Kevin Smith is known for his offbeat style of filmmaking and when Troma was looking to reboot ‘The Toxic Avenger,’ it appears that he was on the short list to direct the film. Only, once he was actually in a meeting to tackle Lloyd Kaufman’s most notable work, it quickly became clear that he was “not on the same page” as the studio. It all came down to financials and it sounds like whoever was bankrolling Troma’s reboot of their most iconic character wanted to spend more money than Smith felt was right for the film.
Yes, he turned it down because they were giving it far too big of a budget.
Here is what Smith had to say during an episode of his ‘Fatman on Batman‘ podcast which he co-hosts with Marc Bernardin when asked about “receiving notes from producers or executives” and went straight to this example:
“I don’t really deal in that world that much anymore, I don’t have to sit with people that are corporate and have interests to protect, like, I’m in the walrus movie phase of my career. The last thing, and it wasn’t even a big deal, it wasn’t like ‘I’m outraged!’… somebody asked me, ‘Hey man, we’ve got THE TOXIC AVENGER and we’re gonna remake it, do a reboot, and hey, you’re from Jersey.’ And you know, I always kind of dug what Lloyd Kaufman and the Troma people do, it was right in Jersey, I remember seeing them on the news all the time – ‘Hollywood, motion pictures in New Jersey? Right here at Troma!’ And TOXIC AVENGER was insanely well known. So I always respected the Troma world and Toxie franchise. So I was like, all right, I’ll go down the rabbit hole a bit and see what’s what.
And we parted ways fundamentally on the budget, because I was just like, ‘Part of the charm of the TOXIC AVENGER is that it was made for two nickels. If you’re gonna do it again, don’t spend a lot of money.’ But they were like, ‘No no no, it’s a 35 million dollar movie.’ And I was like, ‘It’s a f*ckin’ remake of THE TOXIC AVENGER, the guy in a tutu with a bad makeup job, what are we gonna spend all the money on?’ So right then and there, I’m clearly not on the same page. In my head, if I need to see a TOXIC AVENGER remake, it should be done in the spirit of the original. Instead, they were literally trying to start a franchise, Marvel-ize it and stuff like that. And I’m like, ‘I don’t know if you guys saw that movie.’ So I just quietly stepped away. I understand what they were going for, but I would never want to see that version of the movie. It would be like somebody doing a 35 million dollar version of CLERKS. Why would you bother?””
We know that for a time it sounded as if Arnold Schwarzenegger might be involved in the project and if they’re looking to bring in some big names it could mean that they’re no longer looking to focus on what made the character who he was. The reboot has gone through a few directors so far including Steve Pink and Conrad Vernon with Mike Arnold and Chris Poole already rewriting a script by Steve Pink and Daniel C. Mitchell.
It isn’t clear what the current status of the movie is but fans of the originals might be wary as to what to expect after Smith opened up on some of the ideas that were being put forward.
Of course, on the flip side, an R-Rated set of comedy superhero movies could work after how well ‘Deadpool’ has performed with audiences. I just can’t see how they would make The Toxic Avenger work for wide appeal without fundamentally changing the character.
Are you sad that Kevin Smith didn’t end up directing ‘The Toxic Avenger’ reboot or after hearing his reasons do you think that the movie is doomed for failure? Share your thoughts below!