What Can We Expect from the “Toxic” Remake

The Toxic Avenger (John Altamura) with Lily Hayes Kaufman in a “Toxic Avenger II” Promotional Photo (Troma Inc.)

Legendary Pictures is working hard on developing their long-gestating remake of one of the greatest cult classics ever made: The Toxic Avenger.

For those unfamiliar with the character, a quick brief history. The creation of Lloyd Kaufman and Joe Ritter, the character revolves around Melvin, a nerdish mop boy at a health club who falls in a vat of toxic waste after being the victim of a prank. However, instead of dying, Melvin is given superhuman powers while being hideously deformed. The chemicals in his body cause him to go after no good doers in some pretty gruesome ways (at least in the live action films). The movie put New York-based indie company Troma on the global map of superstardom and the character would be its icon in the same way Totoro is Studio Ghibli’s mascot.

The movie spawned three sequels and a one-season animated series, Toxic Crusaders, in 1991. In addition, Stan Lee convinced Kaufman to let Marvel Comics create a 11-issue comic book saga.

For years, a remake has been in developmental limbo. The likes of Steve Pink (Hot Tub Time Machine) and Conrad Vernon (Sausage Party) were named as directors at one point. However, Macon Blair has been hired to write and direct the remake. Kaufman himself looked at the script and said it was better than his original script from 1984 and he will gladly help Blair should he need input from the iconic indie filmmaker.

Now here’s where things get extremely interesting. In November 2020, it was announced that the one and only Tyrion

Lannister himself, Peter Dinklage, would be cast in the titular role of The Toxic Avenger. This is a far cry from what we’re used to with the character. In the original Troma franchise, actors standing six feet and up played the role of Toxie. They are Mitch Cohen in the original, Ron Fazio and the late John Altamura for parts 2 and 3 simultaneously, and David Mattey for the last installment, 2001’s Citizen Toxie. At only 4’4″, it will be interesting to see how Dinklage will pull off Toxie. He’s good with a sword, so why not a mop?

The Toxic Avenger is still in development with hopes to begin production sometime this year. Let’s see what will happen!

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