Casting for the much-criticized Ninja Turtles live-action movie reboot - arriving from Platinum Dunes, producer Michael Bay and director Jonathan Liebesman (Wrath of the Titans) - is moving ahead, with Transformers actress Megan Fox playing April O'Neal and Alan Ritchson (Aquaman on Smallville) playing the most tempestuous of the four Turtles, Raphael.
Ninja Turtles not only ditches the eponymous reptile warriors' traditional mutation backstory (they're now just aliens), it's also dropping the animatronics and costumes from previous live-action movie installments, in favor of motion-capture like that used in Avatar and Rise of the Planet of the Apes (or, if not that, "emotion capture" like in Oz the Great and Powerful). Hence, the main actors will bring the Turtle characters to physical life during filming - as opposed to, only lending their voices during post-production.
Here are the names being eyed for the remaining Turtle roles (via Deadline):
- Pete Ploszek as Leonardo, the mature leader who assumes responsibilities for his brothers. Ploszek has made single-episode appearances on TV series like Parks and Recreation and Shameless, but for all intents and purposes he is an unknown in Hollywood.
- Jeremy Howard as Donatello, the "geek" Turtle who is usually portrayed as being scientific-minded. Howard, as it were, has spent much of his acting career playing either oddballs or nerdy types, with small roles in films like Galaxy Quest, Men in Black II and Accepted; not to mention, appearances on shows like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Scrubs and (more recently) Breaking Bad.
- Noel Fisher as Michangelo, the "party dude" of the Turtles pack. He voiced Toad on the animated X-Men: Evolution TV show and played recurring roles on series like The Riches and Shameless and the Hatfields & McCoys mini-series, in addition to previously working on Battle Los Angeles (which Liebesman directed) and the (probably not) final Twilight movie, Breaking Dawn - Part 2.
Variety's Jeff Sneider Tweeted that Michaelangelo isn't "the only big role [Fisher's] being eyed FOUR." Is that a hint about the actor being in the running for director Josh Trank's Fantastic Four reboot - or is Sneider referring to the role of Four in the young adult novel adaptation Divergent, which is actively filling its cast out?
What IS clear is that all the aforementioned Ninja Turtles actors aren't going to be handling the majority of the characters' high-flying stunts, martial arts combat and fight sequences that are (supposedly) emulating the brutal action scenes in The Raid: Redemption - though, with teenager friendly PG-13 levels of violence that will bring in younger moviegoers, especially those who turn out en masse for Bay's Transformers movies (lest anyone mistakenly believe this reboot is going back to the dark, imaginative and satirical roots of Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird's original comic books).
Expect more Ninja Turtles casting updates in the near future, including word on who's playing The Shredder... or is it "Colonel Schrader" in this version?
Ninja Turtles opens in theaters on June 6th, 2014.
Source: Deadline, Variety