Peter Dinklage and the Rebirth of ‘The Toxic Avenger’

I was a child when the film The Toxic Avenger first appeared in theaters. My mother was not so avant-garde as to see such a film, much less take a child along. So, I didn’t see it when it came out. What I remember is the big ad in the local newspaper. I remember thinking to myself, “That looks cool!”

Without even realizing it, I filed the title away in the back o my mind. A decade later I found a copy while browsing my local video store. I lived in a run-down part of Chicago and the local video store had a huge selection of straight-to-video B-movies.

When I saw The Toxic Avenger on the rack, the little boy in me who thought it had looked cool way back when was jumping up and down and dancing a little jig. Of course, I rented the movie and took it home immediately to watch.

What a great movie! It was ridiculous and over the top and the most fun anyone had ever fit into an hour and a half film. It was funny and sexy and repulsive and a total delight.

The basic premise is that the local nerd falls into a vat of nuclear waste and emerges huge and deformed but blessed with superhuman strength. He then uses said strength to seek revenge on the bullies who had long tormented him when he was a weakling.

The creator of The Toxic Avenger is Lloyd Kaufman – a visionary in low-budget film making. In 2005 I was shopping for a studio for a film script Michael Dorn was attached to direct and star in. Lloyd and I had a conversation about it, but he was really more focused on continuing the Toxic Avenger franchise. I told Lloyd what I fan I was of him and that if the opportunity ever presented itself, I would love to appear in a future sequel.

That’s the last I ever talked to Lloyd. Years later, I was thrilled to find out my friend David Bryan of Bon Jovi had adapted The Toxic Avenger as an Off-Broadway musical. The New York Post called the show “hilariously funny.”  I happily profiled the cast recording on my radio show It’s Showtime with Rikki Lee. There was also a well-received film of the musical was produced by BroadwayHD in 2018.

Now word has come out that writer/director Macon Blair will be helming a reboot of The Toxic Avenger. It will be produced by Legendary Entertainment and will star award-winning actor Peter Dinklage of Game of Thrones fame. Lloyd Kaufman and Michael Herz from the original film will be serving as producers.

I applaud the Dinklage casting. I’ve been a fan or his ever since I first saw him on the series Nip/Tuck. He is a phenomenal actor. Also announced in the cast are Kevin Bacon, Elijah Wood, Julia Davis, Sarah Niles, Jonny Coyne, Jacob Tremblay, and Taylour Paige.

I’m not one who usually favors reboots. The exceptions are the ones that reimagine the material. Take for instance the Netflix Lost in Space reboot. That series reboot totally reimagined the characters in incredibly creative ways. The producers stayed true to the original while reinventing the premise into something unique. I, for one, would say in that case the reboot is better than the original.

What about Lloyd Kaufman and Michael Herz? Will they be producing something the takes us in a new and exciting direction? I have a good feeling about The Toxic Avenger reboot. Macon Blair is going to be bringing his A game. The film could be destined to be the biggest B-movie of all time. With Dinklage and Bacon on board I think this could be special.

Peace. Love. Trust.

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