‘Battle LA’ Director in Talks for ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ Reboot

Published 3 years ago by , Updated March 9th, 2013 at 1:56 pm,

teenage mutant ninja turtles reboot jonathan liebesman Battle LA Director in Talks for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Reboot

Progress has been relatively slow on Paramount Pictures and Platinum Dunes’ live-action reboot of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles franchise, since the project was announced nearly three years ago. A handful of noteworthy writers have contributed to the process of bringing the reptilian martial artists back to non-animated (or hand-drawn) life, but the film has previously had little to no success in attracting a potential director.

That’s changed at last, with new reports revealing that Jonathan Liebesman has officially begun talks to come aboard the revitalized TMNT ship. Assuming negotiations don’t break down, the South African-born director will be working from a script draft penned most recently by Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol duo Josh Appelbaum and André Nemec.

Variety says that plot details for the TMNT reboot are being kept secret for now, but that the film will be “a new reimagining” of the characters originally conceived by comic book artists Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird, back in 1984. The plan was originally for the movie to be an origin story – unlike the 2007 CGI TMNT feature – but that could have changed sometime over the past few years of development.

The new TMNT flick could feasibly pick up with more experienced versions of the superhero characters than those featured in the original 1990 live-action movie – i.e., more of a “rebooting sequel” along the lines of this week’s Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance or the upcoming Liebesman-directed Wrath of the Titans. Liebesman’s being hired on would make all the more sense, if that’s the case.

Bear in mind, even if the TMNT live-action reboot does not revolve around Leonardo, Michelangelo, Donatello, and Raphael during their early days as crime-fighting, pizza-eating “masked” vigilantes, it also definitely will not continue the storyline from the last live-action installment, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III (ie. the one where the Turtles time-traveled back to ancient Japan).

We can all agree: either a fresh start or revamping is very much needed, after that cinematic kerfuffle. No one expects high-art from a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie, but even the most die-hard of Turtle fans tend to disown the third chapter of the franchise.

tmnt original movie Battle LA Director in Talks for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Reboot

The Turtles will be back on the big screen

Appelbaum and Nemec played an important role in revitalizing the Mission: Impossible property with last year’s Ghost Protocol, with a script that featured an engaging ensemble/team dynamic that was (sorely?) missing from the previous two installments. If they bring something similar to the table for the TMNT reboot, that would add a nice layer of substance to the titular warrior squad’s latest onscreen adventures.

Liebesman could use a good screenplay to work from, given that many of his previous films (Darkness Falls, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning, Battle Los Angeles) have turned either just so-so or bad, thanks more to poor screenwriting – rather than incompetent direction, on Liebesman’s part. His Clash of the Titans followup could buck that trend, though, going by the promising early footage.

That’s all to say: the talent working behind the scenes on the TMNT reboot is decent enough to suggest that this could be one of the better reboots/remakes on the horizon, all things considered.


We will continue to keep you posted on the status of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles reboot as more information is released.

Source: Variety

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  1. I’m iffy on this. I hated Battle: Los Angeles, but Wrath of the Titans looks to be a fun film.

  2. Why not continue with the CGI story? Live action Turtles just feels so 20 years ago

    • Since he´s dead, I doubt that Feldman will be voicing Donatello again.

      • Corey Feldman can’t die.

      • Oh wait. I mixed things up a bit. That was Corey Haim who´s dead… My bad.

  3. If you’re going to reboot this then I say go Eastman & Laird Turtles – everyone wears a red bandana, no cowabunga, no Archie-eyes…

    Hollywood is so intent on “real, dark, & gritty” this is one where they SHOULD do exactly that.

    Down with the Archie Turtles!

    • totally

      • They could strike a balance but hopefully lean more toward the original Archie Turtles.

        • Umm, Archie Turtles are not the Originals, they are bland Archie takes on original coolness by Eastman & Laird.

    • the problem with that is the franchise has always been viewed as kid friendly with cartoons, tv shows, and movies. that’s probably the crowd the studio is going to aim for. they should do it in the spirit of the first movie. it had dark elements to it, but was still family friendly.

    • Too right! I used to have the graphic novel of that when I was at school. I lent it to a kid and never got it back. I haven’t been able to find it since. :(

  4. i would love to see r rated ninja turtles movie, but that will never happen.

  5. Why so much hate on the 3rd chapter? The character Yoshi wasn’t so bad, it had the villain from lethal weapon 3 and the time traveling ninjas dancing to “Tarzan Boy” is hilarious.

    But seriously the new rebootquel should not be an origin story. It should be them older and wiser. That would be cool

    • The 3rd one just didn’t make sense as a TMNT movie. There was so much in the TMNT universe they could explore (cough, Krang, cough) but they went with some random time travel plot line that could have just been done with other characters that weren’t oversized turtles with bandanas.
      As a kid, you want to see in movies what you see in the cartoon version, or at least a continuation of it. It’s bad enough that they changed Splinter’s whole back story or made Shredder a short non-threatening guy with a helmet that was too big for him, or even have two big evil mutants and not use Bebop and Rocksteady, but to do a cash-in by taking some random script and throwing the turtles in was just too disappointing.

      • They didn´t change Splinter´s back story for the movie, they changed it for the animated show.

        • Ah, my mistake. But I still stand by the rest of it :)

  6. They could do the same as Where the Wild Things Are and have prosthetic suits with CGI faces; i thought it was done well.
    As amazing as Rise of TPOTA was, i don’t want to see mocap karate…i got the matrix sequels for that.
    Would like it to be as dark & cool as the comics were, with some homage to the cartoon series thrown in for fun.

  7. TMNT, who framed roger rabbit, and gremlins 1 & 2 were the biggest movies of my childhood…i reallllly hope they dont mess this up

  8. A Teenage Mutant Ninjia Turles remake is being made?

    Come on when is the studio going to stop making remakes of this movie.

    I watched the first live action movie when I was a kid and I can’t remeber much.

    The sequels were also live action before TMNT was turned into a CGI movie.

    I thought that was a great movie.

    I always wanted a Super Mario CGI movie.

    • Reboot, not a remake. Sorry, it’s a pet peeve of mine.

    • Not Mario

  9. My fav part about TMNT 3 was the return of Corey Feldman. Let us hope for the return of Corey Feldman in the reboot.

  10. I loved the live action TMNT movies when I was a kid. I’d really like to see this turned into a more mature film. (not filled with nudity, sex and foul language of course. Just “dark” to up the ante) I mean they are ninja after all so I don’t think they would be clowning as much. They could be the Batman of mutant turtles lol. And Shredder’s character should be as villainous as his name sounds. That’s just my opinion… not to strike a tone with any other fans here.

  11. I’d actually like to see a serious, violent take on the Turtles like in the original comic, but even more so. Plenty of real Ninja action and realistic motion captured turtles.

    But this won’t happen as they have to sell it to kiddywinks.

  12. let me guess it’ll be a “dark, gritty, batman begins-ish” type deal, right? that seems to be all the rage these days

    • Johnny, you’re so so right but in this case turning it dark & gritty would be returning it to its independent comic book roots.

      Few remember the 4 foul mouthed, ultra-violent red bandana wearing turtles that Eastman & Laird originally created which spawned the 80s catch-phrase spewing, multi-color bandana wearing Archie comic Turtles.

      The former are far superior to the latter but the Archie Turtles play like gangbusters to kids…and we all know who wins when it’s adults vs. kids at the box office…dang kids.

  13. My vote for The Shreddar is Ray Park. Wish Darth Maul would have been around for more of the Star Wars second trilogy.

  14. I am totally down for aTMNT reboot, some mocap turtles would look sweet

  15. Um the first live action turtle movie was awesome then parents whined about the violence so they couldnt even use there weapons in the second one.

    • In Germany, they even had “Boing” and “Dong” sounds when the Turtles hit someone.

      • It was as bad as the Batman and Robin movie

  16. Huge TMNT Turtle fan…as long as they keep it in the vein of the first two movies Ill enjoy this. I agree though keep it realistic but make it somewhat dark after all they are Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Not Tween Mutant Ninja Turtles…from what Ive heard One of the creators has creative control and thats what hes promised…a return to the 80s version of TMNT. I also hope it is an original story…this one doesnt need to be rebooted.

  17. I am so down for this Raphael was my favorite and we better see some Casey Jones. There were so many other stories they could’ve gone with instead of that idiotic 3rd one. Hell we never got to see Bebop & Rocksteady, Baxter stockman, Leatherhead, or rat king. And let’s not forget the technodrome There are so many possibilities

  18. The words “reimagining” and “platinum dunes” scares the heck out of me.