When The Suicide Squad featured excessive gore and violence, many fans described it as a return to director James Gunn's roots as a member of Lloyd Kaufman's Troma team. The indie studio behind Tromeo & Juliet and Sgt. Kabukiman, NYPD have a well-earned reputation for being wildly campy and outrageously violent. Maybe it's no surprise, then, that a big-budget reboot of Troma's most recognizable property is being described as "over-the-top" by its star. The star? Peter Dinklage. The property? Troma's The Toxic Avenger, originally released in 1984 and coming to theaters in 2022.
Dinklage was talking to Empire magazine for his upcoming turn as Cyrano De Bergerac in the musical Cyrano, but with Toxic Avenger now less than a year away, he was quizzed on that one, too. After praising Troma's approach to indie filmmaking, the actor gave his assessment of how the new one plays.
"I just wanted to do something that I've never done before," Dinklage told Empire. So why not be a monster in an over-the-top, crazy movie, and why not sing in another one?"
He added, "It's not a remake. I just like guerrilla filmmaking. Those movies – they just made them, no matter what. They just did it because they love doing it. Some of them are not the best, but some are so much fun. When you make movies too clean, it can distance the audience. They want to feel the dirt under their fingernails. I think those Troma films definitely dipped the audience in toxic waste."
Dinklage is set to star in the forthcoming reboot, which hails from from Legendary Pictures. The film, based on the long-running franchise created by legendary schlock film studio Troma, centers on a 98-pound nerd from New Jersey, who falls into a vat of toxic waste and is transformed into a good-natured and ultimately heroic monster. In addition to the film franchise and a short-lived animated series called Toxic Crusaders, the title character, affectionately known as "Toxie," has become the mascot for Troma over the years, used on merchandise and title cards.
The Toxic Avenger franchise is just one of a number of multi-film franchises at Troma, like Sgt. Kabukiman N.Y.P.D. and The Class of Nuke 'Em High -- although outside of the indie film space, only Toxic Avenger has found a lot of mainstream success. It nevertheless dabbled a little bit in environmental themes, and the same kind of winking deconstruction of the superhero genre that made Deadpool a success years later
"The people who made [Deadpool] are all big fans of Troma," Troma chief Lloyd Kaufman told ComicBook.com during a 2016 interview at the Twin Tiers Comic Con. "I've lost count of how many times I've had fans come up and say those guys talk about Troma all the time."
You can see Kaufman in the recent documentary The Last Blockbuster, talking about his hatred for the late, lamented video-rental retailer. His exact word choice is a little ironic in hindsight, as he pretended to be a Blockbuster employee and said, "Welcome to Blockbuster New York. We have 500 copies of Suicide Squad, and absolutely no copies of Troma movies, not even Toxic Avenger."