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Alex Cox on 'Repo Man' Sequel

The creator of 1984 cult classic ''Repo Man'' takes us inside ''Waldo's Hawaiian Holiday,'' the new graphic novel that (finally!) continues the story

Repo Man, Emilio Estevez | REPO MAN
Image credit: Everett Collection
REPO MAN

Great, loopy, cult movies don't come much greater, loopier, or more cultish than 1984's Repo Man. A freewheeling blend of black comedy, science-fiction, drug use, conspiracy theories, and anti-corporate polemic, the film was centered on a car-repossessing suburban malcontent named Otto (Emilio Estevez) and a possibly alien corpse-containing Chevy Malibu. Made by first-time Brit director Alex Cox, Repo Man boasted a titanic punk-rock soundtrack — led by Iggy Pop's title song — and appearances from such top-notch character actors as Harry Dean Stanton and Tracey Walter. It also featured an utterly bizarre conclusion in which Otto and the Chevy disappear into the sky, leaving viewers to ponder quite where the hell they have gone.

That question will finally be answered — well, sort of — on March 31 when Gestalt Publishing releases Waldo's Hawaiian Holiday, a Cox-penned graphic-novel sequel to his debut movie. Set a decade after the original film, the comic finds our hero returning home from parts — or possibly planets — unknown, with no clue as to how he spent the last decade. It also finds him insisting that he is called ''Waldo.'' In fact, Waldo may not really be Otto at all. Confused? So are we. Which is why, in addition to presenting new, exclusive pages from chapter 3 of Waldo (follow the link on the last page here), EW called Cox to talk about the comic, as well as the belated DVD release of his 1987 war movie Walker and why major film studios aren't always that evil.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: What was the genesis of Waldo's Hawaiian Holiday?
ALEX COX: In '94-'95, I wrote it as a film script and gave it to Peter McCarthy, who was one of the original producers of Repo Man. And he showed it to Jonathan Wacks, who was the other original producer, and they said, ''Let's take it to [ex-Monkee and Repo Man executive producer] Michael Nesmith and have him present it to Universal officially.'' We all came down for the meeting at Universal, and the executive that we had been delegated to meet was, like, 21 years old and had never seen the original Repo Man. [Laughs] And so it was an absurd meeting of these four old men and this sprightly individual who just didn't know what we were doing in his office. Nothing came of it. Then we thought, Well, we'll try to make it independently. So Peter really did try and raise the money in the independent sphere by attaching cast and that kind of thing.

Who was attached?
We had asked Willem Dafoe to be in it. We had asked Harry Dean Stanton. We originally contacted Emilio Estevez and asked him if he wanted to be Waldo. But it all fell apart. And you know — ah! — you're looking at another film that you've pursued for a couple of years and then it doesn't come to fruition and you have to let it go. Until, this comic book.

How did the artist, Chris Bones, get involved?
He sent me an email. I put something on my website, saying that if anyone wants to make their own version of Waldo's Hawaiian Holiday to get in touch and I'd give them a license for a year or so to do it. If it made any money, we'd split it 50-50. And Bones did this thing, which is quite visually extraordinary.

NEXT PAGE: ''Basically, everybody in Waldo is a coded version of somebody in Repo Man.''

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