Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows has so far been greeted by a fairly warm reception, with critics deeming the sequel, directed by Dave Green (Earth to Echo), an entertaining improvement, though it isn’t without its flaws. Admittedly, the follow-up has a tough challenge in terms of box office if it wants to eclipse Jonathan Liebseman’s 2014 reboot, which amassed an impressive $493 million during its cinematic run.
Since then, Paramount has, rather impressively so, greenlit, produced, and crafted a sequel that’s made its way to cinemas within the space of 24 months. And with the next installment for our heroes in a half shell comes a collection of new faces – Casey Jones (Stephen Amell) alongside our green teens; with fellow mutants Bebop (Gary Anthony Williams) and Rocksteady (Stephen “Sheamus” Farrelly), alien warlord Krang (Brad Garrett), and scientist Baxter Stockman (Tyler Perry), all entering the fray.
During our interview with producer Brad Fuller, he was eager to share how well he believes new goons Bebop and Rocksteady work together, both on screen and off:
“[Compared to Stephen Amell’s rapid casting process] Bebop and Rocksteady, that was a much longer process of seeing a lot of different people and then coming to a conclusion. But I will say this: Sheamus, when he came in, we were looking at a lot of big guys. But he came into the meeting when we sat down with him with the intent to be Rocksteady. And he wasn’t leaving the room until he got the role. He was that intent on it. And he did. He came in the room and there was his passion for what the role was. He was great. And obviously he had the size to do it. Gary also, who plays Bebop, is so funny. Then the chemistry between the two of them was just kind of this natural thing that grew organically. Sheamus is always traveling around because he’s wrestling. I think when he comes to town he can stay in a hotel, but he chooses to stay at Gary’s house because they are so close.”
So not only were the filmmakers content with what they saw in terms of both Williams and Farrelly’s auditions, it’s nice to see two actors that actually enjoy one another’s company off the film’s set – there are plenty who, quite publicly, cannot stand one another, so it likely helped their on-screen chemistry when making the movie.
In fact, Fuller goes so far as to compare the two to another famous duo, which is massive praise indeed: “You can’t think of one without the other. It’s like Laurel and Hardy. There’s not one without the other. They are perfect together.”
The producer also notes how Bebop and Rocksteady are, as per the television cartoon especially, the complete opposite to their serious, scary boss, Shredder (Brian Tee), which will no doubt make for a more entertaining dynamic, with Krang and Baxter Stockman involved as well:
“We know that people want to see them. We love seeing them. But also, it adds a dimension to the story that the first one didn’t have, because in the first one you had Eric Sacks. Eric Sacks had this power and that was it. Now, in this one you have Shredder, who is, as I said, straight and intense, but he’s surrounded by these two guys who just are not very good at getting anything done. That adds a dimension … It doesn’t take away from Shredder, but it’s really fun to watch that. It’s like a straight man against two cutups.”
Prior to the film’s release, there was concern over the amount of new characters being introduced into the sequel. Joining the turtles, Leonardo (Pete Ploszek), Donatello (Jeremy Howard), Raphael (Alan Ritchson), and Michelangelo (Noel Fisher), are returning real-life actors Megan Fox as April O’Neil and Will Arnett as cameraman Vernon, along with Amell’s Casey Jones. But, the baddie roster has increased significantly, with a total of five – Shredder, Krang, Bebop, Rocksteady, Baxter Stockman – all competing for screen time, causing fans to worry about an over-complicated film.
Thankfully, the new faces don’t appear to have stagnated the action and free-flowing fun in Out of the Shadows. All that remains to be seen is how well it does at the box office and who will – if greenlit by Paramount, of course – be featured in the third film.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows hits U.S. theaters on June 3rd, 2016.