Alex Cox (Bebington, December 15, 1954), is a British director, screenwriter and actor, who reached the category of cult director with his debut work, ‘Repo Man: The Retriever’. His passion for cinema began as a child, when he saw the film ‘Throne of Blood’ by Akira Kurosawa on television. He studied film in England for a year, and then spent three years at UCLA in Los Angeles. His first two films, ‘Repo Man: El recuperador’ (1984) and ‘Sid & Nancy’ (1986), -in which he debuted as an actor- were strongly influenced by the aesthetic movement coming from punk, with which he was closely identified. , and in turn strongly influenced the future of the culture on which they were based. In love with Spain since he visited us for the premiere of ¿repo Man ‘, he shot between us his third feature film,’ Straight to Hell ‘(1987), an independent spaghetti western starring Joe Strummer and a cast that was completed by musicians like Elvis Costello. Courtney Love, Grace Jones and actors / directors Dennis Hopper and Jim Jarmusch, which further enhanced his cult filmmaker aura. He named his production company ‘The Exterminating Angel’, in homage to the film of the same name by Luis Buñuel.
Having made a short film, his feature debut was relatively easy for him. Cox himself has related it: «After leaving UCLA I met two old friends: Jonathan Wacks and Peter McCarthy who had a company and an office in Venice, California, where they were doing commercials. I suggested to them that they should also be feature film producers and hire me as a director. They agreed to consider this. The future filmmaker continued his gripping story: “The first script I wrote for them was a comedy about veterans with nuclear explosions and nerve gas robbers set in the early years of the 21st century). It was quite expensive, so I wrote another script: ‘Repo Man’, based on my own experience in the world of punk and working for Mark Lewis, a car shipper from Los Angeles and my neighbor in Venice, to make the package more Interesting for investors, I drew four pages of a comic based on the script and included them in it. I had planned to do a full comic at one point, but it’s too much work – a page a day at most, and hard on the eyes. Michael Nesmith, a former member of The Monkees, saw the script / comic package, was interested and brought it to Universal »
Universal was very concerned with the production and release of ‘Streets of Fire’ and paid little attention to the script, which was incredibly cheap to produce. In mixed science fiction and comedy telling the story of Otto, a young man who does not know what to do with his life until he discovers how to earn a few dollars by recovering cars from people who do not pay their debts. Meanwhile, a madman has stolen something from a secret army laboratory and hides it in the trunk of his car. Otto will be involved in a plot with UFOs, aliens and mad scientists. That something can change the world. Emilio Estevez is chosen protagonist. Also in the cast are Harry Dean Stanton and Tracey Walter.
The film begins to shoot in Los Angeles in 1983, but when filming is about to end, the head of Universal dismissed, and the new one cancels all the projects in progress. Recalls Cox: “Peter, Jonathan and I, Edge City Productions, ran an ad on Variety, reprinting a good review we got there. as a challenge for Universal to bring the image to theaters. The studio’s response was to lean on Pan American World AIrlines’ head of public relations, Dick Barkle, to condemn the film. Mr Barkle declared himself shocked by ‘Repo Man’ and added: “I hope they don’t show this movie in Russia.” But the film had a huge asset in its favor, a soundtrack full of punk groups, whose fans were eager to see ‘Repo Man’ and filming was successfully completed. “
The film is presented at the Berlin Film Festival where it is advertised for the whole world. In the United States it was released on March 2, 1984 and it would arrive in Spain through the Madrid Fantastic Film Festival ‘Imagfic’, although it would take four more years to reach theaters. But they had not all finished due to problems for ‘Repo Man’. To edit it on video / dvd and that it could be seen on televisions and even on airplanes, a much ‘softer’ montage was made, suppressing the large number of bad-sounding words from the film and even some scenes. Despite everything ‘Repo Man’ was a great success and established Alex Cox as a cult director.