Many children of the '80s remain warily on the fence about Platinum Dune's upcoming live-action reboot of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. It's an iconic and beloved property -one that's arguably been ripe for a modern makeover for a very long time - but the involvement of producer Michael Bay (Transformers) and director Jonathan Liebesman (Wrath of the Titans) has quite understandably given longtime fans pause, as has the news that the film's release date has been moved to August, 2014.
Still, while some of the casting decisions remain dubious (namely Megan Fox as April O'Neil), the producers have chosen fan-favorite actors for the prominent supporting roles, including Whoopi Goldberg as April's boss, Will Arnett as Vernon Fenwick (April's cameraman in this incarnation), and - in perhaps the wisest casting move of all - veteran character actor William Fichtner (The Lone Ranger) as the Turtles' most famous and iconic adversary, the evil Shredder.
After various conflicting reports about the identity and nature of Fichtner's character, the actor himself finally shed some light on his role. In an interview with The Hollywood News, he's given us some more information about the look of the Turtles: “They are some messed up mutant turtles!” and about Shredder, AKA Eric Sachs. Besides featuring "the darkest version of the character," Fichtner had this to say:
“What I read about Eric Sachs in the script was great, and then how the character has been moulded and changed when we started filming has become something really quite remarkable in terms of what we’ve seen before of the character.”
While this isn't exactly the most earth-shattering insight into Shredder, one other detail was mentioned: Shredder's main henchmen from the cartoon series, Bebop and Rocksteady, will not be in the reboot.
Fans of the cartoon will recall that Bebop and Rocksteady - characters created for the series, like the majority of the Ninja Turtles' acknowledged canon - were former members of a street gang who were mutated by Shredder and constantly sent after the Turtles. The characters were used as comic relief, as their bumbling, inept efforts to stop our heroes invariably failed.
It is still unknown just how close in tone the TMNT reboot will be to Platinum Dune's previous dark and violent remakes, but the omission of these characters could be a clue. They were always popular enough to remain on the show, and while their mutations (humans crossed with a warthog and rhinoceros) have the potential for some memorable grotesqueness, this franchise is still aimed (mostly) at kids.
Or is it? A lot of people who were in middle-school during the peak of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle craze have middle-school-aged kids of their own now, and these grown-ups and their nostalgia are arguably the biggest fan-base for this reboot. If we're seeing the "darkest" Shredder yet, fans might be ready to cautiously look forward to some other surprises as a new generation is introduced to Donatello (Jeremy Howard), Michaelangelo (Noel Fisher), Leonardo (Peter Ploszek) and Raphael (Alan Ritchson).
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles will open in theaters on August 8th, 2014.
Source: The Hollywood News
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