Toxie is coming back! Lloyd Kaufman, Troma Entertainment’s chief, has gone on the record saying that they are getting the finances together for The Toxic Avenger 5. In an interview with SFX magazine, Kaufman revealed that they will tackle the fifth entry after they make Shakespeare’s Shitstorm (Troma’s version of The Tempest). But that isn’t all. The script is done and it involved input from old alumni of Troma, James Gunn.
It turns out that writer-director James Gunn (Slither, Guardians of the Galaxy) is helping out with The Toxic Avenger 5 script: “I have worked with James Gunn and the script we have for The Toxic Avenger 5 is the finest I have read,” Kaufman says. “It shows Toxie fighting the bureaucrats and the obnoxious rich people who are harming the people of Tromaville.” If Gunn indeed has lent his pass at the screenplay for the new film, nay even lends his name as an executive producer, it could prove enough for Kaufman to find himself with a hit movie on his hands (in Troma standards).
Gunn hasn’t shied away from his humble beginning at the uber low-budget splatter studio. Long before he brought the Guardians of the Galaxy to the big screen, Gunn started his career as mainly a screenwriter. Starting out his filmmaking career with Troma Entertainment, for whom he wrote the independent film Tromeo And Juliet, a more or less a faithful adaptation of Shakespeare’s play except with the addition of extreme amounts of Troma-esque sexuality and violence, as well as a revised ending. The film taught Gunn the essentials he would need to evolve into the filmmaker he is today, learning how to write screenplays, produce films, scout locations, direct actors, distribute films, and create his own poster art all under the guidance of Lloyd Kaufman and Troma Entertainment.
IN an interview with VICE, Gunn recounts his experience in making the film how he was hired:
“I went into a meeting with Lloyd because I’d gone to Troma to get a job filing papers in the office or something—but he knew I went to Columbia and that I had a reputation for performing on the Lower East Side. He said, “Maybe you can write Tromeo and Juliet,” or “Maybe you can do The Toxic Avenger,” or “Maybe you could do some other film.” I would have preferred to do some other film at the time; The Toxic Avenger and Tromeo and Juliet both sounded so cheesy and terrible to me. At the end of the day, he offered me $150 to rewrite Tromeo and Juliet, which was a fucking mess—basically just Romeo and Juliet transcribed with dirty words thrown in. I just did my thing. I knew what Troma movies were, but I also wanted to step outside of what a Troma movie had been up until that point.”
After contributing to several other Troma films, Gunn wrote, produced and performed in his own superhero comedy, The Specials, directed by Craig Mazin and featuring Rob Lowe, Thomas Haden Church, Paget Brewster, Judy Greer and Jamie Kennedy. During that time he also penned the screenplays for Scooby-Doo, its sequel Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed, and Zack Snyder’s 2004 version of Dawn of the Dead. Gunn even cast Kaufman when he got around to Guardians of the Galaxy (the prison sequence) and continued with the icky-gicky or Troma’s best with his own films like Slither from 2006, and explored the darker side of superheroes with the underrated Super in 2010.
Although Gunn has had little involvement with any previous Toxic Avenger movie before it, it remains the most recognizable series (and character) in Kaufman’s vast, low-budget, DIY oeuvre. The first entry established the world of the titular character. The 1984 American superhero comedy splatter film directed by Michael Herz and Lloyd Kaufman (under the name Samuel Weil), documents the origins of the Toxic Avenger, who was born when meek mop boy Melvin falls into a vat of toxic waste. Now evildoers will have a lot to lose. Tromaville has a monstrous new hero and he spawned four sequels The Toxic Avenger Part II and The Toxic Avenger Part III: The Last Temptation of Toxie (both filmed at the same time but there was enough footage to stretch it into two movies), Citizen Toxie: The Toxic Avenger IV. An animated children’s TV series spin-off, Toxic Crusaders, and a video game.
The new film, in Kaufman’s own words, says of the fifth entry:
“This is a very ambitious Toxic Avenger movie. The script is complete and it will focus on Toxie’s two children who, 20 years after part four, have all grown up. And one has mutated into a very strange being. Toxie is going to go to Chernobyl in this one. It will cost just $100,000 – but I think it is the best one yet.”
With someone like Gunn and his newly found pedigree, tested through the ringer of Hollywood writers rooms, studio deals, and successful multi-billion dollar franchises (the MCU), even just getting his pass on the new Toxic Avenger 5 screenplay would be enough to shoot this new Troma film into something altogether unheard of for the company in some time. Not only that but Gunn has a large social media presence, one that could aid in his old mentor’s newest adventure of Toxie and the inhabitants of Tromaville. There’s no word yet on when The Toxic Avenger 5 might hit shelves (and possibly limited cinemas) but the potential is there for a renewed interest in Troma Entertainment and its founder, Lloyd Kaufman.
Regardless of what you might think of its chief or its films, Gunn had this to say of Lloyd when they brought him onto the set of Guardians of the Galaxy for his cameo: “This is Lloyd, he was my first boss, and when I make a movie I channel him.” Fingers crossed, they collaborate yet again. It would feel very “full circle.”
Images: Troma Entertainment, Marvel, Disney, Universal, IFC Films
Source: Dread Central