If you were furious that 2014's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles focused on oft-flustered and always-ogled journalist April O'Neil's exploits instead of the superheroes for which the movie's named, you're not alone. Paramount Pictures has heard our collective pleas, and assures Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows will put the focus back where it belongs: on Michelangelo, Raphael, Leonardo and Donatello.
While shooting in Manhattan last June, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows welcomed Screen Rant along with a pod of other reporters into its sprawling police station set to get a look at how the sequel was coming together. During our stay, we spoke with Alan Ritchson (Raphael), Noel Fisher (Michelangelo), Jeremy Howard (Donatello) and Pete Ploszek (Leonardo) and learned the news fans have been aching to hear: we'll get double the turtle screen time. Plus, they shared why we didn't get to see much of the reptilian brothers the first time around.
Noel, you mentioned that there are a lot more turtles this time around. Can you clarify what you mean by that?
Fisher: I mean, the story revolves a lot more around the four brothers…There’s a really great emotional arc, for how brothers interact when faced with challenges and have differences in how we are, how we view life and how we view ourselves.
Ploszek: That’s funny, I remember hearing that about this movie, is that there’s a lot of heart in the story. That was the word, that was the phrase that was thrown around, a lot of heart. And then Dave (Green) was hired (to direct) and I watched Earth to Echo. And you can start putting it together, and you get it. You get why he’s around.
Howard: The first movie was one-third turtles, this is two-thirds turtles of just screentime alone.
Ritchson: Yeah, I mean, I understand the constraints, the financial constraints that were on the first one, not knowing how this would perform, of sort of an educated structure you know as far as like how much screen time because for every second of turtle onscreen it’s--
Fisher: Is it fifty a shot?
Ritchson: A lot of money…So the first time around, it was like, we can’t — we need to build a story here for the first fifteen minutes and then we’ll see them on the roof. In the dark. (All laugh.)
Fisher: Say your line as quickly as you can: Go!
Ritchson: Yeah. (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles helmer Jonathan) Liebesman, his favorite thing was like, (affects Liebesman’s South African accent) "They’ll be in the shadows for most of this, yeah, you don’t have to photograph their face. They can’t see you. We can’t afford to see your face." New York was the shadowiest city ever! This time, not so much. (The first film) did well (financially), so they’re taking I think a little from the pot and really doing justice to the story. So the first time, if it was April’s story, this time it’s the turtles’.
And a resounding sigh of relief was heard from TMNT fans around the globe.
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“TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES: OUT OF THE SHADOWS” is the sequel to the 2014 hit film “TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES.” The film is based on the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtlescharacters created by Peter Laird and Kevin Eastman and is directed by David Green (“EARTH TO ECHO”). Michael Bay (the “TRANSFORMERS franchise) returns to produce alongside his Platinum Dunes partners Brad Fuller and Andrew Form (“ TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES”), with Galen Walker and Scott Mednick (“TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES”) also producing.
Also returning for the sequel is Megan Fox (“TRANSFORMERS”) as April O’Neil, Will Arnett (“Arrested Development”) as Vernon Fenwick and the Turtles: Alan Ritchson as Raphael, Noel Fisher as Michelangelo, Pete Ploszek at Leonardo, and Jeremy Howard as Donatello. Rounding out the cast is Stephen Amell (“Arrow,”) as Casey Jones, Tyler Perry ("GONE GIRL", the "MADEA" franchise) as Baxter Stockman, Academy Award nominated actress Laura Linney (“The Big C”, “LOVE ACTUALLY”) as Chief Rebecca Vincent, Brian Tee (“JURASSIC WORLD”) as Shredder, WWE World Heavy Weight Champion Stephen “Sheamus” Farrelly as Rocksteady and Gary Anthony Williams (“THE INTERNSHIP”) as Bebop.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows opens June 3rd, 2016.