April o’neil returns to help the Turtles move out of The Shadows...
The Ninja Turtles’ best mate.
There aren’t many actresses whose breakthrough movie role proved as memorable as that of Megan Fox in Michael Bay’s 2007 Transformers. As photogenic gearhead Mikaela Banes, the girlfriend of Shia LaBeouf’s klutzy Sam Witwicky, she emerged as a very 21st century icon of screen sexuality. With 2014’s Bay-produced blockbuster reboot of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles film universe, Fox got the chance to prove she could be more than just eye candy in big-budget franchises, taking on the central human role of the half-shell heroes’ above-ground confidante and best friend, April O’Neil. Now back for the even bigger sequel – directed by Return To Echo’s Dave Green and co-starring Arrow’s Stephen Amell as romantic foil Casey Jones – Fox tells SFX she identifies more strongly than ever with the intrepid reporter... How does it feel to be back in the Turtle-verse?
I had an amazing experience on this one. This one was really easy and fun, and there was a lot of levity on set. I think it’s got a lot of good energy. What made it easy?
They figured out the tone from making the first one. Because you have the comic book, which was very dark, you have the cartoon, which was made for children, and then you have the 1990 movie, which was sort of a blend of both, but more cartoony than dark. With the first one they didn’t have a very clear idea of the exact tone; and they found it in editing. So going into this one they knew right away what kind of a movie they were gonna make. Stephen Amell has said it’s funnier than the first one.
Their attempt is to make it funnier, and I believe they’ve succeeded. It’s just more lighthearted, and it sort of winks throughout. It makes comments about what sort of movie it is, which I think is something we saw in Guardians Of The Galaxy and, in a much more adult way, Deadpool. Has the world of the first film opened up?
There are a lot of characters. To an outsider it’s almost an overload when there’s too many popular characters; you sort of lose the story. But I think they’ve done a really good job of maintaining the story, and it’s sort of peppered with all these villains. It feels a lot bigger than the first one. How satisfying is it to star in a superhero franchise that’s anchored by a female character?
It’s still a female lead, though in the hands of an entirely male [production team]. All the way up to the top. This is a male-dominated industry, so it’s still sort of coloured through the lens of how men view women in life. But I think it’s definitely moving in a positive direction, and I think when we have more female filmmakers then we’ll have more movies with female leads. But we also need more female writers. Because you need someone who understands the psychology of a woman to be able to write a woman well. What was the dynamic like on set between you and Stephen Amell and Turtles veteran Will Arnett?
I interact the most with the boys that play the Turtles. Because they’re really charming and funny and I have a good time with them. Then Will of course comes in and he’ll drop his one-liners and make everybody laugh. He’s the comedic relief, obviously. He and Stephen got along really well. They have, like, a bro relationship and they talk about hockey. They’re Canadian and all of that stuff. But I interact mostly with the boys. I have sort of a Wendy and the Lost Boys relationship with them, on camera and off. So you’re like their big sister?
Kind of. I’m also the mischievous shit-starter too [laughs]. Judith Hoag, the April O’Neil from the 1990 Turtles movie, appears in Out Of The Shadows. Did you have any scenes with her?
You never know what the edit of the movie’s gonna bring, but I had a couple of scenes with her. She was really gracious. Did you ever feel a pressure to live up to her portrayal?
No. I mean there was a different April throughout those movies. I just try to do the best I can with what they write on those pages. And I felt no pressure at all. She was really friendly and I had a great time. How has April grown since we last saw her?
She’s less focused on her career. The first movie was all about her being ambitious and trying to achieve. In this movie, she’s much more relaxed, having a good time with these boys, and just sort of going about her own life at her own pace. It’s not such a struggle to prove who I am to people. That was almost a commentary on how an outsider would perceive me as an actor, what was going on with April – “I want people to take me seriously! I don’t want to jump on trampolines anymore [laughs]!”
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out Of The Shadows is out now.
“you never know what The edit of The Movie’S gonna bring”