Last week Screen Rant reported on a possible new writer for the new live-action Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie in the form of John Fusco (Young Guns). The semi-confirmation came when TMNT fan site Ninja Pizza picked up on a report put up on (and quickly removed from) TMNT25.com that listed Fusco as the writer.
However, it has just recently been officially confirmed that Fusco will write the live-action TMNT reboot, which is to be produced by Scott Mednick (300, Superman Returns) and Galen Walker (TMNT).
Variety is reporting that Fusco has been brought on-board as the writer for the new Ninja Turtles film, which is hoped to relaunch the four crime-fighting turtles, Michelangelo, Leonardo, Donatello and Raphael once more (there was an "updated" 2007 CGI-animated movie and of course the three live-action films released in the '90s). Although no director has been signed onto the project yet, casting for the martial artists who will perform stunts in the movie began over the weekend in Hollywood.
Looking at Fusco's resume, it looks like this project may be in decent hands. Fusco wrote Young Guns and its sequel in the late 80s/early 90s, and although he isn't the absolute most prolific screenwriter out there, he's written a fair amount of films including the 2004 Viggo Mortensen adventure, Hidalgo, and the Jackie Chan/Jet-Li film, The Forbidden Kingdom. Fusco also recently wrote a modern take on the Kurosawa classic, The Seven Samurai, for The Weinstein Company.
On top of his screenwriting experience with action-adventure, Fusco has been practicing martial arts himself since he was 12-years-old, and to this day continues to practice Shaolin kung fu. Fusco had this to say about writing the new TMNT movie:
It is always exciting when you can come aboard a project that bridges the worlds of what you do with what you love... I have always been a fan of the Turtles and the world of martial arts is my lifelong passion. I look forward to this great opportunity.
Although Fusco's experience with fun and light action-adventure suggests that this live-action TMNT movie will follow suit, that may not be the case. Apparently Fusco's script will take elements straight out of the original 1983 Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird TMNT comic series and incorporate it into what is being planned as an origin story for the characters.
I'm sure I'm not the only one who wants a ultra-violent, kick-ass Ninja Turtles movie more akin to the original Eastman and Laird comics. The fact that Fusco is reportedly going to incorporate elements of that series is very reassuring. But there's little chance it will be above a PG-13 age rating (if that), simply because the studio won't want the film to exclude younger audiences. Nonetheless, I think the addition of Fusco is a good sign for this project.
What do you think of John Fusco being the writer of the live-action TMNT movie? Do you like the way this project is shaping up?
No specific release date has been set for the new live-action Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, but it is slated for a release sometime in 2011.