Movie News

Friday, May 10, 2013

New Live-Action 'Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles' Coming Out of the Sewer Soon (*UPDATED with trailer*)

The first trailer for the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is online now. Check it out here:

(Update 4/30) And now, a second trailer has been released that shows a bit more of the the action, the story, the Turtles, and even a glimpse of Shredder:

(scroll down to bottom of page for more updates)

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles - the favorite part of childhood

Well, we have put off talking about this for long enough, but since it is currently filming and making big waves all over the interweb, I guess we finally have to . . .

Our old friend Michael Bay (as a producer, not director) and his folks at Platinum Dunes (who remade Friday the 13th, Nightmare on Elm Street, and Texas Chainsaw Massacre) are making a new live-action Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie.

They're back! I'm okay with it as long as they bring back Vanilla Ice for a new song

New TMNT Logo
Dan and I, like most kids born in the ‘80s and raised in the ‘90s, were/are obsessed with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles – the cartoon, the movies, the toys . . . everything. We even somehow talked one of our college film professors into letting us show the opening scene from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze in class one day under the guise of something tangentially related to the current discussion. Hell, when I was 5 or 6, my parents even took me to the TMNT: Coming Out of Their Shells rock concert. Yes, it was actors dressed in turtle suits pretending to play musical instruments while singing and rapping - and yes, it was as awesome as it sounds. Check out the video below and prepare to have your mind blown:

Now I do not have kids yet, but I hope/plan on introducing my future kids to my favorite bit of childhood nostalgia and hope it takes with them as well (at least so I can re-watch the movies and play with all my old toys again without feeling like an idiot). So a new movie and a potential resurgence of TMNT popularity would go a long way in aiding that potentially futile (and mostly selfish) endeavor.

I had all these, and many, many more
So I want to be excited about a new film, especially a live-action one, but like most re-makes (and that Scream TV show), the prospect comes with a whole heckuvalot of skepticism and trepidation, but also some curiosity and hope.  

Unfortunately, things are not looking that good as of right now. First off, Bay’s Platinum Dunes production company, purveyor of crappy horror remakes, does not have a respectable track record with any of their films, much less the remakes/re-imaginings. They have hired Jonathan Liebesman (Battle Los Angeles, Wrath of the Titans) as director, but again, that has some downside, but potential is there.

Remember all these are the remakes, not the originals, so . . . not exactly impressive

Then, an early draft of the script appeared online that removed the “mutant” aspect of the characters and turned them into "alien beings" rather genetically mutated turtles. Needless to say, that pissed everyone of – so much so that Bay, who initially defended the decision, eventually backtracked and restored the mutant origins back to the turtles (thank God).  

"It was the ooze!"
Next, there has been an apparent back-and-forth disagreement between the two original TMNT creators, Kevin Eastman and Kevin Laird, and the film’s producers (mainly over the whole “alien race” thing, casting, and other potentially major changes to the established TMNT canon).

Finally, as with most remakes/reboots, questionable casting decisions have also caused quite a stir. The first person cast was Megan Fox as reporter/Turtle confidant April O’Neil. Boy, was this a surprise and apparently pissed everyone off (most notably Peter Laird). Plus, didn’t she essentially call Bay masochistic (or was it misogynistic? Both probably) and compare him to Hitler, which ultimately got her fired from the Transformers series?  Well, apparently that is all water under-the-bridge now because she is certainly in the film - minus the red hair (I guess it is highlighted a reddish tinge), but at least the trademark yellow jumpsuit is kind of there with that jacket.

The next bits of casting were also a bit of a surprise. First, four relatively unknown actors were cast as Leonardo (Pete Ploszek), Donatello (Jeremy Howard), Raphael (Alan Ritchson), and Michelangelo (Noel Fisher). No big deal there because the actual characters will be CGI with the actors adorning motion capture suits. So as long as they can capture the recognizable and beloved traits of each character, then fame and appearance are certainly not necessary.

I love that they still wear the colors to signify who is who
Next up, we had one of my favorite comedic actors Will Arnett cast in an unknown rule, which after much fan speculation was revealed to be Vernon Fenwick, April’s cameraman. In the cartoon, Fenwick would try and undermine April to get ahead and become a reporter himself – something Arnett should have no trouble making enjoyable to watch. But I would still expect something more from his character (seems like too big of an actor to take on such a perceived minor role).

I would watch Will Arnett in anything (Cannot wait for Arrested Development to come back!)
And finally, two more actors were added recently. Danny Woodburn was cast as Splinter (also likely to be a motion capture performance). You may recognize Woodburn as the dwarf actor from Watchmen, Death to Smoochy, or a great stint as Kramer’s friend Mickey on Seinfeld in the ‘90s.

At least he won't have to wear shoe lifts

*UPDATE* (6/2)

Another casting update came down this week: the one, the only Whoopi Goldberg has been added to the TMNT cast (quite surprising, right?). But no, not as Shredder unfortunately, but as Bernadette Thompson, a Channel 6 News editor and April and Vernon’s boss. Perhaps only die-hard fans will notice the correlation here: the character appears to be a reinvented version of Burne Thompson, a J. Jonah Jameson (from Spider-man)-like character from the original cartoon series. He wasn't crazy about the Turtles, but saw them as way to boost ratings, so he allowed April to cover there actions for the news.

Also, some new pics were made available online too. Check them out here:

Recently, the great character actor and Michael Bay-regular William Fichtner (Armageddon, Black Hawk Down, The Dark Knight) was cast in an “a lead role with iconic stature,” according to Deadline

So what is this "lead role with iconic stature" mean? It has got be to Shredder, right? Fichtner has certainly got the chops for a big villain role and we know the Foot Clan is involved in the film, so all signs point to Shredder? But maybe it is not, maybe it is another villain like Krang (awesome) or Baxter Stockman? Nothing but speculation for now, but I am sure info will break soon and we will get all the answers.

Who will William Fichtner play?

*UPDATE* (6/22)

William Fichtner confirmed to The Huffington Post that he will, in fact, be playing the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles' #1 nemesis Shredder, as rumored. I think this he is a great choice - a solid, menacing character actor with range and anger. Though he is not Japanese, as most incarnations of the villain have been, but we already know Bay and Liebesman's take on the classic franchise is going to be a little different. So we'll just have to wait a little bit longer to see how it all works out.

Let's just hope he can be as awesome as this:

*UPDATE* (7/3)

In another new interview (this time with Screen Rant), Fitchner now reveals that they are, in fact, changing up the backstory a bit. In the interview, he said:
“I actually play a guy named Eric Sachs [ed: Sounds like Sachs? Hard to understand] in the movie. And then he goes through a few stages in his existence.”
Now we all know Shredder starts off as the Japanese man Oroku Saki, so could this new film see a more Westernized version of the notorious character? Check out more details over at /Film.

 *UPDATE* (7/25) 

Not much new news, just few more on-set pics taken of Megan Fox as April O'Neil and a trying-hard-but-probably-failing-to-be-incognito Raphael.

That pic of Raph in disguise is eerily similar to the very same character's stroll out in public in the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie as he meets Casey Jones (see video below).

 *UPDATE* (10/27) 

A few pics leaked online a few weeks ago reportedly from the set that reveal the Turtles' secret sewer lair. The pics (courtesy of via Latino Review) are unconfirmed from the studio.

Also, Fitchner recently discussed the film's new take on Shredder a bit more by saying:
"I can tell you that who Shredder is in the telling of this Turtles is unlike any telling of the story before. His connection and relationship to the turtles is a bit surprising and for an actor playing it, the backstory, which comes out in this film, is really intriguing… We made some changes while filming that I thought are just awesome.”
 “Shredder dons himself with armor, and that’s who he is and that happens in this story,” Fichtner said. “It’s the backstory on how it all began with the turtles, that the character of Eric Sachs… It’s not by chance that he knows the Turtles.”
 On the film itself, Fitchner added:
"It always had sort of a bouncy cartoon feel to me, which is great, that’s why it was appealing. That’s not this movie… It’s not like any Mutant Ninja Turtles thing you’ve ever seen before. It’s freaky, they’re cool, and they’re mutants and they look awesome. It’s tough and it’s going to be really, really great."
Source: /Film and Flicks in the City 

*UPDATE* (1/30/14)

Is this what the new TMNT look like?

The internet exploded (with fanboy rage) twice over the last couple of days about the shrouded-in-mystery look of the rebooted Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. First, an unofficial, overly accessorized mock-up of a child's Halloween costume (the all-important merchandising tie-ins!) appeared to much ridicule all across the web.

Michelangelo appears to be rockin' sunglasses, a necklace, spandex-like board shorts,  and a sweatshirt(?) tied around his waist. All I can say is. . . Yikes! But I am sure kids will love it, while older fans will, of course, hate it (as they always do with reboots of classic, nostalgic characters).

Next, we got a more comprehensive look (via Screen Crush) at all four turtles with this poster reportedly from the London Toy Fair.

Let me emphasize, I do not hate these looks (not crazy about it though either). I get it, they have to update it and make everything cooler for today's over-stimulated generation. They certainly have a different and unique look - and it matches pretty spot-on with what we saw with the Michelangelo costume above.

Donny is wearing "nerd" glasses with some kind of Ghostbusters-like goggles on top of his head, Mikey is seen with the same surf dude necklace as the costume, and this time Ralph is sporting the shades. At least they all have their own unique look - costume, style, and physical appearance.

In the end, I guess it is best to wait and see what the characters really look like on-screen.

*UPDATE* (1/30/14) 

This week we got another look at what this newest incarnation of the TMNT look like thanks to leaked images of action figurines. Without a doubt, these new pics give us the best idea yet of their appearance. And well... as I said before, I don't hate it and it is certainly different. Take a look and decide for yourself.

(You can check out close-up shots of each figure by clicking the source links at the bottom)

Also, rumor has it, the movie's first trailer will play in front of Captain America: The Winter Solider - in theaters April 4. When it is made available online, I will definitely post it here as well. (UPDATE - Check the trailer out at the top of the page).

Source: Collider and

*UPDATE* (4/3/14) 

It was revealed today by Deadline, that Johnny Knoxville and Tony Shaloub have joined the cast - well there voices at least. Knoxville comes on board to voice Leonardo and Shaloub will dole out the wisdom as Splinter

This news and late additions to the cast come as bit of a surprise, particularly Knoxville. It was always just assumed that the Turtles would be voiced by the four actors (Pete Ploszek, Jeremy Howard, Alan Ritchson, and Noel Fisher) who provided the motion capture as well. It is unknown at this time if all four voices will be changed or just Knoxville as Leo. To be honest, I can easily imagine Knoxville providing the voice for one of the Turtles, just a little surprised its Leo.

Not much has been made about Splinter in this incarnation yet, the character, actor, or voice, and he did not make an appearance in the trailer released last week (watch it now at the top of the page). But I think Shaloub is a great choice. He is a great actor with a distinctive voice, though again, the film is spreading farther away from the original character's Asian origins.


So how do you feel about this new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie? Thoughts on casting and look? And how about some Krang or Bebop and Rocksteady love?

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