With Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows set to premiere tomorrow, star Stephen Amell will be making the jump from small-screen superhero as TV's Arrow to big-screen superhero as TMNT 2's Casey Jones.
Casting for a big-budget movie like TMNT 2 can often be tricky, with producers looking for actors who are the right fit for the roles but are also able to generate interest in the movie through name recognition. Amell certainly has that name recognition from his television work, with Arrow fans being particularly vocal online. But with the demands of a 23-episode TV season, schedules had to line up just so for him to make his TMNT 2 debut.
TMNT 2 producer Brad Fuller recently sat down with Screen Rant to discuss the upcoming movie, and one of the topics covered was how Amell came to be cast as the hockey mask-sporting Casey Jones. According to Fuller, it involved a whole lot of luck and a clear idea of who they wanted for the role:
"It happened very quickly. From the time that they said to us, 'Let’s put him in. this is the right thing to do,' and then we figured out the script, I think we just got incredibly…And I hear producers say this and I always say, 'Oh, that can’t be true.' But this is exactly what happened.
We figured out that Casey was going to be in the movie. Stephen Amell seemed like the perfect guy who you could believe that he and April O’Neil could have a romantic attraction, and yet we needed a guy who could do all the physicality that is required and who knows something about hockey."
While the physicality of Amell's work on Arrow put him at the top of their list for the part, there was still the question of how to make it work. Would his schedule for Arrow allow him to do the movie? According to Fuller, the answer was "just barely."
"So your list gets whittled down to one guy—Stephen Amell, right? That’s really it, to check all those different boxes, and the right age, and the whole thing. We reached out to Amell and our schedule and his schedule on Arrow worked perfectly. I mean it was like he wrapped [production on Season 3 of Arrow] and the next day we started shooting, and we shot Turtles until…the week we wrapped was the week before he needed to get back up to Arrow. It was so perfect. That’s one of the things that just never happens. It just never works that way. It was perfect. And he was just a delight to work with."
While it seems Amell got zero downtime between his TV and movie gigs, landing the TMNT 2 role allows him to broaden his audience, not to mention make a pretty decent salary. If some of that audience follows him back to TV for the next season of Arrow, then that's an additional plus. Fuller had some other interesting insights on the movie as well, such as lessons learned from the movie and his assurance that the franchise will not be going crossover crazy. The full interview can be heard in episode 21 of Screen Rant's Total Geekall podcast.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows opens in U.S. theaters on June 3, 2016.