This morning, the Internet saw the premiere of the teaser trailer for the new Michael Bay-produced live action Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie directed by Jonathan Liebesman and starring Megan Fox, Will Arnett, and William Fichtner. Nerdist had the opportunity to have a slice of pizza with screenwriter Andre Nemec to clear up some rumors about the latest big screen adaptation and gain some insight into what might be in store for fans of the Turtles.
First things first: aliens. In the teaser, it has been revealed that the Turtles were engineered by Fichtner’s character and April’s father. As fans who have been following the progress of the big screen adaptation know, there was a stir on the Internet regarding the Turtles being aliens of some kind, and Nemec spoke to that rumor in particular: “You know, you gotta own your own version of what these stories are. I mean, again, looking through the different iterations of the Turtles to date, many of them have different origin stories… There’s the Daredevil component that mixes in with the Turtle canon, there’s the sewers. There’s the laboratories. There have been a number of different components to it. For us it was important to find our own version of who these particular Turtles were going to be so they could stand alone as their own characters.”
Another interesting thing that came up during the conversation was the tone of the film. In light of summer blockbusters becoming Nolan-ized with hyper realistic and dark visuals and story lines, where would this installment of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles fit in? “I think that the kids who go to Transformers, the kids who go to the comic book movies these days, they’ll enjoy it.” He added, “Tone was a very interesting question on this movie on how dark we really wanted to go, reel in the conflict between the characters, so that ultimately was the driving principle. Color palates that were chosen were, again, not chosen to be Dark Knight-ish in that regard. We weren’t looking to make that movie. I’m a huge fan of that movie, but I didn’t eat gobs of popcorn when I was watching that movie. We really wanted to entertain and have fun with it, so I think we live on a very fun line in this movie, whether it’s the action feeling real and exciting but always feeling sort of fun and adventurous.”
Aside from the Turtles themselves, what can we look forward to from the other characters in the film? “I will tell you that Splinter is in this movie. You will get to enjoy Master Splinter; I think that he is an important component of the Turtles themselves. It is still very much a story of teenagers, and that really is sort of the land that the Turtles and all of the story telling of the Turtles find themselves constantly trapped in is the land of the teenagers’ problem, and for us that was a fun world to get in to play with but without Master Splinter then it’s Lord of the Flies, so he’s there.”
Regarding April and Shredder, Nemec added, “We always wanted to be true to who the characters were at their most boiled down version within the canon… I think you’ll be pleased with the April that you see and the Shredder that you see. He’s definitely a very interesting, but he’s not a guy with cheese graters on his arms. That is for sure.”
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles opens in theaters everywhere August 8, 2014.