The upcoming reimagining of the 1984 low-budget cult classic “The Toxic Avenger” has received some more images. The new film is written and directed by Macon Blair, and the cast includes Elijah Wood, Kevin Bacon, and Peter Dinklage!
“The Toxic Avenger” centers around a janitor who turns into a disfigured superhero after falling into a barrel of toxic waste. The original film sparked Troma Entertainment’s most well known and beloved franchises. Now, Entertainment Weekly has first look images of many of the core cast in the upcoming reimagining. As well as an interview with the director giving valuable insight into each character.
Wood will portray villain, Fritz Garbinger who sports blackened teeth, panda eyes, and long patchy tendrils of hair. Blair describes the look as “sort of Riff Raff from The Rocky Horror Picture Show and the Danny DeVito Penguin mixed together.”
“The look came about by discussions I had with our designers and with Elijah himself,” he explains. “I wanted it to feel like a Peter Sellers type of performance where he just goes invisible. The idea is that you forget that it’s the Elijah that you know from Lord of the Rings or anything else.”
Dinklage plays our hero, a janitor named Winston Gooze, who is a low-level employee at a chemical factory. A deviation from the original films where Toxie worked at a health club, he only fell in the chemical waste by happenstance after a cruel prank by the club’s patrons. But even with this deviation the director still seems to be staying true to the spirit of the character.
In his version, “There is a terrible industrial accident that renders him a mutant and an outcast, but also gives him some super strength and super abilities that sets him on a path of being an unlikely vigilante in this downward-spiraling society,” said Blair. “Similar to the original Toxic Avenger, he’s singularly unqualified to be a hero. He’s not especially brave, he’s not especially crafty, but he has his heart in the right place, and he starts taking it to the limit when he’s pushed into a corner.”
And being an under qualified everyman is what fans seem to cling to most about Toxie. It’s safe to say many Troma/cult film fans tend to identify with and root for the underdog. The director even cites the 1984 film as an early inspiration for him.
“My group of friends were starting to make our own movies on VHS,” said Blair. “Everything we did was a rip-off of Monty Python and early Troma movies.” He goes on to describe this reimagining as “getting back to those early days with my buddies, but getting to do it with f—ing Peter Dinklage and Kevin Bacon. Very surreal.”
Bacon will play corporate overlord Bob Garbinger, brother to Wood’s Fritz Garbinger. Bacon’s part is described as “the mold of Lex Luthor, where they have all this money and resources at their disposal, but he’s just kind of a disaster.” In contrast, Wood’s character is “the runt of the family, whereas his older brother is this golden god. So, that’s their dynamic. He’s kind of a henchman at this corrupt company.”
But Fritz does have a secret weapon up his sleeve, “a gang of dangerous lunatics” known as Killer Nutz. A group that is comprised of murderers and musicians, because everyone needs a hobby, right? “It just seemed funny to me if we had a rock and roll group, where their presentation is theatrical evil, like KISS or Alice Cooper, but their moonlight gig is professional assassins,” says Blair. “So, when they talk about how dangerous and evil they are, they actually are dangerous and evil.”
The cast also includes Taylour Paige as JJ Doherty who is part investigative reporter and part vigilante detective. And Jacob Tremblay as Winston’s stepson Wade, a sweet kid who has some anxiety issues.
There is still no official release date set for “The Toxic Avenger.” The film made it’s world premiere at Austin’s Fantastic Fest, which runs from September 21st-28th, 2023.