Arrested Development‘s Will Arnett was an unexpected scene-stealer of 2014’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles as wisecracking cameraman Vernon Fenwick. Now in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows, Vern is back, battling evil, landing punch lines, and helping the heroes on the half shell any way he can.
Screen Rant sat down with Arnett to discuss the freedom of playing one of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles lesser known figures, Vern’s enhanced role and newfound fame. But the hotly anticipated sequel isn’t Arnett’s only release this week, so we also asked about his brief but hilarious appearance in The Lonely Island movie, Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping. In the musical mockumentary, Arnett playfully parodies TMZ ringmaster Harvey Levin. In our interview, he understandably had a lot to say about the celeb-stalking gossip show.
Vern likes to call himself The Falcon.
Will Arnett: Sure.
Why does he call himself The Falcon?
Will Arnett: Because The Falcon is like this fantastic soaring bird who flies above the city guarding it.
Like a cameraman.
Will Arnett: Like a cameraman watching the city like a hawk, like a falcon.
Like a falcon! There we go! [laughs] Is there some freedom to getting to play Vern because he’s a little bit of a lesser known character within the Turtle universe?
Will Arnett: Yeah. You can kinda create…I don’t have to really adhere to any kind of character traits that people might be demanding out of Verne, April O’Neil, or Casey Jones. I think that if you were venture to far character wise that a lot of the hardcore fans would be like, “Hey, April would never do that or Casey would never do that!” We, in the first film, kind of took Verne out of the fringes and were able to kind of shape some of who he is.
How integral have you been to shaping who Verne is?
Will Arnett: Well, I’ve been a big part of how he looks. [laughs] And how he sounds; how he looks and how he sounds, for sure. I think that we, kinda early on, wanted Vern to be somebody who could provide a little levity and be kind of a support to April and kind of a fun character. Then in this film, of course we pick up with Vern and he’s courtside at the Knicks, and he’s with Alessandra Ambrosio and he’s the man in New York. We have fun with that.
But then, at the end of it we see some redemption out of Vern. And he comes clean. He’s ultimately a good guy. That was important to me that he’s a good guy, and that he’s helpful, and he’s kind of a team player at the end of the day.
It’s funny. This week I also got to see Popstar. And you have a cameo in that that’s pretty stupendous. How did that come together?
Will Arnett: That came together…I think Andy was like, “OK. Do you want to come and do our movie?”
It’s a TMZ reference. How much TMZ did you watch to get that down?
Will Arnett: TMZ is one of those things, it’s like kind of unavoidable. Like it will be on a TV at the gym or something. And you want to shame the person who is watching it. You’ve got to be careful, because if you criticize them, then they’ll come out and get you or they’ll put it on and say whatever. It’s like everything in this world. If you say anything about anybody, it’s offensive, including TMZ, which is hilarious.
That show is like a…I love the idea that it’s really a show about…three’s nothing to it. And it’s like they are all sitting around that kind of newsroom and they’re like, “What happened?” And they’re like, “So and so went and had dinner at the…” And then they show the video and there’s nothing happening and the person is not even reacting. And people watch it! And networks air this show, this fucking crap! It’s shit! It’s nothing! It’s incredible!
It’s like we as a people in the future have come back and put this on to have a laugh at ourselves, to see how much we’re willing to put up with. I really believe that. I don’t really believe that. I don’t believe in aliens and stuff. Megan does.
I know that.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows hits theaters June 3, 2016.