Acclaimed character actor William Fichtner was reported to have joined the cast for the live-action Teenage Mutants Ninja Turtle movie reboot two months ago. However, that news was accompanied by conflicting rumors about which character he will portray: The Shredder – who is far and away the most iconic adversary that has fought the Heroes-in-a-Half-Shell – or the mad scientist Dr. Baxter Stockman in the film.
It was Fichtner who ended up shining a light on the situation, by confirming that he will play Shredder in the TMNT movie reboot. The actor being hired is the latest piece of evidence that this film’s version of the character will be a rather significant departure from tradition (i.e. Shredder’s real identity is Oroku Saki, a Japanese martial artist who dresses in samurai-like armor covered with metallic blades and a mask/helmet).
Screen Rant‘s Amy Nicholson was interviewing Fichtner about Disney’s The Lone Ranger – where he plays a (literally) blood-thirsty version of the Ranger’s foe Butch Cavendish – when she asked him about whether he had started to get down his look as The Shredder in the TMNT reboot.
Fichtner replied as follows:
“I actually play a guy named Eric Sachs [Sounds like Sachs? Hard to understand] in the movie. And then he goes through a few stages in his existence.”
He became more vague, after that initial outburst of information:
“But Turtles is coming together very, very cool. There is a whole interesting dynamic that happens in the world of Turtles and all I can really say about it at this point while working on it is that the Turtle film, it’s not like anything that I remember about the Turtles before. I feel like this Michael Bay-produced movie is just gonna really be something else. I’m pretty excited.”
There was an early TMNT script draft that leaked online last year and it has re-envisioned the Shredder character as ‘Colonel Schrader’, the military leader of an army that is nicknamed “The Foot” (as a reference to the Oroku Saki Shredder’s ninja minions). Unofficial set photos released online have since confirmed that the members of The Foot will at least look like armored soldiers more than martial artists (in the TMNT reboot).
That does invite speculation, with regard to the possibility that certain elements from the leaked script could make the final cut. However, producer Michael Bay has already said that the Turtles’ alien origin story from that script will not be included, and it sounds as though the Schrader character has either been changed or dropped altogether (judging by Fichtner’s comments).
Regardless, these new quotes from Fichtner line up with recent comments made by composer Brian Tyler, alluding to the TMNT reboot being quite different that previous films and/or TV shows alike. Then again, that should come as no surprise to those who’ve been following progress on this project for some time now (see: Megan Fox cast as reporter April O’Neil).
Lastly, as for whether or not Eric will be Japanese, Fichtner said:
“You know, uh, you know I think it would be much more exciting to find out these things as it unfolds.”
At that point, the interview was cut off, so it’s probably best to not read too much into Fitchner’s non-commital answer (lest we start the rumor that Fichtner’s playing someone who’s part-Japanese, a la Keanu Reeves in this December’s 47 Ronin).
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles opens in U.S. theaters on June 6th, 2014.