‘Ninja Turtles’ Casting: Actors Eyed to Play Leonardo, Donatello and Michelangelo

Published 2 years ago by , Updated May 12th, 2013 at 7:43 am,

kevin eastman ninja turtles reboot Ninja Turtles Casting: Actors Eyed to Play Leonardo, Donatello and Michelangelo

Casting for the much-criticized Ninja Turtles live-action movie reboot – arriving from Platinum Dunes, producer Michael Bay and director Jonathan Liebesman (Wrath of the Titans) – is moving ahead, with Transformers actress Megan Fox playing April O’Neal and Alan Ritchson (Aquaman on Smallville) playing the most tempestuous of the four Turtles, Raphael.

Ninja Turtles not only ditches the eponymous reptile warriors’ traditional mutation backstory (they’re now just aliens), it’s also dropping the animatronics and costumes from previous live-action movie installments, in favor of motion-capture like that used in Avatar and Rise of the Planet of the Apes (or, if not that, “emotion capture” like in Oz the Great and Powerful). Hence, the main actors will bring the Turtle characters to physical life during filming – as opposed to, only lending their voices during post-production.

Here are the names being eyed for the remaining Turtle roles (via Deadline):

  • Pete Ploszek as Leonardo, the mature leader who assumes responsibilities for his brothers. Ploszek has made single-episode appearances on TV series like Parks and Recreation and Shameless, but for all intents and purposes he is an unknown in Hollywood.
  • Jeremy Howard as Donatello, the “geek” Turtle who is usually portrayed as being scientific-minded. Howard, as it were, has spent much of his acting career playing either oddballs or nerdy types, with small roles in films like Galaxy Quest, Men in Black II and Accepted; not to mention, appearances on shows like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Scrubs and (more recently) Breaking Bad.
  • Noel Fisher as Michangelo, the “party dude” of the Turtles pack. He voiced Toad on the animated X-Men: Evolution TV show and played recurring roles on series like The Riches and Shameless and the Hatfields & McCoys mini-series, in addition to previously working on Battle Los Angeles (which Liebesman directed) and the (probably not) final Twilight movie, Breaking Dawn – Part 2.
ninja turtles cast Ninja Turtles Casting: Actors Eyed to Play Leonardo, Donatello and Michelangelo

Pete Ploszek, Jeremy Howard and Noel Fisher

Variety‘s Jeff Sneider Tweeted that Michaelangelo isn’t “the only big role [Fisher's] being eyed FOUR.” Is that a hint about the actor being in the running for director Josh Trank’s Fantastic Four reboot – or is Sneider referring to the role of Four in the young adult novel adaptation Divergent, which is actively filling its cast out?

What IS clear is that all the aforementioned Ninja Turtles actors aren’t going to be handling the majority of the characters’ high-flying stunts, martial arts combat and fight sequences that are (supposedly) emulating the brutal action scenes in The Raid: Redemption – though, with teenager friendly PG-13 levels of violence that will bring in younger moviegoers, especially those who turn out en masse for Bay’s Transformers movies (lest anyone mistakenly believe this reboot is going back to the dark, imaginative and satirical roots of Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird’s original comic books).

Expect more Ninja Turtles casting updates in the near future, including word on who’s playing The Shredder… or is it “Colonel Schrader” in this version?


Ninja Turtles opens in theaters on June 6th, 2014.


Source: Deadline, Variety

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  1. Very lazy casting choices if they’re true.

  2. These newcomers deserve to work with much better filmmakers than these two greedy hacks (Bay & Liebesman).

  3. This blows.

  4. *Sigh*

  5. …I dont know any of these guys.

  6. Colonel Schrader? So the leader of the Foot Clan goes from a Asian Martial Arts master to a Jewish Military leader?…. Oy Vey

  7. Noel Fisher is the only good choice on here. This movie will be a trainwreck, worse than any of the Transformers movies probably.

  8. Who?

  9. What’s so bad about giving unknowns a chance? The film industry would be a stagnant place if only well known people got roles.

    • I agree. I like the idea of having unknowns giving a chance. Unfortunately, the way this movie is headed, they will be stigmatized will this tripe and will wish they remained unknown.
      I have no faith in the direction this movie is headed. :( Now I’m wishing for more animated movies like TMNT.

  10. I have no idea who any of these actors are. A question for everyone, who would you cast in the roles of the turtles ?

    • I would have loved to see Corey Feldman come back. I don’t have a particular preference about the others though so I don’t mind them going to relatively unknown actors.

    • Since it’s mostly mo-cap/voice work, the two most important things (to me at least) is having a voice that sounds right, and having the right personality for the role – and those are the two things which imo, Ploszek and Fisher don’t have (can’t speak for Jeremy Howard since I don’t remember any of his roles, and therefor can’t really judge him)

      I haven’t really given it much thought, and I’m okay with unknown actors being cast as the turtles, but my dream cast would be something like this:

      Leonardo: Chris Evans/Stephen Amell (strong, earnest & assertive voice, but also kind of vulnerable at the same time)
      Raphael: Nolan North (he nailed the voice in the 2007 animated movie and he has the personality of a hot-headed @$$-kicker down already)
      Donatello: someone geeky. Joseph Gordon Levitt would be an awesome choice, but his schedule is pretty busy these days.
      Michelangelo: Jonah Hill or James Franco keep coming to mind, but it might be best going with a young, unknown actor imo. He should also sound like the youngest of the group.
      Master Splinter: Ken Watanabe (no need to explain)

      Like I said, those choices are mainly based on their voices and personalities, so to me that would have been the perfect “what if” scenario.

        • Correction, it was in 03, not the 90s.

  11. NO,NO,NO!!!! first we get megan fox as april o neil and now these lazy casting choices… this movie is goin down hill so fast its not even funny

  12. I have no idea who any of them are but everyone has to start somewhere so maybe these are good choices?

    I mean, we can complain now but lets be honest, the Transformers movies were absolutely dire and both Megan Fox and Shia LeBeouf have no business being actors whatsoever but people still throw cash at Michael Bay flicks and Megan and Shia still somehow manage to find work so it’s not as if intelligent, critically minded thinking about plot, setpieces and casting could make a shred (or a Schrad) of difference here.

    What we’re gonna get is an expensive, kid friendly movie with lots of action sequences, not very much in the way of great dialog or delivery but will still make back its budget.

    Question is, are the unknowns being cast to give them a shot at the big time or because most of the budget is being spent on effects?

  13. GUYS! who cares who’s playing the turtles. They are f**king turtles!!
    You will never see their faces!
    They will either be motion captured or costumed!

  14. Nic Cage for Shredder all the way.

    • MOTHER OF GOD! What are you thinking?

      • lmao he is right. If they are going to wreck this franchise lets do it right.

        Maybe we could get lucky and have it test screened and promptly shelved.

        Casey Jones played by Shia Labeouf

        • Arnold Schwarzenegger for Splinter

          • Ron Jeremy for Pizza Face

            • Jonah Hill for Hun :)

              • Rosie O’Donell for Venus

                • Rosie Perez for Bebop and/or Rocksteady.

                • omg i just lost it. rosie as anything, ahahahahaha. ahahahahaha. HAH. oh man. i’m about to cry.

  15. What we are seeing the result of is not greed. What were seeing is the result of terrible film making from Egotistical morons.

  16. I swear I love this site with all my nerd-heart BUT I cannot take the negative Nay-Sayers anymore. None of you know who these guys are? Try watching a little TV, Noel Fisher is an amazing actor who can really get physical Just watch a great little show called Shameless. The other two I have seen here and there and they’re personas on screen in previous rolls fits the reason why they would cast them. I’d like to know who on here knows what it takes to make a movie? better yet who has adapted something like a comic book to film? I’m sure NONE of you so please stop bashing movies that you end up flocking to and praising once you’ve seen it.

    • I hated the British version of Shameless so I’ll be damned if I know who someone form the US version is.

    • the US version shouldn’t even be mentioned in the same sentence as the crappy original. it’s superior in literally every way

    • I’m not a chef, but I still know what tastes good. We are the audience. It’s being made for us. Feel free to call us hypocrites if we see it and love it, but until than we are allowed to express our dislike to a project which is every increasingly looking like a screw you to the fans.

  17. wow what a boring, nonchalant crap of a casting job that is. I hope this fails, and fails miserably for the narcissistic Michael Bay.

  18. They should have casted Sheldon and co. for the turtles… it is only voice after all

    • and alienate everyone who thinks big bang theory is a terrible show? great idea

  19. “Transformers actress Megan O’Fox playing April O’Neal”?

    Um, when did Ms. Fox become an Irish lass?

    • Laugh it up, Fuzzball! ;-)

      P.S. Thanks for the catch, it’s been corrected.

  20. What amazes me is how news sites cling to the turtles being aliens thing just to keep the hate going. I seem to remember it was revealed that Bay’s comment about the turtles being of alien origin was taken out of context. But of course no one wants to acknowledge that because everyone has jumped on the hate bandwagon. Give this film a break at least until a trailer drops.

  21. Hayden Christensen for Shredder

    • Christian Bale. He can bust out his old Batman voice.

  22. Who the frak ARE these people!?!?

  23. I can’t even try to get on board with this film. I grew up with te ninja turtles and these doiches are making a total mockery of them. So so sad!

  24. Well its better than Taylor Lautner i think

  25. I don’t mind this casting at all to be honest, i actually am glad to know that this is movie is gaining more speed and getting more cast members, to be honest the only cast member I’m worried about is Megan Fox because these guys can act i believe she hasn’t acted well in a movie that i have seen her in so far. I like the casting so far like i said its better than Taylor Lautner (god i really don’t like that actor) right.

    • Yeah, Megan Fox is pretty much my only gripe. That and the script that was leaked, but that’s definitely being redone so no worries for that. Hopefully the director can bring the characters to life though!

  26. I don’t get it, if the turtles are motion captured then why not cast some badass martial artist and the cast a separate cast to do the voices. That way you get the best of both worlds, actors who know how to really fight, and actors who have voices that match the characters perfectly.

    • I imagine they’ll get martial art lessons and work out like crazy man

  27. This thing is so going to make the original look Oscar worthy.

  28. What did you spect people, it’s a michael bay movie, his casting choises sucks

  29. Christian Bale for Shredder, he has that Batman voice that would go great great under Shredder’s helmet.