William Fichtner Talks Shredder in the ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ Reboot

Published 2 years ago by , Updated July 9th, 2013 at 8:37 am,

William Fichtner Shredder William Fichtner Talks Shredder in the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Reboot

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.”

ninja turtles script William Fichtner Talks Shredder in the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Reboot

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).

william fichtner teenage mutant ninja turtles William Fichtner Talks Shredder in the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Reboot

William Fichtner in ‘Drive Angry’

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).

Read our full interview with Fichtner about The Lone Ranger.


Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles opens in U.S. theaters on June 6th, 2014.

Follow Sandy Schaefer on Twitter @feynmanguy
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  1. This is the mother of all bull-s***. The Shredder is Japanese, not some dude named Eric Sachs. It’s Oroku Saki!

    • There they go again changing the things the fans want to see whats next there really aliens from another planet not mutant turtles

      • That rumor was debunked a while ago

        • It wasn’t a rumor it was in an early version of the script that they were going to use.

          • Well either way, I’m pretty sure Bay and others have confirmed that they’re not going to be aliens in the movie.

    • All you turtle fans out there, remember how awesome this Shredder was??? (23 years ago now) Shredder RIP

    • or an alien pretending to be oroku saki

    • I said the same thing they should have Just had Dude who played Storm Shadow in GI JOe to PLay SHredder.

    • Actually, Shredder is not a Japanese man, but an alien posing as a Japanese man.
      Maybe not in the 80″s cartoon, but he is in the source material.

      • The source material is The Marage Studios comic book where he absolutely is a Japanese man and nothing more (although he had been killed and brought back to life with these weird worms once). The only incarnation where Shredder is an alien is the 2003 cartoon where he is a Utrom. And that was way after the 80′s cartoon.

    • Not really…

      Remember the movie “Turtles Forever”?

      There isn’t a single TMNT universe, there is a TMNT multiverse, made of several parallel TMNT universes.

      The Michael Bay movie is yet another parallel universe in the TMNT multiverse.

      And here’s the thing: there is no “Oroku Saki” in the 2003 universe, either. One Shredder is the Utrom Ch’rell, and the other is the demon Tengu.

      If you can accepot the fact that there’s no “Oroku Saki” in the 2003 universe, why can’t you accept the fact that there’s no Oroku Saki in the Michael Bay universe?

      • who said anyone accepted the stupidity of the 2003 cartoon? Actually I loved that show for the first season or two. THEN they made Shredder a Utrom. And I stopped watching at that point. I watched Turtles Forever. It was an interesting concept. In fact, I’d love to see an animated feature based on the original comic. But even Turtles Forever kind of sucked. The original cartoon voices were absent, instead trying to substitute some bad imitations. The original movie from 1990 is, and always will be THE Ninja Turtles movie. No one will ever top it. Especially not in this decade. This new movie is just trying to recreate the cartoon. Which was great if you’re an eight year old in 1987.

  2. Sounds like he transforms into a humanoid monster – becomes a creature with sharp claws which is why the Turtles will call him Shredder. I hope it’s not that simple though :)

    • Oh my god, I’m afraid you might actually be right.

  3. Movie has put me off knowing Megan Fox being castes as April. Shame as I’m a huge tmnt fan, and her acting sucks!

    • Casted*

      • *cast

        I agree. Shocked me to know she’d been in drama school since she was 5 years old. If I was her mother, I’d get my money back.

      • Wrong on both counts. Cast*

        • That’s what I said. Cast. How was I wrong too?

          • I apologize Dazz, that was in response to Fredfie. You got in there first and I posted before my page updated with your response.

  4. For the people on here complaining: Why the f*** are you here then? I’m so confused.

    • 1) Because they are TMNT fans who care about the property and are curious how this is developing, then disappointed by the news.

      2) Because they are fans of cinema who recognize a train wreck when they see one.

      3) Because they can be.

      4) Bacon.

      • Bacon? Was that suppose to be funny or something?

        • Immature humor isn’t really my thing.

          • the word Bacon is immature humor? I think anything facetious is a bit grown up personally.

            • I knew I should have gone with;

              4) Poopie Pants.

              Next time I’ll know better and go full immature.

          • Well I’m glad you’ve got complaining about other people complaining and replying to yourself. Everyone needs a hobby.

          • Ah yes. Lecture us on maturity “War Clown”.

            • @mike +1

        • actually, it WAS funny. Personally, I came on here JUST to complain. I have nothing good to say about this movie with everything we know about it up to this point. I have been a turtles fanatic since the first episode of the cartoon aired and then when I was introduced to the comics. As a fan of comics and movies I deserve quality for my hard-earned money. And as a citizen of a free country, I have every right to go onto websites and jump to any conclusions I want about bad movies.

    • We are here in hopes of exciting news that our childhoods will be honored respectfully! … we are wrong!!! SO…UTTERLY….WRONG!!!

    • It’s called “ScreenRant” for a reason.

    • It’s Freddie…. Spell it right! Who’s the c*nt now douchbag?! Lol
      Anyways get past the minor grammars… As this site isn’t called grammar rant!

      • Haha, I know, sorry for the nitpicking. I couldn’t help it just because your correction was wrong as well. Many pardons. And also, apologies for misspelling your name.

  5. This news is horrible… it gives me a feeling of dread about this reboot movie. There is a reason the original cartoon series was the most successful incarnation of the turtles EVER, and that path should be followed respectfully, not trampled on and bastardized!!!

    • As much as I disagree with the whole, “most successful incarnation” thing, on my own tastes and opinions… you shouldn’t let a movie (and possible franchise) “ruin” your childhood, dude. There’s plenty of nostalgia to go around. Your childhood’s something that you should always honor if you deem it fit, not something that can be trampled on so easily. Now, myself, I’m a “wait and see” person; I’ll still go to see it in theaters, regardless of whatever else happens (because it’s a TMNT movie and I’m looking forward to seeing it). If it’s God-awful, it’s God-awful; if it’s really good, it’s really good. As a fellow TMNT fan, I just wouldn’t be so quick to judge something. We haven’t even gotten a trailer yet.

      • I do however, very much enjoy the current Nickelodeon version also, I might add.

      • It won’t ruin my childhood, I never said anything about that.

        • Yeah, I never clarified. That “childhood ruining” (for the ones that are taking it seriously) thing was more of a reply for everyone. Cos seeing it on every forum about this movie is kind of hilarious. You said it would trample on the path of the ’80s cartoon, I assumed it was your childhood, but I wasn’t sure. But…source material and storyline in TMNT has been changed immensely over the years. I just don’t see the problem. I’m curious and excited to see how they’ll pull this off.

          Aw, that’s great, man. I, too, enjoy the new show. I actually favor the new one over the old one.

    • That casting is looking more and more to me that Micheal Bay is taking revenge for having to drop the alien origine of the turtles. Needless to say I won’t shell out any money to see this futur crap bucket.

  6. Will Eric be Japanese?? Why even ask this question, look at the actor they’ve cast, does he look like he’s Japanese??

    This has got to be the final nail in the coffin for this movie. Shredder is supposed to be a Japanese martial arts expert called Oroki Saki. I’m not being a whiney fan boy on purpose but I just can’t understand why they would change this.

    All you turtle fans out there, remember how awesome this Shredder was??? (23 years ago now) Shredder RIP

    • not only is he a martial artist named Oroku Saki, he heads a yakuza-style ninja clan FROM JAPAN, whose purpose for rising up the ranks was to avenge the death of his brother at the hands of ANOTHER Japanese man, Hamato Yoshi. You know, vengeance and honor….. pretty common themes in Samurai stories… Ugh… this movie is going to be terrible.

  7. I didn’t like the Transformers cartoon as a child, but I loved the movies… Now I know how the fans of the cartoon Transformers must feel about the movies.

  8. That’s not the end of it either. In addition to “Oroku Saki” being changed to “Eric Sachs”, I hear they’re changing “Homatu Yoshi” to “Hamilton Yoshberg” and instead of ninja enemies, they’re old tennis rivals.

    • Normally I’d say haha, nice joke, but this is a Michael Bay movie, so that could actually happen. We can start to worry once we here John McEnroe has been cast to play splinter

  9. If Mr Bay thinks he’s gonna make a huge dime out of this film he’s gonna be in for a rude shock.
    F**k this movie and it’s cast.

    • 100% agree.

      Out of curiosity and as a Turtles fan since the early 90′s i will eventually watch this movie on my laptop or whatever. Already decided to boycott goin to the cinema to check it out once Fox was cast as April O Neill

      F**k you Michael Bay

  10. Dang smh

  11. I don’t think this is that big of a deal. This is just like how they cast a non-hispanic actor to play a non-hispanic Bane in Dark Knight Rises. As long as they get the essence of the character down, what’s the big deal if the nationality is different?

    • Mmm…the essence of the character is that he’s a Japanese Samurai. There was also a bit of mysteriousness to the Foot Clan because it was this Eastern criminal ninja gang invading our western world.

    • Because his nationality was a huge part of who the character actually was, he was a Japanese Martial Arts expert called Oroku Saku. The Shredder came from Japan, a country famous for its Samurai warriors and history of martial arts and fighting styes. His origin story made him out to be such a badass villain.

      But now that character has been changed to an american guy called eric??? WTF, of course its a big deal. Bane being hispanic or not had nothing to do with his actual character.

      • @Barry & Speshik

        Hmm, I’m not so familiar with the TMNT lore. Is it essential to his character that he is Japanese? Because regarding Bane, it wasn’t so essential to his character that he’s Hispanic.

        • In this particular case, it is very essential. Japanese culture as a whole is very integral to the turtles origins. They’re ninjas, right? Splinter’s master Homatu Yoshi (who Splinter learned ninjutsu from) has a past history with Oroku Saki and changing Saki to a white man is more than likely going to create a domino effect that will force a lot of unnecessary changes to the turtles’ history.
          And in the case of Bane, arguably the most iconic thing about his appearance was his mariachi mask which had ties to his Latin origins and that was changed for the movie. I wasn’t one of the people bothered by it, but many of his fans were. Kind of makes you think if a similar accommodation will have to be made to Shredder’s appearance, considering it is so heavily influenced by Samurai armor. Not sure if that change will go over as well with fans as the change in Bane’s mask did.

          • Yeah, so I suppose they will have to drastically alter Shredder’s origin, just like they did for Bane.

            • I should mention, I am just playing Devil’s Advocate for die hard fans. I will still in all likelihood be going to see the movie in theaters, if for no other reason than just sheer curiosity.

              • Totally understandable. I’ll wait until the trailers before I make a decision on whether I’ll see it or not.

    • +1

      • Plus I’m a huge TMNT fan, though it would’ve been nice to have an asian actor, Fichtner is a great actor so I’m all for. Would’ve loved for them to go with Ken Watanabe though.

  12. This is just so hopelessly pathetic it can’t be true….Can it? This will still probably make a crap-ton of money opening weekend – solely because of the source material. Hopefully word of mouth will squash this turkey before it get wings. I just don’t understand the level of apathy that Micheal Bay has for the source material. First Transformers, now TMNT. Nothing against the actor – he’d make a pretty good Baxter Stockman. But seriously – WHAT THE F!????

    • He’s not black enough to be Stockman, he would have been a good Bishop, who they should have used if they wanted a military threat.

  13. So this is what the new Foot Soldiers look like huh…..


  14. I do have high hopes for the movie. I watched the 1987 cartoon, when I was a kid, and I found it awesome. In the Netherlands this was one of the few cartoons which was not dubbed, but aired with subtitles, so luckily we got the original voices.

    For some reason I recently started watching the 2012 Nickelodeon cartoon. I thought it would be a total disappointment. It wasn’t. I really like the 2012 cartoon. It’s very different from the 1987 cartoon, but it works. The most important part of the 2012 cartoon is there is a lot of humor in it. Sometimes very simple jokes, but still better humor than most sitcoms. It makes it light hearted. Combined with a lot of action, it makes for very good entertainment.

    I hope the movie combines the action with humor, just like the cartoon. Transformers took itself way too seriously. Make it more like Bad-Boys, and it will be awesome.

    (One other thing I realy like about the 2012 cartoon, is that every Turtle has a distinctive look and character. I hope the movie will have this too.)

    • I would like to give you a cookie and an award for being an awesome person.

      (–but Transformers taking itself too seriously, lolwhut? Wheelie humping Mikaela’s leg?…the Twins; Skids and Mudflap? lmao I could go on. Are you talking about the movie franchise or the old show? )

  15. Maybe shredder will be some kind of actor like what they did to the mandarin… im no longer really suprised of how bad a bay movie will be bad.. he should change the last letter off his last name from y to d… it shouldnt be michael bay.. it should be michael bad

  16. What I’m afraid of is if this movie sucks and bombs because of bad word of mouth, you can kiss goodbye any future live action TMNT movies from happening. Disney needs to buy the rights from Viacom.

    • Always with the “Disney should buy this” crap. I say Legendary Pictures is the way to go.

  17. This may be Michael Bay’s version of modernizing the characters like Transformers.

  18. There was ssome online rumor that this version of Shredder was half-Japanese or raised in Japan

  19. There was an online rumor that this version of the Shredder is half-Japanese or adopted and from Japan or some nod to the original. Maybe Eric Sache is an American version of Oroku Saki and he uses that name to Infiltrate the Army (like a ninja) and he trains those military Foot soldiers we saw pictures of. Like John Harrison is reallly Khan in Star Trek into Darkness. I hope he still has the connection of Hamato Yoshi and Splinter.

  20. R.I.P shredder.
    R.I.P TMNT.

  21. Well i guess since there fighting soldiers now instead of the foot ninjas they will probably wind up with guns instead of ninja weapons hard to vision a turtle shooting an ak47 though so hopefully they wont

  22. I said the same thing they should have Just had Dude who played Storm Shadow in GI JOe to PLay SHredder.

  23. If he is still Oruku Saki in the new cartoon, then why the F**K would they change him for the movie?!? The kids who watch the cartoon and go to see this movie are going to being thinking, “Who the f**k is this clown?”. I am over this movie. In fact….

  24. At some point the Turtles need to call him Shreddy Krueger.

  25. EFFF you!!! Bay!!

  26. Thank you for ruining TMNT yet again. Let’s try to make a story that sticks to the original for the original fan base, shall we? Ugh.

  27. I’m not the hugest Bay fan, but remember, he is not actually directing the movie, he’s the producer. All the mud slinging reminds me of that part in Moneyball when whenever the A’s were doing poorly, they blamed the general manager, but once they started winning they said it was because of the coach.

  28. Eric Sachs may or may not become the Shredder, but rest assured the Shredder isn’t going to be Japanese in this film. Hollywood has a major stigma against casting minority actors(Aside from blacks and latinos) in major roles: They’re less well-known, American audiences won’t identify with them as much and other BS assumptions.

    Every now and then there are exceptions depending on the director, but Michael Bay isn’t one of them. Just as JJ Abrams whitewashed Khan with Benedict Cumberbatch, expect a Caucasian Shredder.

  29. I hope Vanilla Ice makes a cameo.