68-year-old Lloyd Kaufman shows no signs of slowing down, and he's currently making some of the best movies of his career. Next week, the first part of his epic opus Return to Nuke 'Em High Volume 1 will finally be released on Blu-ray. And after touring it around the world, he is going to jump right into making the long-awaited sequel Toxic Twins: The Toxic Avenger V. But that might make you wonder, 'What ever happened to The Toxic Avenger remake that was supposed to star Arnold Schwarzenegger?'
Well, its still on its way, though action icon Arnie dropped out last year after reportedly seeing the original upon which it was based. It was never revealed whom he was playing. But we did catch up with the always energetic Lloyd Kaufman, who gave us an update on the reboot.
Known as the king of independent cinema, one might think Lloyd would have a negative reaction to hearing that his 1984 classic The Toxic Avenger was being reworked by a huge Hollywood conglomerate. He feels quite the opposite though, expressing genuine glee at the choice of long-time Troma fan Steve Pink as director.
"Regarding the remake? This is Akiva Goldsman, who got an Oscar for writing A Beautiful Mind and he is a brilliant director. He's got a movie out now called Winter's Tale. He and Richard Saperstein, they have hired Steve Pink, who made Hot Tub Time Machine and High Fidelity, and other movies...He is very good, he loves Troma, he has read my book, he came to my book signing... Steve Pink has written a script, and he is directing, and they did sign Arnold Schwarzenegger! But then Arnold Schwarzenegger must have seen the original, and he unsigned. That's all I know about that."
Lloyd is quite hopeful that this new version of the cult mainstay will actually be better than the one he directed, and doesn't mind letting his version go quietly into the night.
"You don't go to movie jail for making a good remake. Some of the best movies in history have been remakes. Judy Garland in A Star Is Born. That was the third iteration of that project. All Quiet on the Western Front, the sound version is a hell of a lot better than the silent version. Sequels can be better than originals. In my opinion, Evil Dead 2: Dead by Dawn was better than The Evil Dead. There are many, many remakes that are very good. I am confident that Steve Pink and Akiva Goldsman and Richard Saperstein will bring you a magnificent remake. Mainly because they love Troma, and they love the spirit of Troma, and in the same way that the Toxic Avenger musical, which was written by the Bon Jovi member David Bryan, the music was written by the keyboard guy from Bon Jovi...They were able to mainstream the Toxic Avenger musical and make it really good. In fact, they won best off-Broadway musical...I think these new guys will make a very good movie."
It will be interesting to see the remake finally come together, as the fifth sequel to the original, Toxic Twins: The Toxic Avenger V, will be made and released around the same time, something that doesn't normally happen. While we were supposed to see Toxic Twins: The Toxic Avenger V years ago, Lloyd Kaufman explained the holdup, revealing that the long wait will only be better for the movie in the long run.
"First of all, we have been writing Toxic Twins: The Toxic Avenger V for two years now, and we still don't have a script that doesn't suck, but we're getting there. That will be the next movie that I get to direct. Unfortunatly we have written it for Chernobyl. We want Toxie to have some contact with Chernobyl. And it turns out, as you probably know, that Chernobyl is in a place called the Ukraine, which is not such a good place to be filming right now...But! We are are getting there. We are getting a better script, and at some point we will head to the Ukraine and film.
Since we are economically black listed for the most part, there is no reason to rush it. We can take as long as we want. We don't have to deliver Toxic Twins: The Toxic Avenger V for Christmas, that's Peter Jackson's job. We can take as long as we want, since our movies are shunned by the mainstream. We have nothing on HBO, nothing on Showtime, nothing anywhere. In a way, that is liberating, we can take as long as we fucking want!"
If you need your Troma fix right now, be sure to check out the epic Return to Nuke 'Em High Volume 1, available on Blu-ray and VOD starting next week. Its one you can't miss.