where TGO was edited! Is Lionsgate to blame for not supporting their film? Absolutely. But don't get made at its creators and fans doing what the studio failed/refused to do. In any case, REPO MEN has been in the can for a couple years already, and they're burying it in the slowest time of the year. I don't expect it to be a hit in any case, much less a potential franchise. But so be it. Just wanted to set the rest of the record straight.

  • Jan. 14, 2010, 3:56 p.m. CST

    *mad not made

    by tensticks

  • Jan. 14, 2010, 4:25 p.m. CST

    I Didn't Bring It Up Because...

    by mrbeaks

    ... a) it doesn't interest me, and b) I'm familiar with the story, and from what I've heard, *at most* Universal wanted to make an organ repossession film after dinging REPO!, so they found one. If true (and I don't think it is), this happens all the time in Hollywood. Sucks for Bousman and company that they couldn't get a major studio to back their rock opera, but I'm pretty sure rock operas were as anathema in 2002 as they are in 2010. Also, they did get to make their film on their own terms (without heavy studio interference), and now have a cult phenom that will be loved by its fans for years to come. In the end, everyone pretty much got what they wanted (save for a wide release, but that was probably never in the cards for something as niche as REPO!). So what's the controversy again?<br><br>In any event, I got further comment from Garcia, and will update ASAP. This should put the "controversy" to bed.

  • Jan. 14, 2010, 5:41 p.m. CST

    his BRAZIL love

    by frank cotton

    sold me. BRAZIL IS THE GREATEST FILM OF ALL TIME. and i really liked REPO! - films are often made into musicals; why not the reverse?

  • Jan. 14, 2010, 5:44 p.m. CST

    This Talkback's Intense!

    by pokadoo

    Repo Man's ALWAYS Intense!

  • Jan. 14, 2010, 5:52 p.m. CST


    by Revscapegoat

    If you sought comment from Garcia... Why not seek comment from Bousman, Zdunich or Smith?

  • Jan. 14, 2010, 6:31 p.m. CST

    "There's room to move as a fry cook, Otto."

    by fiester

    "The life of a repo man is always intense." <p> But there's only one true Repo Man movie and it stars the other Sheen kid.

  • Jan. 14, 2010, 6:37 p.m. CST

    Well, So Be It

    by tensticks

    I'm prepared to stand corrected on those of my assertions that have been disputed by Mr. Garcia, and I'm happy to let Mr. Zdunich's comments stand in regard to the history of his project and his view on the relationship of the two films. As to any other dealings, known, or unknown, well....that's showbiz, kid. Letting the matter rest, as of now.

  • Jan. 14, 2010, 6:39 p.m. CST

    Update Posted

    by mrbeaks

  • Jan. 14, 2010, 8:11 p.m. CST

    I'm sorry, QUINT is the "best" interviewer?

    by BitterMan23

    The guy who spends half the interview asking the talent if they've seen whatever random movie just popped in his head, and the other half name-dropping? His interviews read like Eli "I'm friends with Quentin!" Roth penning Chris Farley's talk show sketch from SNL. Beaks' interviews are the only ones here with any respectability. And the fact that he did a bunch of legwork just to appease a few talkbacker's claims shows more effort than anyone else on this site can muster.

  • Jan. 14, 2010, 11:53 p.m. CST

    I agree, Beaks always

    by BillEmic

    goes the extra mile. Quint has better people skills when he interviews people, maybe, but Beaks has more thought out, geektastic questions that get the subjects to think a little.

  • Jan. 15, 2010, 1:27 a.m. CST

    Ummmm, where is Harry's Sherlock Holmes review?

    by DoctorFalcorMD

  • Jan. 15, 2010, 1:28 a.m. CST

    How hard is it to bang out a few thoughts on a damn

    by DoctorFalcorMD

    movie? I mean we fucking pay for your life support dude?

  • Jan. 15, 2010, 2:37 a.m. CST

    i call bullshit

    by VonThunderballs

    repo! the genetic opera was there first and will be superior to this jude law exhibition of douchebaggery.

  • Jan. 15, 2010, 4 a.m. CST

    I loved the Genetic Opera

    by TeenAngst73

    So I won't be seeing this Hollywoodized version of the same premise.

  • Jan. 15, 2010, 4:07 a.m. CST

    Thanks, mrbeaks :)

    by Revscapegoat

    Objectivity is satisfied, and both sides have had their say :)

  • Jan. 15, 2010, 5:36 a.m. CST


    by seppukudkurosawa

    Who'd've figured AICN had its own Woodward and Bernstein rolled into one? Game. Set. & Match.

  • Jan. 15, 2010, 8:23 a.m. CST

    "We've come for your liver."

    by Pseudo

    "But I'm still using it." Both these productions fail to mention (that I've seen) the influence of "Monty Pythons the Meaning of Life." Anyone who has seen that movie will forever remember the organ doner scene. Ah, the blood, the screaming, the horror of removing a liver from a live and, very, unwilling person. I'm giggling just remembering it. ??Pseudo?? out.

  • Jan. 15, 2010, 9:11 a.m. CST

    Organ theft

    by SSquirrel

    Cyberpunk books and various sci-fi RPGs like RIFTS have had chop shops for years. People getting killed and their bionic appendages being removed. Plus Monty Python as Pseudo mentioned. Neither are completely original ideas. Repo! has held no interest for me, largely b/c I have some friends who really browncoated it. Just would not shut up about it. I like Jude Law and Forrest Whitaker and Liev Schreiber tho.

  • Jan. 15, 2010, 9:44 a.m. CST

    For everyone who loves REPO! did you actually listen

    by Lovecraftfan

    to the songs. Becuase they were quite awful. When a movie is an opera and the music fails the movie fails

  • Jan. 15, 2010, 9:59 a.m. CST

    can we have your liver then?

    by egomeme

    Looks kind of fun,at least its R.

  • Jan. 15, 2010, 10:31 a.m. CST

    liver 2

    by egomeme

    so repo men is a buddy cop version of the liver reposession sketgh from monty python?Maybe THEY should sue?

  • Jan. 15, 2010, 12:55 p.m. CST

    Nice that Beaks is attempting impartiality..

    by Jaka

    ...because AICN needs more of it. But who really cares? Or if you do, why does it matter? It's not like every movie ever made in Hollywood isn't immediately aped in some way by a producer/writer/director for ANOTHER movie. It's an ever perpetuating cycle. So two movies with a similar premise were released close together? How is this such a big deal? Is anybody REALLY under the impression that studios don't look to other films for ideas? This hullabaloo just seems a bit made up on this one.

  • Jan. 15, 2010, 1:20 p.m. CST

    Unwilling Organ Donation / Theft

    by cymbalta4thedevil

    has been a popular Urban Legend since at least the early 90's. I bought one of the Urban Legend books just to convince a co-worker that it wasn't actually happening when he kept telling people "The Guy goes to Vegas and wakes up in a bathtub with a kidney missing Story" as something that had really happened to the friend of somebody he met in a bar!<br /><br />I would imagine horror and science fiction writers have been playing around with the story possibilities since organ transplants or organ donation became possible in the first place. Examining current fears or issues through the allegory of Science Fiction is a longstanding practice. Some other posters have mentioned 2000 AD or cyberpunk variations, but I'm sure the idea has been around WAY longer than that. <br /><br />The Monty Python bit is based on the reason people often give for not wanting to sign an organ donor card: their fear that if they're in an accident the hospital would rather let them die so they can harvest their organs than save them. Having them show up to harvest them while you're still alive is the logical satiric extrapolation of that fear.<br /><br />I haven't seen REPO! TGO but I did read the blog referenced above and the fact that one of the writers would delude himself to think that his Organ Repossession in a Futuristic Setting idea was an original one in the first place is laughable. Hell FARSCAPE did an episode about Organ Harvesting. And what about "Spock's Brain" back in the 60's? It's an OLD Sci-Fi Trope. They just put a new spin on it and had people singing. Way to Go.

  • Jan. 15, 2010, 1:40 p.m. CST

    props to beaks for the follow up

    by Waka_Flocka_Flame

    and these opera! fan losers just got REPOWNED

  • Jan. 15, 2010, 5:04 p.m. CST

    These updates make it clear that tensticks

    by DennisMM

    is just the divisive, lying troll he appeared on the surface. FU, jackass. <P> I remember reading, in one of the "Dangerous Visions" anthologies, I think, a story called "Caught in the Organ Draft." It was just a sketch, but the concept was that certain crimes led to execution and organ harvest (not unlike in China today, supposedly). The kicker was that as demand grew for organs among the rich and elderly, more and more crimes were penalized by death and organ harvest. The poor - young and very healthy - protagonist winds up being sentenced to death for speeding tickets or some such. Robert Silverberg wrote the story.

  • Jan. 15, 2010, 5:24 p.m. CST

    Reminds me of the controversy around "The Island"

    by Gozu

    Remember that, when everyone accused "The Island" of stealing it's idea from "Parts: The Clonus Horror" (the masterpiece that ended up on MST3K). And even those were about harvesting organs! And what they all seem to have in common is lazy writing and sloppy execution. We got spoiled last year with more good sci-fi in one year than in the past decade ("Moon," "District 9," "Star Trek," "Avatar") and only one of them was a reboot ("District 9" was an adaptation of a short film, but since it's the same director and an original concept, it gets a pass).

  • Jan. 15, 2010, 5:39 p.m. CST

    "They stole one of his kidneys...

    by JoeBoozio

    Now they want the other one too!" That's a tagline from The Harvest, which came out in 1992, and was HARDLY original for the time. (Although it does feature George Clooney in one of his first roles: 'Lip Synching Tranvsestite' - I am not making this up.) Are we really saying there's a huge leap from the concept of organ harvesting to the concept of organ repo-ing? That seems silly to me. Plus, a friend of mine wrote a story in the sixth grade, (1986), called "Organ Bounty Hunters", which is essentially the same idea. I guess it's just the rabid fanbase of the musical that refuses to believe it's possible anybody else came up with this idea. Seems petty to me, but hey, I'm just a guy that likes movies. Even if they've already been done. I suppose if Fritz Lang was still alive, he'd have a shitload of people to sue after he made Metropolis. (Or Thea von Harbou.)

  • Jan. 16, 2010, 12:49 p.m. CST

    Repossesion Mambo

    by Tumor_Binks

    Would have been a better title and a change they will regret making just cos a few stupid execs. Trailer looks great and I saw an extended version by Miguel that looks even better. Could be a new Bladerunner... "could"...

  • Jan. 16, 2010, 3:04 p.m. CST


    by tensticks

    Whatever. I've been on this site, under this name and no other, for over ten years. I rarely bother to put myself in the "Jay & Silent Bob Strikes Back" mode and post ANYTHING unless I'm either passionate or knowledgeable about the subject. In this case, both. Otherwise, flame wars with the ignorant are not worth my time. Which is why with the updates from Garcia and Terrance, I said I'd let the matter rest, and I have. I've been vindicated both publicly and personally, and that's enough for me. Peace.

  • Jan. 17, 2010, 12:54 a.m. CST

    My guy-liner is running

    by MacReady452

    TGO is so good it makes me cut myself. I hate my dad. boo hoo hoo. Now back to miming along with Coraline.

  • Jan. 18, 2010, 9:14 a.m. CST

    I can't believe Beaks tried to ignore the biggest story here

    by D.Vader

    Whether it's a "non-issue" or not, ignoring what is unarguably the biggest story regarding this film- it's similarities to Repo: The Genetic Opera- was a BIG mistake. You can't expect pple to learn the truth nor can you expect them to understand what came first by not addressing the issue. Beaks would have better served the author and the film by bringing the subject up early and gettig it out of the way to focus on the more important aspects of the interview.

  • Jan. 18, 2010, 9:22 a.m. CST

    The updates were far more interesting than the rest

    by D.Vader

    I think the reason the talkback was "derailed" is bc it's such an interesting coincidence and as fanboys we want to get to the truth of such matters. It's like Zdunich said: fans do care. It's important to them.

  • Jan. 18, 2010, 10:31 a.m. CST

    Who cares

    by IAmLegolas

    This movie will tank anyway, while REPO! will live on as a cult movie. Can't believe people are blindly defending REPO MEN anyway, are you a bunch of Universal Pictures interns?

  • Jan. 18, 2010, 10:32 a.m. CST

    Kind of weird, eh?

    by IAmLegolas

    That the novel that REPO MEN is based on was published at the same time the movie is more or less out. 2001 (movie) this ain't.

  • Jan. 18, 2010, 11:34 a.m. CST

    Looks cool...


    ...and I am looking forward to viewing this film...even though an actor I can-t stand-Forrest WHitaker-is in it.

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