The Ninja Turtles reboot - produced by Michael Bay, directed by Jonathan Liebesman, and starring Megan Fox (as April O'Neil) and Will Arnett - has already seen its fair share of controversy, due primarily to a leaked script that saw the titular turtles as aliens (not mutants, perhaps not even teenagers) and the villainous Shredder as one "Colonel Schrader."
But the recently cast Alan Ritchson (Aquaman on Smallville), who will provide the voice and motion capture for the character of Raphael, wants everyone to know that all those negative reports are completely wrong. Plus - Master Splinter has been cast!
Alan Ritchson was in attendance at the MTV Movie Awards when The Hollywood Reporter asked him about Ninja Turtles and what we can expect from the reboot. According to Ritchson:
"The frustrating thing for me since I've signed on is that you hear that it's already got a reputationI think people assume they know what it's going to be about, and those people are wrong. The assumptions, everything you read online is wrong.
"You want to tell everybody how great it is, and you can't really say why, but it is. It's so much better than people think, [...] I promise that. And it's going to look way better than anybody can imagine. I can't wait for people to see this. I think it's going to live up to and exceed everybody's boyhood dreams of being a Ninja Turtle [...]. I grew up with it, too, and I want to see it come to life in the best way possible."
On the one hand, it's good to see that an actor on this project is seemingly passionate about where it's going. On the other hand, it's kind of hard to take the word of someone with regard to something he/she's being paid to promote, as is the case here.
The Ninja Turtles reboot could very well turn out to be one of the better genre films of next year. Hell, it could even be the best cinematic adaptation of a twenty-year-old children's cartoon ever. (Anything's possible.) Still, we've yet to hear anyone say "No, these Ninja Turtles are definitely not aliens" or "No, Shredder has definitely not been turned into Colonel Schrader," which were probably among the most "controversial" changes in the leaked script.
Until someone explicitly says "no aliens, no Schrader," etc., it's likely that when Ritchson says the negative reports have been wrong, what he actually means is that the movie will end up being spectacular in spite of the changes to the TMNT mythology.
The good news is that, even if these newfangled Teenaged Mutant Ninja Turtles turn out to be neither teenaged nor mutants, they're definitely going to be ninjas. Says Ritchson:
"We've gotta be ninjas - unfortunately for me, who can barely walk and talk at the same time. [Laughter.] We're learning a lot of the fight choreography. We've got these unbelievable stunt trainers that work us every day to the bone. It's been a great process."
So there you have it. Ninja Turtles - not just a clever name! Though I do wonder if they can technically be referred to as turtles if they're not from planet Earth. Maybe that's one of the many subplots/themes that'll be explored in the upcoming film: What does it mean to be a space turtle?