Director Jonathan Liebesman and producer Andrew Form talk TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES

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Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles! That was the rallying cry for every kid growing up on Saturday mornings. You had the TMNT series, which was a hit,toys,movies and costumes. Fast forward a decade or two, and it’s time for a new incarnation of the sewer ninjas. They may look different, but these are still the same turtles under all that CGI according to the film leads.

“[The tone] was the hardest thing about the movie,” producer Andrew Form said to Coming Soon. “…That’s why we picked these pieces to show… It’s amazing how well the personalities come through in these characters.”
“I think for me, the touchstones were April O’Neil, Shredder, the Turtles and Splinter,” Director Jonathan Liebesman added. “Make sure we see how they become turtles. Make sure they’re mutants. Make sure there’s pizza.”

One thing that has had fans divided, is the new look of the Turtles. These are big, hulking mutants, who just happen to have ninja skills. According to Liebesman however, the personalities of the Turtles are still intact. Donatello for instance, is a lolcat addict who has mobile internet rig on his shell that keeps him constantly connected to the web and New York.

Shredder

I think he’s just your typical teenager. Well, maybe not typical. But he’s still a massive geek who lives in his basement and has the most powerful internet connection in all of New York City. You can’t tell in what you saw, but he has these Nintendo keypads that he’s rigged into this little miniature holographic thing. He’s totally geeked out and invented his own equipment. In my head, he’s got these solar powered sort of ninja outfit. It’s solar powered so it can power all the gear on his back. He has a whole bunch of stuff.

Even though the film stars four half-shell heroes, there are actually six full-CGI creations, when you factor in Splinter and Shredder. “William Fichtner isn’t Shredder,” Liebesman said.

[Fichtner] is Eric Sachs. Shredder is played by another actor. He’s not all CG. You see him without his armor on. When he’s in the armor, there’s an actor, but he’s been augmented. Like in ‘Iron Man,’ it’s CGI.”

“He’s maybe wearing the shoulder pads and then we extend the suit everywhere,” Form added. “There was a helmet that could be worn, but most of it is done in the computer.” And yes, the film will include lots of pizza. “I was online and saw someone asking, ‘Is pizza in the movie?'” Form said. “You’ll see the world’s most operatic pizza scene committed to CGI.”

As for the origins of the turtles, well at least they aren’t aliens anymore, with a story more closley tied to that infamous ooze, called Mutagen. “They do become mutants because of Mutagen,” Liebesman said. ”

For me, as a fan, it’s a very satisfying origin. We discussed, ‘Should we do the exact Eastman thing?’ The problem is, it becomes very complicated. People who aren’t fans will just be like, ‘What the f– is going on?’ There’s already so much complication in terms of Splinter being formed because he was Shredder’s nemesis who stole his girlfriend. It’s just that then you start opening a whole bunch of doors that became very complex to explore in this film.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is out on August 8.

Last Updated: July 18, 2014

Darryn Bonthuys

Word-slinger at Critical Hit. Inventor of the macho Swiss gym chocolate known as Testoblerone. That's...that's about it really.

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