We don’t know a whole lot about Michael Bay’s upcoming reboot of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, except that there are going to be some major changes from the original. So far, most of these aren’t sitting too well with the existing fan base of the franchise. For example, instead of a Japanese man named Oruku Saki, Shredder, the turtle’s iconic enemy, has become a white dude named Eric (played by William Fichtner). At least they’re not aliens anymore, we hope, that’s something. Will Arnett (Arrested Development) stars in the film, and addressed some of the changes with his character, Vernon Fenwick.
You may remember Fenwick from the comics, or the animated series. He was always a smaller character, but talking to Crave Online, Arnett says he’s been beefed up for the latest incarnation of the heroes on a half-shell. In the source material, Vernon has a contentious sort of relationship with April O’Neil, played by Megan Fox—Fox’s casting has been another point of contention amongst fans.
[F]or our purposes, Vernon is still a cameraman who’s helping April, works with her. He’s her cameraman and he’s kind of a solo artist. He does his own thing and as April starts to try to figure out who these vigilantes are, who these turtles are and gets involved in the story, she recruits Vernon.
This sounds like a rather minor change, especially when you consider some of the other alternations Bay, director Jonathan Liebesman (Wrath of the Titans), and the rest of the crew have made. When I think of Vernon, I just remember him as a sleazy little dude who was always up to no good, but who was also a coward at heart. He wasn’t super nefarious, and was more of a scumbag than an actual villain.
He’s [Vernon] reluctant at first…He just wants to get his paycheck and do the easy job and eventually he comes through and starts helping her and goes along for the ride in helping the turtles vanquish the Shredder.
Given the fact that Arnett is really damn funny, you can bet that he’ll bring a fair amount of comic relief to the proceedings. And that’s always how I’ve enjoyed Arnett the most, in supporting roles when he can show up, make you laugh your ass off, and move on. Since Arrested Development, he’s never been that good. He’s great in specific roles, but I just don’t think he’s a leading man. Every time he’s been asked to carry a movie or TV show—like Let’s Go To Prison or Up All Night—the results have been mixed, at best.
Known primarily as a funny man, in TMNT, we’ll also get a chance to see how Arnett handles himself when it comes to action. When the word ninja figures prominently in your title, there’s bound to be some hand to hand combat. Performing the martial arts scenes along side actors in motion capture suits, is one of the joys of production for him. “The action is very real,” he says, “and feels [like] we’re used to seeing through the Bourne movies, action that feels really real and hard hitting, like ooh, that looks like it hurt type stuff, and we do that.”