It's almost time for more Turtle Power, what with the sequel Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows hitting select theaters tonight before its goes nationwide in the U.S. tomorrow (at the time of writing this). Although the followup to the 2014 live-action Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie reboot devotes more screen and story time to the Turtles themselves - Leonardo (Pete Ploszek), Michelangelo (Noel Fisher), Donatello (Jeremy Howard), and Raphael (Alan Ritchson) - a good deal of the pre-release discussion surrounding the film has centered on the TMNT characters who are finally making their debut on the big screen in Out of the Shadows.
Bebop (Gary Anthony Williams) and Rocksteady (Stephen Farrelly) - the not-so-smart human goons who become mutant henchman for The Shredder (portrayed by Brian Tee in Out of the Shadows) - are at last making the jump from cartoons and comic books to movies with this year's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles installment. The challenge of how to make the two characters (an anthropomorphic warthog and rhinoceros, respectively) work in a live-action film was met here with the use of modern CGI and motion-capture. However, the Out of the Shadows character that really presented a challenge for director Dave Green (Earth to Echo) and his production team was that of the alien villain Krang - or so producer Brad Fuller has informed us.
During his interview with Screen Rant, Fuller had the following to say about the biggest challenge that the filmmakers on Out of the Shadows had to overcome (as far as characters design go):
It’s one word: Krang. Creating Krang and bringing that character to life feels like I’ve been doing nothing but that for the last three years. I mean he’s just such a challenging character. When you see him, you’ll see it. It’s just such a challenging…How do you bring a brain like that to life? I mean how do you do it? What does that look like and what does that sound like? And how does he move? We figured out how the turtles move, and Bebop and Rocksteady. You know, you can kind of extrapolate if 6’6” talking turtles were walking this way, this is what these guys would look like. And Casey Jones and Baxter Stockman, OK, I can do all that. But then when you just a brain into it and try and figure out what that’s going to be like, that was very intense.
And what would Krang look like in 2016? Because we’ve seen what Krang looks like back in the cartoon. But what does he look like today? What’s the advantage of being able to access the greatest artists and all the team at ILM to create that?
Michael Bay, who produced both the 2014 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles reboot and Out of the Shadows, called attention to the challenge of making Krang work as a computer-animated character in a live-action environment when he first publicly revealed that the character would be appearing in the TMNT sequel. It was during the same interview that Bay, when asked by the film's visual effects supervisor Pablo Helman about Krang's in-progress physical design, responded in his typical candid fashion by saying "He could have some tentacles. I just don’t want them coming out of the side. He looks like a stupid octopus." (Bay was also the one who proposed including Casey Jones (Stephen Amell) in Out of the Shadows too, as it were.)
All Michael Bay jokes aside though, Krang's unusual physical form and anatomy no doubt presented a real challenge for visual effects artists who were tasked with making the character seem tangible and, in essence, as realistic as the other CGI creatures and humans around him. Krang's traditionally higher-pitched and nasally voice only compounds that issue in many ways - something that makes the decision to ultimately have Brad Garrett (not Fred Armisen, as originally planned) lend his vocals to the character in Out of the Shadows an interesting one, put simply. Moviegoers can judge those results for themselves by checking out the latest Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie in theaters.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows opens in U.S. theaters on June 3rd, 2016.