‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ Screenwriter Addresses Fan Concerns

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Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2014 Michelangelo Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Screenwriter Addresses Fan Concerns

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.

teenage mutant ninja turtles by nebezial 2 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Screenwriter Addresses Fan Concerns

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.”

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2014 Leonardo Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Screenwriter Addresses Fan Concerns

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.

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

Source: Coming Soon

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TAGS: teenage mutant ninja turtles

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  1. After seeing the trailer I’m hoping for the best. It didnt look to bad. *fingers crossed….

  2. So he is saying that it has a “dark” tone but not “dark” content?

    • sounds like an oxymoron

  3. After reading the interview on Coming Soon, I’m still not impressed. This is a screenwriter, who WROTE the movie. And yet he still mixes up the identities and characters of two of the main turtles? This does not inspire confidence in me.

    I am not by any stretch a big turtles fan, but even I know that Leonardo is the stern leader with katanas and Raphael is the often angry, tough-talker with sai. Not the other way around….

  4. i think this will be at least entertaining after seeing the teaser. I don’t have a problem with it be dark. the original black and white comics were pretty dark. I’m cautiously optimistic it will be watchable.

    • *being

    • I actually don’t mind it dark. I was born too late to get into the 80/90s turtles and when I finally did get around to giving it a watch, I found I was now way out of the demographic and found it dated, annoying, and grating with the fact that the action was, for the lack of a better word “cartoonish”, hated the pizza, shouts of cowabunga, the fact that April continuously got captured, I just couldn’t get into it.

      It wasn’t really until I watched the 2000s series that while still for children, had a darker theme, with better action and story (as well as thankfully little to no pizza and cowabunga to be seen) that I actually began to see the attraction people had to the franchise.

      So, in the case of this movie, I wouldn’t mind if they made it darker, or even attempted to go back to its grittier comic roots, rather than just trying to copy the 90s style that kind of kiddy-fied the turtles.

  5. Am I the only one that is even more concerned at the mere fact that the movie has to have the screenwriter defend it?

    The teaser looked like unused Transformer footage, with turtles subbed in for robots.
    It looked like everything we hate about Michael Bay, so yeah, I’d say he had a pretty strong hand in it.

    Nothing’s going to stop me from seeing a TMNT movie in the theater (haven’t missed one yet), but my hopes aren’t too high.

    It’s not the movie we deserve, but the only one we’re gonna get

    • 100% agree, +1

    • Michael Bay is cool.

    • agreeeeeed

    • Nope sorry, but if we keep going to all the movie they will keep ruining our childhood heroes like that. Won’t be going. Gotta stand up to that sorta crap at some point and a draw a line.

  6. Yes!! This looks awesome! Can’t wait to bring my nephews. Bring on the PIZZA and AWESOME one liners!

    Leonardo: We were awesome! Michaelangelo: Bodacious!
    Donatello: Uh…
    Michaelangelo: Gnarly! Leonardo: Radical!
    Raphael: Totally tubular, dude! Michaelangelo: Wicked!
    Leonardo: Hellacious! Donatello: Uh, mega…
    [Splinter clears his throat, the Turtles clam up]
    Splinter: I have always liked… Cowabunga.
    Leonardo, Michaelangelo, Raphael, Donatello: COWABUNGA!
    Splinter: [laughs] I made a funny!

  7. “I think that, on those influences, you’ll feel Michael Bay’s hand.”

    More like his fist planted somewhere it doesn’t belong.

    • You know where that’s going..

  8. The trailer was just meh. It didn’t really do anything to keep me from not seeing it but it also didn’t do anything for me to say that it’s going to be a great movie. Either way I have a feeling this is going to pull some Transformers type of numbers. Bay for whatever reason tends to pull some pretty decent numbers when he’s directing a movie, good or bad.

    • Pretty much. I actually watched TMNT Forever last night (Already seen it) Kinda forgot how entertaining it was. Pity they didn’t get James Avery for Shredder…

    • Bay pulls decent numbers for “whatever reason.”

      That “whatever reason” is because he makes movies that most people like and are entertained by. He makes good action films. Why can’t some people realize that he isn’t the type of director trying to win a stupid Oscar. If you want drama films, then just about every movie nominated for best picture is for you.

      • +1

  9. Megan Fox..terrific? Am I missing something.

    • Yeah.. he’s the screenwriter…

    • No, they’re just trying hard when they should have tried harder when casting.

  10. So, seeing a masked mutant turtle is scary. Seeing a masked mutant turtle without his maks, as just a normal, average, everyday mutant turtle is fine. And April doesn’t see it that way. This is the humor folks.

    Giant turtles, brunette April. Definitely an on cable watching movie.

  11. “the film could very well mark the renewal of the franchise, following the tepid response to the computer-animated 2007 release”

    Mybe from a feature standpoint, but in terms of the franchise itself, the new animated series has already accomplished that very well…so well, in fact, that being a fan of that show has helped me to understand just how ridiculous this movie’s “hot original take” looks to be…what’s worse, nickelodeon owns both properties!

    • I’ll admit the TMNT 2007 movie was just okay. I was a big fan of the 2000s series, but the movie itself was very lackluster. It went along with the series okay, but I’m betting many watchers if they hadn’t seen the most recent show at the time, would have been lost. I remember several people asking me where Shredder was and who Karai was. And if you saw the show you would have known the answer to both of those questions.

      I’ve heard the new all CGI show is pretty good, but as I’m no longer the demographic anymore, I just couldn’t get into it.

      This movie looks okay. The action and scenes look good, but I’m cautious. The really realistic turtles creep me out. Leo looks okay, but Mikey just rubbed me the wrong way.

  12. I believe the teaser trailer was made that way to just get people interested, and it somewhat worked. It got my interest. I might see this movie after with the other movies I want to see this year like Captain America The winter solider, Amazing Spiderman 2, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes,Guardians of the Galaxy and Godzilla.

  13. I truly wish Guillermo Del Toro would have been chosen to make this movie. I love what he did with Hellboy, and I think he could have made TMNT really work on the big screen. Anyone else agree?

    • del torro would’ve picked out some pretty insane talent to do the make up for the turtles or gone with a very otaku inspired cgi turtles, storywise it would’ve been pretty darn close to the tone of cartoons.

  14. There is nothing wrong with the trailer to me. I remember watching the TMNT from like the 1990s and me and my older brother would watch it over and over. I have no qualms about the remake, the origins, or the tone. As long as it’s entertaining then I’m good.

  15. The tone of the movie wont scare the ever loveing crap out of little kids. But the Turtles design will.

  16. 6 years later and still comparing every “dark” movie to The Dark Knight. Stop it. Stop mentioning Nolan in every franchise movie. Damn.

    • I really loved Nolan’s batman but the only reason why that film is mentioned in everything is because of the money it made at the box offfice. Doesn’t matter how many good dark and gritty films came out before Dark knight, execs just look at the box office numbers of particular film and decide that everything needs to be dark. So it’s not the dark knight film itself that studios want to repeat but the amount of money.

  17. I’m not a big fan of the human eyes they gave the turtles. I would have preferred them to have natural reptilian eyes. Apart from that, I’ll probably still end up seeing this film expecting very little from it.

  18. Eastman and Laird’s TMNT origin with the Daredevil tie in was great. It really worked as a subtle reference in the old B&W version of TMNT. The movie looks interesting.

  19. The trailer is narrated by the very caucasian Shredder or “Erik Sachs”…and he mentions that he was working with April O’neill’s father. If this is implying that Splinter is April’s father then that is inexcusable.

    • What’s so bad about this theory compared to Karai being Shredder’s adopted daughter but actually being Splinter’s daughter (which is the story so far in the new cartoon and it’s epic).

      Everyone here who has an opinion seems to not know or care much about what they’re talking about. There are versions of EVERY super hero just like this. Watch the movie, judge it then.

      Michael Bay made a Transformers movie. A TRANSFORMERS LIVE ACTION MOVIE. Last time I checked none of you people have done much to contribute to the movie industry aside from trolling a few blogs ;)

      • Sooo…I have to make a multi-million dollar action blockbuster in order to pass judgement on an overrated, generic director…? “Nah, you gotta take what I make and like it, boy!” Besides, I wasn’t even criticizing him, or the movie for that matter. I said I was “weary” of that approach to the characters. So take a chill pill, alrigh? Michael Bay is a golden God. I think you have something on your chin, by the way…

  20. When a new TMNT movie was announced, I was incredibly excited.

    Then there was aliens and a whole bunch of rumors that made me sad.

    Then the Turtle designs came out and I was excited again.

    Now we have this and I’m EXTREMELY excited.

    I’ve been a TMNT fan my entire life and this looks like an incredible movie. I don’t care whether or not people like it, it’s a new take on the Turtles and this teaser was awesome. Can’t wait for summer!

    • You do realize that the aliens have been in TMNT since the 80s, right?

  21. I know people complain about movies being too gritty these days but I still would like to see a faithful adaptation of the original TMNT graphic novel from the 80′s. I’ve read the first issue. There’s a part where the turtles fatally hurt someone but in the end they hand him a sword for him to commit Seppuku (disemboweling yourself). They swore, they killed people and they definitely weren’t as goofy as they are now. A TMNT movie that is faithful to the original graphic novel will probably never happen but I can always imagine.

    • Kevin Eastman has said he likes the new movie and the cgi. I am going to side with Eastman on this movie and watch it and just enjoy it.

      • Laird isn’t as thrilled. I’m inclined to side with him.

  22. I couldn’t wait for this trailer just because I loved the turtles as much as anyone growing up in the 80s and I was waiting for something to realize them like they were in the original live action movie, but still seated in TMNT lore, a Raphael that swears, a Michelangelo that wise cracks. I’m not crazy about their tall, buff transformer like figures. Too Bay! Their size doesn’t speak Teenager. I get the sense that they’re not so much rooted in ancient ninjistu either. They definitely look like mutants though. I hope the film can immerse us in a world we can believe and show us how we imagine these Ninja Turtles could exist.

  23. they really dont look like turtles!

  24. TMNT is supposed to be stupid silly fun entertainment. this looks like it’s exactly that. why is everyone complaining? i think it looks pretty good. not great, but entertaining.

    • Exactly! Kids are gonna love this! Just like we loved the movies when we were kids!

  25. You think the film might be PG-13 like the TRANSFORMERS films? Would be cool to see them kind of push the envelope on the action. Cus it sucked when parents whined about the violence in the original film and the sequels were dumbed down.

  26. I just do not understand why the Foot Clan uses guns and that Shredder is a white dude! Was it really that hard to find a bad ass asian actor who could play Oroku Saki? THE ORIGINAL SHREDDER?

  27. Im 32 years old now…I was 8 years old when the original TMNT movie came out in 1990. Ive always been a faithful fan even if I havent watched the current cartoons.
    Would love to see some of the turtles other foes and allies in this ie Bebop & rocksteady & yusaki jimbo etc…I know that baxter the fly will be in this one so Im excited for the surprises & easter eggs we will get in this movie.

    Still in my eyes nothing beats the original…of which I own and watch once every few months lol.

  28. Honestly, Michelangelo’s GIANT exaggerated lips look like they are meant to evoke the Blackface actors from minstrel shows. And considering the atrocious characters Skips and Mudflap from Transformers 2, I was fearful we would get a repeat here. Thankfully, in movement, they don’t look so bad. >_>

  29. I think it says a lot in a teaser for a movie that’s rebooting a TV show from the 80′s that looks overall geared towards the adult 21-35 demographic that they go out of their way only to give mikey the only turtle lines and do NOT have him in any way seem like the mikey of old. At least have him doing something familiar…you know…like stuff his face with pizza while trying to talk….or something?

    This looks like someone with a lot of money made the movie they wanted with little to no regard for public opinion. Its a poorly cut teaser, giving donatello the most screen time while hitting a humvee….whats the point.

    P.S. I agreew tih earlier comment in reference to Aprils father working with Sacks to become splinter…I mean really?

    The sad part is that no matter what they do or what product they produce I will still go see it, because I want it to be good despite my preconceived opinion.

    How disappointing