To say it’s been a bumpy road for longtime fans of the heroes on a half shell would be something of an understatement. Right from the outset, the big-screen Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles reboot was mired in controversy. Between the announcement that Michael Bay would produce to the the much-discussed possibility that these turtles would be aliens, the production has been the subject of much debate for months.

That conversation continues today with today’s release of the initial teaser trailer for the film, directed by Jontahan Liebesman (Wrath of the Titans). The footage features our first look at the turtles’ new design as well as implications that the Shredder (William Fichtner) himself was instrumental in their creation.

Now, in an interview with Coming Soon, Andre Nemec – one of the screenwriters of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles – has spoken out about what fans can expect regarding the tone and direction of this new take on their favorite mutant heroes. Here’s what he had to say about the film’s darker tone:

“Tone was a very interesting question on this movie as far as how dark we really wanted to go. It’s really all in the conflict between the characters. That was the driving principle. The color palettes that were chosen were not designed to be ‘Dark Knight’-ish in that regard. We weren’t looking to make that movie. I’m a huge fan of that movie, but I didn’t eat gobs of popcorn while I was watching that movie. We certainly didn’t want kids to be running for the exits. ‘Mommy! Why did he do that?!’ We weren’t looking for that. We really wanted to entertain and have fun with it. I think we skate — we live — on a very fun line in this movie, whether it’s the action feeling real and exciting, but also fun and adventurous. It really never feels dark in a way that would startle you out of your chair or make you fearful.”

Nemec’s comparison to The Dark Knight makes sense with regard to the teaser’s footage, as the turtles’ signature humor (an element largely absent from Nolan’s film) appears to be intact, contrasting nicely with the more intense and realistic world around them. In essence, TMNT sounds as if it aims to ground the fantastical elements of the story while keeping it grounded, similarly to the approach director Marc Webb looks to be taking for The Amazing Spider-Man 2.

Nemec also addressed some of fans’ biggest concerns, namely the role that Bay played in production.

“Michael has been an influence on the movie and he’s certainly been giving his notes and paying attention to the movie as we go through. There are Michael Bay aesthetics. He has a very good sense of action. He has a very good sense of entertainment. I think that, on those influences, you’ll feel Michael Bay’s hand.”

While Bay’s films are often criticized for their story elements and over-the-top humor, the truth is that the director’s prowess at staging memorable action sequences is his best attribute as a filmmaker. Perhaps his influence on this particular aspect of the film could ultimately make TMNT a more exciting theatrical experience, if nothing else.

Furthermore, Nemec defended the film’s casting of Transformers star Megan Fox as April O’Neil.

“[Megan] just brought a great energy to playing that character. The traditional April that we all know is a girl who is out to prove something. She’s out to make her bones. She’s living in the real world and fighting to get on top. Megan really brought that to playing the character. She does a really terrific job in the movie. She’s a terrific April O’Neil.”

Lastly, Nemec addressed the early rumor that the turtles would have extraterrestrial origins and the importance the cast and crew faced in putting their own stamp on the material.

“You’ve got to own your own version of what these stories are. Looking through the different iterations of Turtles to date, many of them have different origin stories. T.C.R.I. was a collection container that was used for a company that came from alien ooze at one point. There was another version of the ooze where it was created in a laboratory. There’s the “Daredevil” component that mixes in with the Turtle canon. There’s the sewers. There’s the laboratories. For us, it was important to find our own version of how these particular Turtles came to be so that they can stand alone as their own characters. There’s also the version where, if you touch something after you touch the ooze, that’s what you become. There have been a million versions. In this version we just thought it was important to create our own origin that lives within the balance of it. We didn’t do anything overtly kooky.”

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles may be divisive for the longtime fanbase, but the fact is that the film could very well mark the renewal of the franchise, following the tepid response to the computer-animated 2007 release. Nemec teased the possibility that other non-turtle characters could appear in this first film and that – again, like The Amazing Spider-Man – it could plant the seeds for sequels and the introduction of new villains, like fan favorite Baxter Stockman. We’ll find out soon enough.

Are you more or less excited to see the new TMNT film? Let us know in the comments section below.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles hits theaters on August 8, 2014.

Source: Coming Soon