The idea to make a more grounded and mainstream version of The Toxic Avenger (1984) – surely anathema given its Troma roots – has been floating around in development limbo for a while. Now news arrives via Deadline that Sausage Party co-director Conrad Vernon has come aboard to try to get the adaption finally on its feet.
Originally created by Troma founders Lloyd Kaufman and Michael Herz, the camp icon has his origin story in Melvin, a gentle wimp who cleans at the Tromaville Health Club. A lonely target for jocks and other tough types, he gets his chance at payback – and heroism – when he is immersed in a vat of toxic waste. Soon, the mop wielding warrior is sorting out the bullies and fighting crime, not to mention wooing the ladies despite looking like a human shaped mound of pond scum.
The Troma team launched a cult franchise with the original in 1984 and he has cropped up since then on TV and in comic books. Akiva Goldsman (I Am Legend), of all people, has been trying to re-launch the character in a new, slightly more family friendly fashion alongside producers Bob Cooper (John Tucker Must Die) and Richard Saperstein (Se7en), and there was some random talk back in 2013 that Arnold Schwarzenegger (The Terminator) might star. The presence of Archer regular writers Mike Arnold and Chris Poole and now Vernon, who brought Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg's (This Is The end) food madness cartoon to the screen alongside co-director Greg Tiernan (Thomas And Friends), suggests they might be going in a wilder direction now. "The opportunity to re-imagine a favorite cult-classic from my high school years is an honor," Vernon said in a statement carried by Deadline. "Toxie is an underground icon. My favorite kind."