On working in the reinvented world of Alex Cox's 80's cult hit, `Repo Man'.
by Silas Lesnick
Arriving more than 25 years after launching his directing career with the cult classic Repo Man, Alex Cox returns for a sort-of-sequel, Repo Chick. Unlike his 2008 comic book sequel, Waldo’s Hawaiian Holiday (which followed up on Emilio Estevez’s character, Otto), Repo Chick aims for a more thematic approach, reinventing the repo scenario through the lens of spoiled rich girl Pixxi De La Chasse. Cox offers an incredibly bizarre tale that includes antique trains and a terrorist vying to have the game of golf made illegal.
Jaclyn Jonet, who Cox introduced to moviegoers with his film, Searchers 2.0, steps into the role of Pixxi and talked with CraveOnline about the the director, working on a primarily greenscreen set and where she’s headed in the near future.
CraveOnline: You worked with Alex Cox before "Repo Chick". He cast you in “Searchers 2.0”.
Jaclyn Jonet: Yeah. I worked with him in ’07, I think it was. He gave me my first job with “Searchers 2.0”. We shot it in Utah and it was a great experience. I was really lucky to work with him again because he’s a great director and a great person.
Crave: Can you talk about meeting him for the first time and the on-set experience in both films?
Jaclyn: Meeting him for the first time, to be honest, I didn’t really realize who he was and I think that actually worked in my favor in terms of the audition process. I had gone in with the casting director and then had gone back in and met him. I thought he brilliant immediately. He was incredibly enthusiastic, full of live and gentle. It really just icing on the cake to hear that he was such an artistic and prolific director once I got the job. Then working with him was wonderful. With “Searchers” there was a lot of time on the road. There were about 15 of us, so it was an intimate experience. He tends to hire his friends and people that he’s worked with before, so there’s a really beautiful family feeling. At first I was a little nervous just because everyone had pretty much worked with him before. I wasn’t at all an issue, though. I felt incredibly comfortable and safe and had a great time with that. Working, then, on “Repo” was a totally different type of film. It was an intense shoot as well because both of these films were shot in about 14 days. There wasn’t much time to shoot it, but we ended up having no problem with that just because we really understood each other . Having that previous experience really helped “Repo” as well.
Crave: His films tend to have a very funny sense of humor. Is the tone on set very jokey?
Jaclyn: It’s a lot of fun. He’s brilliant. Everything about him just very pure and very sharp. I’ve actually learned a lot from him, not only as an actress but as a person. He’s very smart. I would ask a question the response was always generous and patient. That’s just the sort of environment it was. It wasn’t necessarily a sort of yuk yuk yuk silly humor. The sense of humor that he is has is powerful and inspiring and dry and ironic and very safe and loving. Very strong in spirit.
Crave: As an actress, was there a very strict screenplay or was there room for improv?
Jaclyn: A little bit. We would play a little, but I tried to honor the script. Particularly when the director is also the writer, you try to honor what’s written as much as you can. Even when the writer isn’t the director. But you get a sense, whoever you work with, of whether they want to stick to those words or not. But that’s not to say that he wasn’t open to play or suggestions or ideas. In the end, it wound up being pretty much the script.
Crave: Tell me about the shooting. It’s a lot of greenscreen.
Jaclyn: Yeah, almost all greenscreen. It was a bit like the stage because you’re creating the environment in your imagination. Having had theater experience, it was difficult at times because you want to make sure you’re creating the sense of the theme, but, with film, it’s also more of the director’s medium. With greenscreen, I trust that his brilliance and ability to visually tell a story would come through on that level. I had to both concentrate and also make sure that I wasn’t thinking too much about it. It was an amazing environment to work with. I had never worked with greenscreen before.
Crave: What is a dream role for you?
Jaclyn: Really, as long as I’m learning. About people, about myself. It’s hard to say. Dream role isn’t really my thing. Dream situation is more what I’m interested in as an actor. I really enjoy working with creative people who are creative and innovative and unique. Who let that show through on screen a bit. As far a dream role, as long as I can sink my teeth into it and just have a good time and know that I’m going to learn something about a person and come out of it feeling like a better actor. I want to dig around and play and work with good people. I don’t think of it as “I want to play with this or that person”. I just want to be part of a creative environment and not be penned in by a traditional environment. That’s really the ideal situation for me.
Crave: Did you rewatch the first “Repo Man” when you were auditioning?
Jaclyn: I actually remember going home to my boyfriend and the time and telling him and he was a bit older. I was born the year after “Repo Man” came out. He was just over the moon and couldn’t believe that I got the part. We had a whole weekend of Alex Cox films. I learned very quickly how lucky I was to be working with such a creative and talented man. But I ended up watching everything from “Highway Patrolman” to “Three Businessmen” to “Repo Man” to “Sid and Nancy” to “Straight to Hell”. I did all my groundwork, trying to be respectful and he appreciated that quite a bit.
Crave: That’s one of those things that people go through with his movies, even as audience members. You come across a weird, offbeat, funny film and later realize that he was the one that directed it.
Jaclyn: Yeah, he’s all over the map. He has such neat and special and different ideas and can execute them in a very rare way that you don’t normally see. It’s great to see that he’s still making films and I hope he continues because we need people like that. That make you laugh and question, like in a great novel. Sometimes you don’t just read the book, you read the author. It’s not as easy as popcorn, bubblegum stuff where you just sit back and enjoy the show. Everything he says has a story behind it. He’s incredibly intelligent. He definitely has a very unique flair.
Crave: Does that ever get tricky? Where you don’t exactly get the joke and have to trust him as a director?
Jaclyn: Well, if I don’t know something, I question and get to the bottom of it so when I’m working with it, I can do it as believably as I can. There were definitely things I needed to ask him and reference that I needed to go through with him. But in the end, I always trusted him. He’s the director and was very opening to answering whatever I felt I needed to ask.
Crave: He’s an actor himself. He’s got a small role in “Repo Chick”, but he’s one of the stars of his “Three Businessmen”.
Jaclyn: Yeah, he’s done a couple things. And that’s always wonderful, to work with an actor/director because it makes for a much more believable experience.
Crave: Can you talk a little about the music in “Repo Chick”? There’s some pretty interesting selctions.
Jaclyn: Yeah, Pray for Rain did the soundtrack and Dan [Wool] is a wonderful guy. He did all the music. I wasn’t as involved in that end of things and didn’t really have creative input, but I really enjoyed the pop element.
Crave: What’s next for you?
Jaclyn: I just did a series for HBO called “The Boring Life of Jaqueline”. We just finished shooting it and we’re still figuring out the dates and when it’s going to be released. It was directed by Sebastian Silva, who did a film called “La Nana”, a Chilean film [released in America as “The Maid. Check out Crave’s review]. He was up for a Golden Globe and is a really excellent director. It’s very, very, very dark which, to go back to your question about a dream role, it’s always nice to go from one extreme to the other. That definitely lends itself to getting an incredibly different experience on every level. I haven’t seen it yet, but was very happy with the production.