‘Ninja Turtles’ Co-Creator Blasts Reboot Movie Script

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Ninja Turtles Creator Laird Talks Reboot Script Ninja Turtles Co Creator Blasts Reboot Movie Script

Anyone who’s been paying attention to Hollywood over the past decade has become familiar with one unavoidable fact: rebooting beloved properties is hard. Taking a remnant of million’s of moviegoers’ childhood nostalgia and changing it – even with the best intentions – is likely to result in overwhelming attacks and accusations of blasphemy. The Michael Bay-produced live action reboot of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is no exception.

The reboot, now working under the title of Ninja Turtles, came under heavy fire when it was revealed to be rewriting the Turtles’ origins as extraterrestrial in nature. Yet, the latest criticism of the project (coming from Turtles co-creator Peter Laird) doesn’t just take issue with the lack of mutating ooze in the reboot, but the overall quality of the script behind it.

The script in question was recently leaked  (allegedly) in a manner akin to walking a lamb to veritable internet slaughter. Fans were looking for concrete evidence that the origin re-writing was as detrimental to the brand as Michael Bay’s mere involvement, and they got it in spades with the leaked copy. April O’Neil and Casey Jones as a high school couple and a clandestine military division nicknamed ‘The Foot’ were just a few examples of what the writers felt were appropriate ‘updates’ to the source material, and fan outcries were renewed.

The Ninja Turtles reboot has since been delayed, according to the comic’s co-creator Kevin Eastman – but not due to any lack of quality in the script or overall direction. Hearing that Eastman thinks highly of the latest script versions was encouraging to fans, but the most recent comments from the comic’s other co-creator most definitely is not.

On Laird’s personal blog, commenters inquired as to his thoughts on the leaked script, and whether he had any insights to offer on its direction. His statements were spotted by CBM, and make his stance on the reboot fairly clear:

“Someone else alerted me to the existence of this script, and I just a few minutes ago finished reading it. If it is, in fact, the actual draft that was rejected and caused the production of the next TMNT movie to be pushed back to 2014 because the script was unsatisfactory, then I think all true TMNT fans should be grateful to the new “powers that be” that they did not allow this wretched thing to go any further. It could definitely be taken as a good sign if that is the case.

It reminds me of one of the reasons I am glad to not own the property anymore… because I don’t have to tear what little hair I have left out while trying to fix junk like this.

“I think the script that I read is so fundamentally flawed, and — more to the point — so NOT a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie, that trying to make piecemeal changes to it in an effort to make it into something halfway decent is probably a fool’s errand.

In my opinion, the thing should just be tossed out, deliberately forgotten, and the process of generating a new script — really a new outline, then treatment, then script — should be started again. I have no insider knowledge of what’s going on with the movie, but from the bits and pieces that have slipped out, it seems like that may be exactly what is happening.”

tmnt 2011 Ninja Turtles Co Creator Blasts Reboot Movie Script

Obviously Laird is not one to mince words, since he no longer owns the license or is involved with the reboot’s production in any capacity. Not to mention, his comments voice the same sentiment generally being thrown around by the fan community. What is important to note, though, is that while Laird also referred to attempts made to twist Michael Bay’s initial statement about the Turtles’ alien origins, his problems with the property don’t begin and end with their extraterrestrial background.

Series co-creator Kevin Eastman previously explained how the Ninja Turtles are already somewhat alien creatures, and the fact that Laird isn’t openly attacking the film on that point might do some work in calming the masses. The script, on the other hand, is another matter.

It’s not hard to see why Laird would take issue with the changes being made in the name of a modern setting. Presumably, April and Casey, and the Foot Clan itself were designed the way they were for a reason. And while the ‘Teenage Mutant’ has officially been dropped from the title – possibly to resonate more clearly with the now-aged fans of the original comics, films and TV series – the decision to recast the two lead human characters as high school students – presumably to attract a younger audience – makes no sense. Aside from making the proposed film “so NOT a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie” the discrepancy just highlights the often jumbled message of Michael Bay’s over-the-top action anchored in under-developed-romance style, even if he is only producing.

Shia Labeouf and Megan Fox April and Casey Jones in Ninja Turtles movie Ninja Turtles Co Creator Blasts Reboot Movie Script

We could almost see Bay bringing these two back as Casey Jones and April O’Neil…

Before fans immediately hold up Laird as their saving grace and a voice for their resistance, it’s worth noting that he also holds an interesting view of fan-favorite villains Bebop and Rocksteady‘s roles in any live-action reboot. If Laird were writing the new script, he’d “ditch Bebop and Rocksteady completely.” There are sure to be droves of fans who would be crushed, were that the case.

For better or worse, and whether the co-creators of the famous foursome can agree or not, Ninja Turtles opens in U.S. theaters on May 16th, 2014.

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Source: Peter Laird (via ComicBookMovie)

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TAGS: teenage mutant ninja turtles

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  1. poor guy. it must feel horrible to see something you created go down so bad. but hopefully the script gets fixed… hopefully

    • It won’t, cuz Bay told US fans to shut up and wait for the movie to be released.

  2. The TMNT is just one of those comics that became a cartoon pretty early and became really, really successful. It kind of ran away with itself and became a cartoon, toys, movies, musical stage shows, frozen pizzas etc….
    It never really had time to mature as a comic and create it’s own world. Most of the TMNT world was driven by the very long running cartoon and been built on that.

    • comics still around and the long running 2003 cartoon avoided all that campy crap.

      • I still think to an extent TMNT was a victim if it’s own success, and what we are hearing about this new film, it seems things aren’t gonna change.

    • True enough. I (and almost all of my friends I’ve talked about it with) were hoping a reboot would actually take the opportunity to be one of the only mature, dark superhero-ish films to come from comic books with special effects as well. Doubt that’s the case, which is a massive disappointment.

  3. Tis a sad time to be a fan of somethin bay sets his eyes upon.

  4. Lets get shia labeouf to be casey and a really pretty yet untalented actress to april, and only have the turtles in a 1/3 of the film that will make everyone happy right? Oh it won’t?!?!!?!? Well then Hollywood and Michael Bay leave it alone!!!!!!!!!

    • Shia LeDouche quit from Hollywood acting. So, need to worry there. lol

      ……and I have too many foul things I would love to say about that “bastard” Bay, but I will refrain. >.>

  5. All I’m saying is that if Christopher Nolan were making this movie, and making the same changes (rumors of course), everyone would be completely okay with it. Honestly the whole Foot Clan being a military sector thing sounds EXACTLY like something Christopher Nolan or Jon Favreau would do. Favreau made the Ten Rings into a terrorist organization (at least at first) and look how cool that turned out. Also, I wouldn’t mind seeing an origin for April and Casey. Gives their characters more depth than just being a reporter and a vigilante. Plus, they date later in life anyway, so what’s the big deal? People just need to keep an open mind.

    • Hey Buddy, You might want to check out Christopher Nolan’s filmography..People would trust Nolan, because he’s earned it..Besides, Nolan would never touch a movie like this.

      • I’ve seen most of Nolan’s films, he’s a great director. People have a good reason to trust him. What I’m saying is that the trust needs to start somewhere. Maybe right now, Johnathan Liebesman, the actual director, NOT Michael Bay, can use a little trust himself. Many people still doubted Nolan with Batman Begins, then after they saw, they gained his trust. Maybe we should wait until we see it before bashing it.

        As for Nolan never touching a movie like this, what are you basing that on? Are you implying that the TMNT franchise isn’t worthy of a director of his caliber? Not that I would want him to anyway. Not this film. Throw enough money at someone and they’ll touch ANYTHING.

        • @dragonsoul2: Correct me if I’m wrong, but I think you’re basing your comments on the fact that Christopher Nolan tries to makes his movies as realistic as possible. I think this is a common misconception regarding Nolan. The Prestige has teleportation/cloning, and borders on real magic. Inception has people going into each other’s minds. The Batman series, while more realistic, at the end of the day it’s about a guy dressing up like a bat fighting crime. And with elements like fear toxin, cell phone sonar, extreme spine fixing in fewer than 5 months, arguments can certainly be made that the Batman series is not so realistic either. Heck, look at all the plot holes of The Dark Knight Rises (which btw, is my favorite movie of the 3.) Now, I’m sure arguments can be made for each of these that it IS in fact realistic, but my point is, Nolan making his movies realistic is not his first priority.

          From what I’ve seen, it seems that his movies are more focused on just creating a great story. His Batman series is not so faithful to the comics, but it’s a great tale about a man who tries to find himself, as well as conquer his own fears and get over his parents’ death, while fighting crime and corruption. And about the trials and tests this man has to endure, physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, etc.

          Maybe Nolan would make the Foot Clan military organization, and/or Casey and April being high school sweethearts, but I doubt he’d do it unless it would facilitate the story. On the other hand, it seems that Michael Bay, while an excellent action director, is more focused on creating entertaining movies with cool and fun action scenes (which I definitely enjoy, just in a very different way from Nolan’s films.) And the studio is just focused on getting as many demographics as possible. So I think this fan outcry is partially based on the fact that Bay is involved, whose creative decisions generally don’t directly affect the advancement of the storyline, while Nolan has gained the trust and respect of most of the masses, that people trust that decisions he make will make the movie better.

          And regarding Nolan not touching TMNT, I think D. Noble’s comment was based on the fact that many would think that Nolan is done with comic book films (at least for now), and wants to work on some original projects, or maybe the Bond franchise. Although, you never know. DC might suck him in to continue producing the Superman franchise, or helm JLA. And you’re right, if someone gives him enough money, he would probably do TMNT. Even someone like Nolan, who separates himself from many Hollywood execs by not having the money as his number 1 priority, has a breaking point when it comes to the truckloads of cash.

          • You make great points, but are you sure you weren’t directing this response towards D. Noble? The only comments I made about Nolan was that people wouldn’t b**** about this movie if he was directing, and the same changes were still happening. I didn’t say anything about him only making realistic films. D. Noble said that Nolan wouldn’t touch this film. Seems that he is the one inferring that Nolan wouldn’t touch this film, in fact, because it’s not realistic enough.

            My main point is that people have put so much trust into Nolan that if he were the one turning the turtles into aliens, no one would question it. That’s all I’m saying. Yes, if he did it, it would be better for the story somehow. Bay on the other hand would probably misuse the hell out of it. Except people are forgetting one important fact. Michael Bay is not the director.

            • Hmm, maybe I misunderstood what you were saying. In your first comment, you said “the whole Foot Clan being a military sector thing sounds EXACTLY like something Christopher Nolan or Jon Favreau would do”, which I took to imply that Nolan would do something like that because it’s more realistic. Whatever, it seems we’re on the same page anyways.

              And it’s true that Bay is not director, so I guess there’s some hope with Liebsman. And even if it was Bay, like you said, the trust needs to start somewhere, and maybe Bay and co. can surprise us. (Probably not, but it’s a possibility)

              Although then again, with Liebsman, I’m pretty sure his last two movies, Battle: LA and Wrath of the Titans (neither of which I’ve actually seen), were reviewed as favoring style over substance, which sounds just like Mr. Bay himself.

    • Saying people would except this if Nolan was involved is just the other side of the same coin that people who swear he can do no wrong. If this rumored idea is what the script was going to revolve around, then it just sounds like the same contrived formula Hollywood pulls out and tacks onto an existing idea. It would not matter if Spielberg, Peter Jackson, or James Cameron was involved, the story idea just sounds like they are just trying to package another old idea to fit the “tween” demographic. If they pull in some older fans and get their money, whether they dislike it or not, is a bonus.

  6. I really enjoyed the original run of the comics (first 12 or 13 issues before Eastman and Laird passed it off to other creators). Never cared much for the cartoons, but I know a lot of people love that stuff.

    • Exactly. They sold it on way too fast. What the Turtles might have been was lost at an early stage.

      That first run of comics with the origin and the Shredder saga were the best. I liked the cartoon even though it was cheesy and sometimes irritating. But then I discovered the original comics and wished they were more like they are in those pages.

    • The original animated series was a billion times more popular than the comic books.

      • Well yes, that’s obvious. The majority of fans weren’t exposed to the original comics. And the comics they did read were probably the watered down, neutered kids version based on the cartoon and merchandise.

      • Popular doesn’t always equal ,”good”. If that was the case, reality T.V. would have dies out well before we were introduced to the “Shore”

      • One also has to consider the print-run and distribution range for the original comic series, both of which were quite limited and small. I remember trying to find the issues when I lived in Tampa and I also traded comics with a friend in another state.

        As much as like some of the “mature” versions of the characters, themselves, I find myself disappointed with the lack of any reverence to the amount of parody the comic began with and most of the ideas I hear about the changes (potentially) planned seem to completely void most of what I feel is inherent to the original characters.

  7. GIVE ME BEBOP AND ROCKSTEADY!!! GIVE ME SHREDDER AND KRANG!!! GIVE ME THE TECHNODROME!!!!

    • no.

  8. he looks like a turtle

  9. It’s really hilarious to read all of this Michael Bay bashing and then to look at the amount of success his “crappy” Transformers movies are having.

    • They are still crap though.

    • because transformers is bigger than michael bay.

  10. $1,123,746,996 – Transformers: Dark of the Moon …seems this blasphemous “garbage” is gaining in popularity.

    • This indicates that people like crap movies a whole lot.

    • “Jersey Shore” is immensely popular, and its “stars” are now rich because of it…it is STILL crap.

      • Excellent example Archaeon.
        Just because something makes a lot of money, does not mean it’s good quality.

        • There have been dozens of musical acts that sold a ton of records. Doesn’t mean they were all masterpieces of music…..

    • “seems this blasphemous “garbage” is gaining in popularity”

      or more that garbage popcorn flicks are popular.

      To put this in perspective…..McDonalds are literally everywhere and have served roughly 250 BILLION burgers so they are obviously popular ….BUT……would you consider a BigMac and fries a quality meal?

      The short version:

      popularity /= quality

  11. Laird has always hated the cartoons, so a cartoon based movie clearly isn’t going to sit well with him.

    • Laird liked the 2003 cartoon though, and this is hardly an old toon based film anyway, the Turtles and Splinter weren’t aliens in it, Shredder was a ninja and a human, the Foot Clan were ninjas, and Casey Jones was a vigilante.

  12. “Wise man say forgiveness is divine, but never pay full price for a late pizza” – means that if this movie does come to fruition (any incarnation of the script), I’ll be waiting to rent it or stream it on Netflix.

    • ^^This.

  13. I hate everything about this reboot. They need to kick Michael Bay off the project and get someone to rewrite the script, FAST.

    Originally, up until the cartoon, the turtles all had red eye masks. They even had it in the image comics. I think the movie should start with them having red mask, then they change into their more iconic masks.

    • Originall, they were all black and white with a single color enhancing spots on the covers.

  14. The fans-shouting-blasphemy gag is a cute cliche and might even annoy some people, but all it really does it suggest the bias on the part of the person who uses it that certain perspectives can’t have rational arguments backing them up. The truth is every fan has his own canon and each picks and chooses his own elements to build it, like the proverbial salad bar. For instance, whatever some people think of Chris Nolan, I love Batman Begins and The Dark Knight, and The Dark Knight Rises simply just doesn’t exist. Obviously I’ve heard of it, even saw it; but I ain’t buying a copy of it. I like G1 Transformers and Bay’s Labuffoonish warporn doesn’t exist. And so on. You have to go work-by-work when talking about these things.

  15. the jokes involved should pick up the original comics, or watch the animated shows (any of them will do fine, except the last season of the 2003 version which sucked). the reason no one can adapt anything properly is b/c they dont know wtf they’re doing, that and studios think they will maximise profits by catering the movie at hand towards ‘everyone’ without realising that the fans themselves would make them profit.

    i hope it doesn’t get made at all b/c from the sounds of things it has nothing to do with anything besides stealing cash (and childhood memories) from people. lastly… f*** you michael bay for thinking you know what you’re doing with anything you’re involved with (besides bad boys).

  16. nope, Peter Laird is the voice of my resistance…because I whole-heartedly agree that having Bebop and Rocksteady in the movie would be an idiotic disaster. They are moronic cartoon-only characters and not including them in any of the previous films was wise (Tokka and Rahzar don’t count)

  17. They need to make this for adults. I was a young teen when I got into this, now I’m older, so hopefully they won’t make it cheesy and for little kids. It needs to be somewhat dark and violent, what Nolan did with The Dark Knight (Batman reboot) movies. That’s why they were so successful. The Boy Scout characters are no longer badass. I don’t really care if they’re an alien or mutant, I just don’t want the new Ninja Turtles to be lame…

  18. You don’t need to make these changes to have a great film. And I read very few comments about how this is a good thing.

    100% No.

  19. Just a heads up: Michael Bay has also commented on the “leaked script” and said it “saw the shredder” (meaning, it was thrown out) a long while back – apparently before he and the new writers were brought on board.
    He then went on to reiterate that the fans should be quit and wait for the movie to be released… blah, blah, blah, explosions, explosions, Linkin Park, more explosions, blah, blah, blah ;)

    I’m not so sure if he’s telling the truth though, because the summary of that script sounded eerily familiar to the TF movies… still, I thought it was just a fake script, so knowing that version was even seriously written and considered to make it to the big screen is a scary thought…

  20. i hate the turtles,didn´t liked them as a kid.

    • That’s amphibist.

  21. you know what would solve everything? fire Bay and his people and bring in Joss Whedon… case solved ^_^

  22. the Simon Bisley version would be perfect for updated movies