John Travolta is no stranger to camp. We know this not because of any colorful conjectures about his personal life, but because he took on Divine’s role in the 2007 remake of Hairspray. (There is also, of course, his pet project Battlefield Earth, although we wouldn’t dare characterize his participation in that L. Ron Hubbard adaptation as anything less than sincere.) So, OK, this isn’t entirely out of the blue. But we’re still pretty surprised to hear that Travolta is attached to Akiva Goldman and Troma head Lloyd Kaufman’s PG-13 reboot of the latter’s thoroughly enjoyable 1984 cult trash-fest The Toxic Avenger.
Aside from the obvious confusion about why a movie star (albeit a past-his-prime one) pushing 60 might be interested in taking on the role of a health-club mop boy who becomes a mutant superhero after a mishap with toxic waste, there’s the question of whether a movie with anything approaching this premise could actually appeal to mainstream theatergoers. Goldman his co-producers clearly want it to; the film’s logline is, “Action-comedy remake in the vein of THE MASK… he’s an environmental superhero…doesn’t want it to be campy…” Aha. So this won’t be campy Travolta. It will be heroic Travolta playing a mildly funny action hero, or perhaps even some other major role that doesn’t involve being a 98-pound teenager.
How do you think this will turn out, readers? Will Toxie play at the multiplex, or is the best we can hope for an accidentally hilarious misfire? Watch the trailer for the original Toxic Avenger and try to make sense of it all below.