What a Waste: Arnold Schwarzenegger In Talks To Star In ‘Toxic Avenger’ Reboot

Mark Deming
Movie Talk

The First Super-Hero from New Jersey is returning to the screen, and he's bringing along someone to help him kick some butt – Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Schwarzenegger, the venerable action star and former governor of California, is in talks to star in a remake of "The Toxic Avenger," the 1984 cult favorite that put low-budget studio Troma Team Pictures on the map. Steve Pink, who directed "Hot Tub Time Machine," is on board to helm the project, and he co-wrote the screenplay with Daniel C. Mitchell.

There's been no confirmation yet on who Schwarzenegger will play in the "Toxic Avenger" reboot, which like the original tells the tale of a spindly nerd who is exposed to radioactive toxic waste and is turned into a burly mutant who dedicates himself to fighting crime. While producers on the project insist Schwarzenegger will not be playing the mutant hero, they're keeping quiet about who his character will be. Possibilities include a "The Executioner," a former military intelligence agent who mentors the newly–mutated Toxie; the father of the hapless hero's would-be girlfriend, whose chemical plant is responsible for the pollution that turns Toxie into a hero; or the villainous security chief at the plant.

Michael Benaroya, one of the producers on the "Toxic Avenger" reboot who is financing the project through his company International Film Trust, said in a statement, "Moviegoers around the world were thrilled when Arnold Schwarzenegger returned to acting so effortlessly filling the gap that he left behind. He is the ultimate action hero with a natural comedic versatility and will be pitch perfect in 'The Toxic Avenger.'"

Schwarzenegger's enthusiasm for "The Toxic Avenger" comes as the actor tries to re-brand himself after stepping out of the political arena. Schwarzenegger was part of the ensemble cast for Sylvester Stallone's 2012 action epic "The Expendables 2" (he previously made a cameo appearance in the first movie), but his first starring role in nearly a decade, "The Last Stand," was a major disappointment at the box office, taking in only $37 million worldwide on a $30 million budget following its opening in January. Schwarzenegger may be hoping that a movie with a comic twist would be a good career move; "The Toxic Avenger" is also a project with pre-sold appeal, given the enduring popularity of the original, which eventually spun off three sequels, an animated cartoon series for television, a comic book, and even a stage musical.