Ogre talks about his role in “REPO! The Genetic Opera”
By Bob Gourley | Originally published in 2008
Skinny Puppy have always been known for their theatrical stage shows, so the casting of frontman Nivek Ogre in the new sci-fi/horror movie musical “REPO! The Genetic Opera” makes perfect sense. In the film, Ogre portrays Pavi Largo, a character who gruesomely wears women’s faces.¬ The following is the first part of an interview with Ogre, focusing on “REPO!”. Check back soon for part 2, where he discusses “Devils in my Details,” his new cd with Mark Walk as ohGr.
How did you get involved with “REPO! The Genetic Opera?”
Ogre: I came back from the last Skinny Puppy tour and met my friend Joe Bishara, who was working as one of the producers on the project. He’d asked me what I wanted to do. One of my childhood fantasies was to be like Lon Chaney Sr., wear a lot of makeup, and be that kind of character actor. So it’s a first step to something like that. When I told Joe that, he said ‘Oh, we’re working on this film right now and there’s this one character that hasn’t been cast.’ It was Pavi, the face stealing serial killer rapist. And I said ‘Awesome. And it’s a musical? Even better!” It was a bit of a boot camp for me, in the sense of being on set and learning the etiquette and that whole realm of working, and the terminology. It was a great experience for that, because I didn’t have to worry about actually delivering lines per se within the context of blocking shots, because we’d recorded all the music a month beforehand. So it was a great experience, I had a gas. I was like a kid in a candy store.
Were you aware of who else would be in the film?
Ogre: I didn’t. In my audition, I had to do a monologue, and I came up with a character analysis. I had heard that Paris Hilton was doing an audition, but I wasn’t sure when or if she even was. It was just a rumor. So I was called in late one night. I think I was the last of two or three people to come in. I was sitting there, and I’d worked out this bit where I’d say to the director ‘Eh, do you want to see who fucking Pavi is? I’ll show you fucking Pavi.’ I had this mirror, since Pavi has a mirror. He’s very vain and narcissistic. I cut out a picture of Paris’ face and I put it in the mirror. That was my schtick. I was going to turn the mirror around to everyone and show them who Pavi was and who he wanted to be. So I was sitting outside practicing my lines and nervously waiting. I heard all this commotion. There were two sets of doors before it went outside, and I was in a hallway between these two sets of doors. One set opened and out comes this person, and I had the mirror next to me, and it was Paris. She went out the main door and there were all these camera flashes going off. I was just like, this is so fucking surreal. So I was like, do I do this thing or not? Do I do this bit? And I ended up doing it, and I think it’s what got me the part. I got to meet Bill Moseley, who actually did a bit on this record. He did a lot of the spoken word dialog and did this amazing one pass thing that we cut up into short segments. He did three or four poems in one pass, there were no additional takes. It was amazing. And then course Paul Sorvino, and Alexa Vega. Anthony Head from Buffy… it was a really cool cast. And the coolest part about the movie, bad or good … I’ve seen a cut and I like it, but I could be biased …¬ but I think the coolest part of it is that it wasn’t really co-opted by a big movie company. It’s being done by the people who were actually involved with the street version of it, when they were doing 10 minutes shows in clubs and stuff like that. So it was kind of a cool family.
Would you like to do more work like this in the future?
Yeah, for me what is really fun is going under intense prosthetics. Skinny Puppy has always been about mask work. It just opens me up in so many ways. I’m kind of an extroverted introvert, and that is the trigger that opens the door. If I could do more stuff like that … I can’t tell you how much fun it is. It’s a bit tough in the sense that your hours are longer, but I love to do stuff under make-up.
Have you ever considered doing a Skinny Puppy musical?
There have been ideas. cEvin has had dreams, he’s told me, when he was younger, of some show on stage where there is this three-dimensional floating dragon. He’s had that kind of surround sound outlook of the future. And I’ve had ideas of taking something and doing more of a show. I was a magician when I was a kid, and I like the idea of the Chaos Magicians. Something in that realm might be interesting with scripted dialog. We’ll see. We have to start thinking about things like that now.See all interviews →