No stranger to playing the hero, Arrow star Stephen Amell plays a vigilante of a different color in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows. Gone are the greens and the brooding of the superhero TV show’s Oliver Queen, replaced by rollerblades and the garrulous nature of the hockey stick-wielding Casey Jones, the heroes on the half shell’s newest ally.
Screen Rant spoke with Amell about what sets his rebooted Jones apart from those that have come before in various cartoon shows and the original 1990s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles live-action trilogy. In our TV interview, the Canadian action hero revealed a new root to Jones’s origin story, the explanation of his clean-cut appearance, and what we might anticipate next, and the climactic action sequence he calls “the five days of work I’m most proud of.”
How is this Casey Jones different from the Casey Jones we’ve seen before?
Stephen Amell: I think what we got to do with this Casey Jones is we got to give him a little bit of an origin story. He’s a corrections officer. That explains a lot of why he looks different than a lot of the iterations of Casey Jones that we’ve seen before. It wasn’t just, “We want him to look this way.” It was an actual decision based on the fact that he’s a corrections officer who wants to be a detective in The New York City Police Department, and so he can’t have long, scraggly hair and cutoff sleeves…yet.
Basically, you are addressing the fact that there’s been a bit of criticism about the look of the clean-cut Casey. Not even criticism, but the initial surprise.
Stephen Amell: Yeah, a little bit of surprise. And that was totally fine and to be expected within the scheme of taking over a role that people have an expectation about. It was not bad at all. People hated when I was cast as Arrow. A lot. This was actually must more positive. But there is a reason why Casey looks the way that he looks. This movie for him is about his journey from, “That’s the way that I’m going to do things,” to, “Maybe I’m going to try things a different way.”
So is that at all intimidating to you to come into franchises that have this kind of very fervent, sometimes volatile fandom?
Stephen Amell: Nope. Not at all. If I were to choose between a project that has an incredibly passionate fan base and a project where they are discovering something for the first time, I’d pick the project with the incredibly passionate fan base.
You like the challenge of that?
Stephen Amell: I do.
In the movie, Casey speaks about being a proud New Yorker. What do you think defines his brand of being a proud New Yorker?
Stephen Amell: Just the fact that he feels like he knows the city and he feels like the city is this living, breathing thing that needs protecting. For all of his angst and not totally knowing if he should team up with The Turtles, they do share that idealism. That is a real binding spot for them. We don’t get to explore much of Casey’s life, but it would be neat to see things that he’s had to deal with in Alphabet City.
Kristy Puchko: Speaking of that, what would you like to see Casey do in potential future Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle movies?
Stephen Amell: I’d like to see him become the full-fledged Casey Jones that everyone knows. Would that require a different hairstyle? Maybe.
[Laughs] You are so hung up on the hair!
Stephen Amell: NO, I’m not. I’m not. I’d just like to see him…Clearly the police department is not where he’s cut out to be. He can be an ally to the Turtles, because despite the fact that this movie is a lot about whether or not they are going to be accepted within New York, there are still things that he can do for them as a non-Turtle that can be useful. So I hope to see him get more comfortable in his own skin and maybe work with The Turtles in the future.
There’s a big climactic action moment for Casey toward the end. I would like to know what shooting that was like for you.
Stephen Amell: That was amazing. We shot that out at Pier 92 in Manhattan. It was five days and 12 pounds of water weight that I lost because I was just sweating through t-shirts, and leather jackets, and jeans, and work boots. It was really, really something. I think that in the course of my career, that is the five days of work that I am most proud of.
What was it like seeing it all totally come together on screen?
Stephen Amell: Again, the whole thing was a blur. I need to watch it again. But I think it came together very nicely.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows hits theaters June 3, 2016.