In one of the more exciting and confounding turns of events in recent movie news, Legendary’s upcoming big screen reboot of Troma Films’ tentpole The Toxic Avenger has signed on a writer-director with some serious dark indie cred. According to a report by Variety, Macon Blair, the writer-director of I Don’t Feel At Home in This World Anymore. and a frequent actor and collaborator with Jeremy Saulnier (Blue Ruin, Green Room, Hold the Dark) will pen the script and direct The Toxic Avenger.
Nerdist has reached out for independent verification but has not received confirmation at time of publication.
All of the above movies have been examinations of deeply disturbed individuals dealing with heavy themes, and while there has always been a vein of dark humor in them–especially in Blair’s I Don’t Feel At Home–there definitely hasn’t been anywhere near the level of slapstick uber-gore that made the Troma films so popular. The closest has been Saulnier’s debut feature, Murder Party, in which Blair co-starred.
There’s no reason to believe the movie won’t be super silly and gross under Blair, but we might also see the property get a bit more grounded in the process. This is quite the exciting turn of events in any case, and we’ll keep you up to date on any further developments!
Original Reporting Below
Long before superhero movies were the rage, and only Superman and Swamp Thing were out there saving the day, independent pioneers Lloyd Kaufman and Michael Herz gave us a 98 pound weakling who transformed into the first superhero…from New Jersey! The Toxic Avenger stormed onto the scene in 1984 and brought with it Troma’s trademark combination of over-the-top violence and gore and slapstick comedy, thus creating an empire. A big studio remake has been bandied about for years, but now we can exclusively announce Legendary Entertainment has acquired the feature film rights to The Toxic Avenger, with Kaufman and Herz producing.The Toxic Avenger tells the story of Melvin, a janitor who works at a health club and gets picked on incessantly by the beefy, attractive, but completely mean patrons, until one day he’s pranked exceptionally hard and falls into a vat of toxic waste. The ensuing mutation turns him into a hideously deformed creature of superhuman size and strength–affectionately known as Toxie–who goes around Tromaville, NJ, cleaning up criminals and corrupt politicians in particularly unpleasant ways. But he’s a lovable hulking monster, at least.
Since its debut nearly 35 years ago, The Toxic Avenger has been one of the most successful cult franchises in history, spawning three sequels, a children’s cartoon in the ’90s, and even a live stage musical.Troma Entertainment has cultivated a very specific brand of movie, a mix of horror, action, and raunchy comedy that has a fervent fan following. It’ll be interesting to see what a studio version of The Toxic Avenger would look like, and presuming it retains its edge, how much gore and gross-out humor it’ll be able to get away with and still receive an R-rating.
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