It’s been quiet on the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles front for sometime now. When last we heard about our Heroes in a Half-Shell, Paramount Pictures pushed the film’s release date from June 2014 to August 2014. The reboot has always been contentious among fans, but one of the film’s stars assures long-time fans of the series that this version of the Turtles is unlike anything they’ve ever seen.
In an interview with Flicks and the City, William Fichtner talks about how director Jonathan Liebesman has created something unique with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles reboot. Apparently, the Platinum Dunes version is not as cheery as the animated series. Fichtner says:
It always had sort of a bouncy cartoon feel to me, which is great, that’s why it was appealing. That’s not this movie….It’s not like any Mutant Ninja Turtles thing you’ve ever seen before. It’s freaky, they’re cool, and they’re mutants and they look awesome. It’s tough and it’s going to be really, really great.
A few months ago, Fichtner was cast to play the film’s villain, the Shredder. In the reboot, the character has been changed from a Japanese villain named Oroku Saki to an American white guy named Eric Sachs. Fichtner, who signed a three-picture deal with Platinum Dunes, describes his character like so:
Well, I play a guy named Eric Sachs and we find out that Eric Sachs is somebody else too. I can’t give away too much in the story but I can tell you that who Shredder is in the telling of this Turtles is unlike any telling of the story before. His connection and relationship to the turtles is a bit surprising and for an actor playing it, the backstory, which comes out in this film, is really intriguing…We made some changes while filming that I thought are just awesome.
While talking to Hollywood News, Fichtner also described Eric Sachs/The Shredder as “the darkest version of the character.” But bad news for fans of the Shredder’s henchmen: fan-favorites Bebop and Rocksteady won’t be appearing. So far, the pair has only been featured in the animated series from the ’80s and the Archie comic books. The closest the mutant villains were to being in a live-action version was in 1991 with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze. In the film, the pair was replaced with another set of henchmen, Tokka and Rahzar, a mutant Alligator Snapping Turtle and Gray Wolf.
Hopefully the reboot will be something worth watching. I’m a huge fan of the Heroes in a Half-Shell, so I remain optimistic until I watch the movie next year. It just seems almost every decision made on this project has been ill conceived or boneheaded. Michael Bay’s name attached as the film’s producer doesn’t really bode well for the reboot’s overall quality, and his Platinum Dunes production company has yet to produce a worthwhile remake. Although TMNT co-creator Kevin Eastman called the film a mix between The Avengers and The Raid: Redemption, which seems like the only positive light at the end of a long and forehead-slapping tunnel.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles features Megan Fox, Danny Woodburn, Alan Ritchson, Pete Ploszek, Jeremy Howard, Noel Fisher, Will Arnett, Whoopi Goldberg, and William Fichtner as the Shredder. Screenwriters Josh Appelbaum & André Nemec (Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol) wrote the script, and Jonathan Liebesman (Battle: Los Angeles) is directing. The reboot will hit theaters everywhere on August 8, 2014.