Hey everyone we got a very special interview with the original Toxic Avenger who was gracious enough to join us for a 1:1 interview someone I always wanted to speak ever since I saw Toxic Avenger for the first time. We talk about he got into acting, Lloyd Kaufman and his thoughts on the remake and remakes in general.
AJ: What got you into acting?
Mark: I was always acting like an idiot when I was a kid. I would do things like collect my toenails in a mayonnaise jar, and capture flys and tie a hair around their necks and fly them around like a kite. Seriously, I was involved in the drama club in high school and acted or worked on all of the plays. Later when I was a student at Michigan State University and later at New York University I did some acting but got more interested in filmmaking.
AJ: How did you meet Lloyd Kaufman?
Mark: I was in Grad Film School at NYU and Troma put up a job notice on our job board. It said “Come to Troma and Work on a real Film, you won’t get paid like you would on a real film but it’s a good experience.” I went down to the Troma Building in Hells Kitchen NYC And interviewed with Lloyd and Michael Herz. Lloyd said, “Oh, you go to NYU, what do you want to do on our new film”The First Turn On’?” I said I’d like to be the script supervisor so I could work with the director. He said “Done, what else do you want to do?” I ended Woking on the film as Script Supervisor, and wrote some additional scenes. When the actor for a major part in the movie didn’t show up, Lloyd said “Mark, you do it” I played Duane, a socially awkward nerdy boyfriend of the camp counselor Michelle. I played it over the Top, outrageous. In a dinner scene with Michelle’s family I related a corn and rubbed mashed potato’s and gravy through my hair. This was how I became a Troma Performer, The following year when they were casting for Toxic Avenger, Lloyd and Michael called me Up and offered me the role of Melvin. They said they auditioned hundreds of kids for the part but what they really wanted is what I did with Duane on the First Turn On, I accepted and the rest is history.
AJ: Did Toxic Avenger feel like a risk at the time? When independent films didn’t have the pedigree they do now?
Mark: Besides playing Melvin, I was also the script supervisor, so I saw the entire film being made. Everyone involved new it was going to be a crazy cult film if it ever got noticed. Toxic Avenger was made for very little money, so the risk was little. And after it started Playing as midnight movies and developed a following it set the template for Troma movies of the future.
AJ: Aside from your legendary work with Troma, what are some of your favorite movies or tv shows you’ve been apart of?
Mark: I work in Hollywood as a tv editor, I worked with Stan Lee on the TV show “Who wants to be a Superhero?” That was great fun. When I started making appearances at Monster conventions I started being offered movie roles. Although I always was available for Troma movies, Toxic Avenger 4. Return To Nuke Em High. I just acted in a Horror Film “The Macabre” which has an awesome script. I play Charlie a crazy grounds keeper for a nature site. I’m also Acting in “The After School Special” in June. Lloyd is also acting in This movie. And a few years ago I made my own damn movie which I also starred in TOXUC TUTU. The almost true story of whatever became of the Toxic Avenger’s Melvin The Mop Boy. The CD is available at Amazon and Chemicalburn.net , and it is streaming on Amazon Prime, Google Play, VUDU, and Apple iTunes.
5) If you have any advice for anyone that wants to be an actor or get involved with independent film what would it be? Get involved with the indie community through conventions and social media, especially the Horror community is very welcome to independent new talent. Troma is always looking for an outrageous newcomer who is willing to work for free. Lol.
AJ: If you can discuss anything about it what are your thoughts on Toxic Avenger getting remade? Also what are some of your favorite remakes?
Mark: I’m actually very excited about a Hollywood remake, Troma is still going to be involved, and Lloyd say’s the script is better than the original. I think Peter Dinklage play Toxie is Genius. I am told there might be a cameo for me. As far as favorite Remakes, I am a Big fan of the remake of “Invasion of The Body Snatchers” with Donald Sutherland. I loved Willard with Crispin Glover. And the remakes of IT and THE FLY iARE classics.
Have a great day Mark pleasure chatting with you