March 24, 2012

TMNT UPDATES: Jonathan Liebesman Talks, Rumors And Casting Ideas

TMNT creator Kevin Eastman is officially on board the reboot, giving the project more creditability. Kevin is contributing creatively while attending the development meetings with everyone involved with the film. Hopefully this means Kevin is also able to talk down terrible ideas and isn't just collecting a paycheck/producer credit for agreeing to everything others come up with. CBM was able to find this statement from Eastman speaking on the project. Besides Michael Bay, the rest of the creative team is decent enough which includes director Jonathan Liebesman (Battle: Los Angeles, Wrath of The Titans) along with writers Josh Applebaum and Andre Nemec (Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol).

"Hey Guys, Sorry to have been away for so long--completely swamped with work--but it is some pretty exciting stuff. I had been invited to check out the TMNT film development by my friend Scott Mednick over the years, and a while back had a full look behind the curtian at what writers Appelbaum and Nemec, director Liebesman, and producer Bay are doing--and trust me--it IS AWESOME. I'm officially on board, and will share more as I'm allowed... thanks all!"

Director Jonathan Liebesman has also come out to defend the project as he gives a few statements to Collider during some press for his upcoming film Wrath of The Titans. He touches on the alien angle correcting fans that in the comics the ooze itself has an alien origin. Jonathan also hints that the turtles could have a motion capture process similar to The Rise of The Planet of The Apes. He also confirmed the film is expected to start shooting this September. Paramount has set the reboot with a release date of December 25th 2013.

“Whatever mythology we’re building on or expanding is coming from that guy, Kevin Eastman’s head, who created the Turtles in the first place. And so everything will tie in with the mythology; fans will be extremely excited with what we’re coming up with. A lot of it is stuff he’s wanted to do for a long time, but just hasn’t had the opportunity because now we have the budget and things on this film to expand it in the right way. And so, I’m happy that everyone is extremely passionate, and they will not be disappointed. It’s all coming from the best possible place for this franchise.”

“All I’ll say is that I love how they did [The Rise of the Planet of the Apes]. That was exceptional.”

“We’re definitely into the action, but for me what’s more important than that is that it’s a story about brotherhood and friendship and responsibility. Right now, I’m with the characters because those are what attracted me to the movie. They’re the best characters I’ll have had a chance to deal with.”

News of shorter working title for the reboot is being reported by BleedingCool which is likely to adhere to the recent development of the turtles being aliens. The site says that new title could end up being just NINJA TURTLES. They also speculate the title change might lead to the teenage angle of the turtles being axed as well.

A few other tidbits have been circling the interwebs lately as well. One rumor previous to the quotes posted by the director, points to the use of motion capture. Adding onto that is we might be seeing well known actors taking on the roles of the turtles, voicing and doing the mo-cap themselves. The biggest issue with the original films were that the turtles were played by stuntmen in costumes while voice actors dubbed the lines later on. The performances were sort of buggy and never really connected the way April or Casey did.


THE TURTLES: It sounds like the casting of the turtles may end up being a motion capture performance meaning that we won't be seeing the actors' faces on screen. With this in mind I believe actors that should be looked at include John Boyega (Attack The Block), Evan Peters (Kick-Ass, American Horror Story), Kyle Gallner (Jennifer's Body, A Nightmare On Elm Street, Red State) and Jamie Campbell Bower (Deathly Hollows 1-2, Sweeney Todd, Twilight Series). This is of course is still with the understanding the characters are going be teenagers. With the title changed to Ninja Turtles it's unknown for sure they'll be looking at younger actors for the roles.

ADRIANNE PALICKI AS APRIL O'NEIL: Adrianne (Friday Night Lights) has taken more action roles lately with films like the Red Dawn remake and G.I. Joe: Retaliation. Her connection with Paramount could lead to her at least testing for the part. Considering Michael Bay's terrible history of hiring actresses based on looks rather than talent, Palicki would be a compromise. As April is really the only main human character in the franchise she needs an actual actress playing her. With Palicki in the role if she has action scenes she'll at least look she can handle herself. It's unknown if they'll go with April being a reporter or a computer programmer but the important thing is they need to include her.

JARED PADALECKI AS CASEY JONES: Casey Jones might be a fan favorite but he doesn't get too much screentime in the franchise. It's unknown if he'll even be in the reboot as the vigilante might be saved for latter films as it's rumored Shredder and the foot might not be in this first installment. He's been used as the love interest of April along with being a sidekick for the Turtles. Jared Palicki looks the part and has a connection with Platinum Dunes starring in their remake of Friday The 13th. He has enough of a female fanbase from Supernatural that leans him towards the heartthrob category.

LANCE REDDICK AS DR. BAXTER STOCKMAN: Dr. Baxter Stockman is another side character but one of the most notable human characters in the franchise before his own mutation. In the comics he created the Mousers with the help of April O'Neil who was his computer programmer. Leading to her first encounter with the turtles. If the reboot is meant to tell the origins of April as well I expect to at least see a cameo from Baxter. Lance Reddick of the Wire and Fringe hasn't made a giant splash on the big screen yet. While his Wire co-stars Dominic West and Idris Elba have already dipped their toes in the blockbuster genre. Baxter seems like a complex enough character that could attract Reddick to the franchise.

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