The reboot of Toxic Avenger, the 1984 Troma Entertainment hit that inspired numerous sequels and an animated TV series, has recruited a pair of actors to bolster their already-impressive cast. Interestingly, one of the two -- Jonny Coyne -- appeared in Ma Rainey's Black Bottom last year alongside Taylour Paige, who was cast in the film last month. He will be joined by Sarah Niles, who has appeared in Ted Lasso and I May Destroy You. The pair join a cast that's toplined by Peter Dinklage as the hero and Kevin Bacon as the villain. Other members of the cast include Jacob Tremblay, Elijah Wood, and Julia Davis.
Coyne is reportedly playing a "shadowy criminal figure," according to The Hollywood Reporter, who broke the news. Niles will play a corrupt city official.
Dinklage will play the lead in a movie that "follows a struggling everyman who, when pushed into a vat of toxic waste, is transformed into a mutant freak who must go from shunned outcast to underdog hero as he races to save his son, his friends, and his community from the forces of corruption and greed," according to the THR story. That is more or less the premise of the original Toxic Avenger film.
Production on the remake is set to begin later this month in Bulgaria. Macon Blair, who wrote the screenplay, will direct. Blair previously directed Wood in 2017's I Don't Feel at Home in This World Anymore.
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 original film's success led to sequels The Toxic Avenger Part II, The Toxic Avenger Part III: The Last Temptation of Toxie, and Citizen Toxie: The Toxic Avenger IV. The last feature film was produced in 2000, and by 2015, they and dozens of other Troma movies (as well as the Toxic Crusaders TV series) were available for free on the Troma Movies YouTube channel. As of now, it doesn't appear that's the case anymore.
The Toxic Avenger franchise is just one of a number of such properties 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," 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. The film is now available on Netflix and other digital platforms, or you can buy the Blu-ray now from the Blockbuster Bend website.