It happened to "Hairspray" and "The Producers," and now the "Saw" franchise is in line to get the musical treatment. Well, sort of. "Saw" mastermind Darren Lynn Bousman has cast none other than Jigsaw himself -- veteran horror actor Tobin Bell -- to sing and dance his way through "Repo! The Genetic Opera!" Several other major actors will be announced soon, as production on the "Brazil"-meets-"Rocky Horror Picture Show" flick gets underway.
"'Repo' [is] my next film and it's a rock opera," Bousman told us. "There is definitely camp to it, but it is much more serious than the 'The Rocky Horror Picture Show'. It is more violent than 'Saw' too; in fact, it makes all of the 'Saw' movies look like Disney films."
"I've talked to Tobin about 'Repo', and he's heard the music," added Bousman, saying that the duo would listen to the tracks between takes on the recently-wrapped Toronto set of October's "Saw IV."
"Yes, I can sing," the creepy Bell added, saying he's looking forward to the flick. "I'm a guitar player and a singer...I did hear some of the music, and it's great. I think this movie is going to be remarkable."
As for the film's plot, Bousman offered the following breakdown. "The premise is organ repossession in the future. The idea is that everybody is buying up organs, and they cannot afford to pay for these organs. Thus, legalized organ repo-men come into the picture."
"Murder becomes sanctioned by law," he added. "So, if you buy a heart and can't afford it, someone can burst through the door and take your heart out...and they don't get in trouble for it. The very first scene sees [some repo men] singing while they are ripping the spinal cord out of someone."
Adding that "there is no dialogue," Bousman revealed that "this thing has seventy-seven songs. From the second it starts, it's all singing. And the music is not campy. It is very Nine Inch Nails, very Tool-esque."
The director also mentioned that a member of the Nails (but not Trent Reznor) is working with him on the music for the flick, which is set in 2018. He then offered up the question he's been answering for the entire pre-production process ("How do you promote a Rock Opera? There hasn't been one done since the 70s!") by saying that "Repo!" has already been a hit at every level so far.
"It was a play that I did two years ago," he remembered. "It was only supposed to play two nights, a weekend thing; it ended up staying open for six weeks. Sold out shows every night, people dressed as the characters...then they took the play to a bigger theater, and it did the same thing all over again. They opened for a week, and ended up staying open for five weeks."
"The music is so catchy, you can't get it out of your head," Bousman added, promising he won't cast any lame musical singers in his film. "These are all actors who sing, not singers who can act. There's no Clay Aiken, and there are no 'American Idols' in this."