EXCLUSIVE: Get ready for a movie makeover for The Toxic Avenger, the anti-hero who became the beachhead mutant in a Troma Films schlock heyday that included such 1980s classics as Surf Nazis Must Die, Rabid Grannies and Stuff Stephanie in the Incinerator. Toxie, as the mop-wielding character is affectionately called, is at the center of a remake deal for a film that will be produced by Akiva Goldsman, Richard Saperstein and Charlie Corwin. Corwin’s Original Media, a partnership with Dutch reality TV giant Endemol, has financed the acquisition of rights to a franchise that includes four sequels, an animated TV series and comic books. Original Media will finance the development of a script, with writers to be hired shortly.
The group intends to turn Toxie into a green superhero for these environmentally conscious times. It has been a good couple of weeks for Toxie, after the stage production of The Toxic Avenger received a nomination for Outstanding Musical. The Lucille Lortel Awards for Off-Broadway stage productions will be awarded May 2.
The original film was directed by Troma founders Lloyd Kaufman and Michael Herz and has become something of a campy classic. It revolved around Tromaville Health Club mop boy Melvin, a gentle wimp whose trusting ways made him easy prey for gym thugs and eventually got him immersed in a vat of toxic waste. The radioactive swill transformed Melvin into Toxie, a misshapen superhero who wreaks havoc on polluters in New Jersey and whose improved muscle tone improved his standing with the chicks. The remake will be mounted as a family friendly PG-13 action comedy akin to The Mask, which Saperstein worked on when he was a New Line exec. It’s his second Troma remake property, as Saperstein is teamed with Brett Ratner on a Mother’s Day redo that was directed by Darren Bousman. Saperstein is separately working on a remake of The Blob that will be directed by Rob Zombie. He and Goldsman most recently teamed on the Will Smith-starrer Hancock. Goldsman, the Oscar-winning screenwriter of A Beautiful Mind, has become a more prolific producer than scribbler lately: Warner Bros releases The Losers next month, and Jonah Hex in June. Weed Road Pictures’ Kerry Foster will be executive producer on The Toxic Avenger with Kaufman and Herz and Shara Kay is co-producer. Corwin, a producer on The Squid and the Whale and Half Nelson, most recently produced the Joel Schumacher-directed Twelve.