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Kevin Smith Turned Down The Toxic Avenger Reboot

Kevin Smith is a purist when it comes to superheroes, even the sketchiest ones.

The director of Clerks and Mallrats revealed on his podcast Fatman on Batman (via JoBlo) that he was asked to helm the upcoming reboot of the cult 1984 flick The Toxic Avenger. But he passed when he found out the plan is to make a relatively big-budget version of the infamously low-budget movie from Troma Entertainment.

"We parted ways fundamentally on the budget," Smith said. "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 movie.' And I was like, 'It's a f***in' 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."

Smith said the budget signaled a fundamental difference in what he thought The Toxic Avenger should be. "In my head, if I need to see a Toxic Avenger remake, it should be done in the spirit of the original," he said. "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 version of Clerks. Why would you bother?"

About a year ago, Sausage Party co-director Conrad Vernon signed on to helm the reboot of The Toxic Avenger. It's based on a script by Archer writers Mike Arnold and Chris Poole, while Lloyd Kaufman and Michael Herz of Troma Films, creators of the original franchise, will executive produce. It'll reportedly feature a more "grounded and mainstream" telling of the campy original about a New Jersey teenager who turns into a mutant superhero after being exposed to toxic waste.

Meanwhile, Smith is working on a horror film anthology called Killroy Was Here and he's also planning to tackle Hollywood's remake obsession with Jay and Silent Bob Reboot.