“The de­signs are i nspired by a darker pl ace”

You can’t keep a good Ninja Tur­tle down, as Joseph McCabe dis­cov­ers with the new re­boot

SFX: The Sci-Fi and Fantasy Magazine - - Contents -

Be­neath their rigid, un­chang­ing half- shells, the Teenage Mu­tant Ninja Tur­tles have proven to be among the most adapt­able of pop- cul­ture icons. They’ve been in­die comic book he­roes, Satur­day morn­ing car­toon co­me­di­ans, ac­tion movie he­roes, videogame avatars, rock ’ n’ roll stars and pizza pitch­men. So in a less in­no­cent world than that of the late ’ 80s, when their live- ac­tion film fran­chise was launched, it’s un­sur­pris­ing that Leonardo, Donatello, Michelan­gelo and Raphael have adopted a meaner look for their new Michael Bay- pro­duced re­boot.

“The de­signs are in­spired by a darker place,” South African di­rec­tor Jonathan Liebesman ad­mits to SFX when we sit down to speak with him in Bev­erly Hills. “From Kevin East­man and Peter Laird’s orig­i­nal comics. But that’s more of a visual thing. The tone of the movie is much more like the car­toon or the other movies.

“When I started on the film I did feel like I wanted it to be a darker thing,” Liebesman tells us. “But when we were shoot­ing, when we were watch­ing scenes, the stuff that was play­ing bet­ter was the more fun, charm­ing Tur­tle mo­ments. That’s what Michael said he wanted. It started to be­come ev­i­dent that that was the way to go. So we started craft­ing the movie to be­come that. That was a long process. That was a two- year process of watch­ing the movie over and over and mov­ing it into that di­rec­tion.”

hor­ror pedi­gree

Liebesman is joined to­day by his pro­duc­ers, An­drew Form and Bradley Fuller, best known for their Bay- helmed pro­duc­tion company Plat­inum Dunes. The two are no stranger to re­boots, hav­ing crafted 21st cen­tury takes on hor­ror clas­sics like The Texas Chain­saw Mas­sacre and A Night­mare On Elm Street. But they say the tran­si­tion from chillers to chil­dren’s fare wasn’t a to­tally un­nat­u­ral one.

“When we started the company, we never thought we were gonna make eight hor­ror movies in a row,” says Form. “We loved mak­ing Texas Chain­saw and the movie worked and peo­ple liked it. But from day one when we started the company we would have loved to have made a Ninja Tur­tles. We’ve loved th­ese big fun movies. We’ve worked with Michael for 14 years, we’ve watched him make all those movies, the Trans­form­ers – we loved those movies. So when we heard that Vi­a­com had the rights to Ninja Tur­tles, Brad and I went to Michael and said, ‘ Lis­ten, what you did with Trans­form­ers, we gotta do with Ninja Tur­tles. We gotta bring th­ese guys back. Th­ese char­ac­ters are so love­able and amaz­ing and they’ve been around for so many years. With the mo­tion- cap­ture tech­nol­ogy, let’s go for it.’ He thought it was a good idea, and luck­ily Paramount, after a cou­ple of months, said, ‘ Yes.’ Then we grabbed Jonathan and made the movie.”

Libesman – who’d worked with Form and Fuller on their pre­quel The Texas Chain­saw Mas­sacre: The

Be­gin­ning – brought with him a love of the orig­i­nal Tur­tles films.

“the rule was that ev­ery thing had to come from the comic books”

“I like do­ing movies I would want to go and watch. It’s as sim­ple as that. With Ninja Tur­tles, I had seen what Michael had done with Trans­form­ers and when th­ese guys ap­proached me, I was al­ready a Tur­tles fan as a kid. I didn’t know the Trans­form­ers mythol­ogy, but I knew the Tur­tles mythol­ogy. So I couldn’t make some­thing that wasn’t true to that. I knew the car­toon and the movies, and then, sub­se­quently, Kevin East­man and Brad and Drew showed me other dif­fer­ent ori­gin sto­ries. With ev­ery­thing we did, the rule was that it had to come from one it­er­a­tion of the comic books.”

Though a pre- Plat­inum Dunes draft of the script fea­tured para- di­men­sional Tur­tles and an alien in­car­na­tion of their en­emy Shred­der, the film­mak­ers re­cruited screen­writer Evan Daugh­erty to bring things back to ba­sics.

“We worked with Kevin East­man from day one,” adds Form. “There have been so many amaz­ing char­ac­ters over the last 30 years, it was like: just use ’ em, they’re amaz­ing. Of course we had to de­cide who we were go­ing to put in this movie. We al­ways knew it was gonna be the Tur­tles and Splin­ter. But which vil­lain to use, which pro­tag­o­nists...”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.