Grab your mops — the Toxic Avenger is about to return to clean up the world. Peter Dinklage (Game of Thrones) has been cast in Legendary’s reboot of the 1980s low-budget cult classic that spawned a series of sequels, a musical, and even a Saturday morning cartoon with an action figure line. While not confirmed, Dinklage will presumably play the Toxic Avenger himself, and Macon Blair (I Don’t Feel at Home in This World Anymore) is set to direct.
The original film came from Troma Entertainment, a schlock film studio that has continued to pump out D-grade movies ever since and where James Gunn cut his teeth. Troma’s Lloyd Kaufman and Michael Herz, who helped create The Toxic Avenger, will serve as producers, hopefully bringing some of the camp and low-budget aesthetic to this new iteration. The original films are a kind of environmentalist takedown of the superhero genre that follow a mild-mannered everyman who falls into toxic waste and becomes deformed but also gains superpowers. Given superhero movies’ domination of the cinema, it seems like a good time to bring ol’ Toxie back.
The first Toxic Avenger gained notoriety at midnight screenings in New York and grew into a cult sensation. It’s the kind of grassroots film growth that can’t happen so much anymore because of the death of independent theaters, but it led to a franchise that saw three more films: The Toxic Avenger Part II, The Toxic Avenger Part III: The Last Temptation of Toxie, and Citizen Toxie: The Toxic Avenger IV.
Legendary and Dinklage, who bounces between dramatic roles and more light-hearted fun, are probably looking to kick-start a new franchise here while capitalizing on the nostalgia some may have for the original series. For anyone who grew up having seen the movies, it definitely holds a unique soft spot, but whether or not that can translate over into widespread success is pretty questionable.