In Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, based on the endlessly popular characters created by comic book writers Peter Laird and Kevin Eastman, four Ninja Turtles – known as Leonardo, Raphael, Michelangelo and Donatello – must leave their home in the storm sewers of Manhattan and battle evil with the help of their sensei, Master Splinter. As Shredder and his evil Foot Clan commit crimes and spread fear through the streets of New York, the Ninja Turtles team up with fearless reporter April O’Neil (Megan Fox) and her wise-cracking cameraman Vern Fenwick (Will Arnett), in order to thwart Shredder’s diabolical plans for domination.
During a conference at the film’s press day, co-stars Megan Fox and Will Arnett talked about when they became fans of the Ninja Turtles, the film’s incredible stunt team, acting opposite non-traditional characters, making a big summer blockbuster, that having actors to work off of for the Turtles definitely made their performances better, and not wanting to ruin something that you love. Check out what they had to say after the jump.
MEGAN FOX: I was a big fan, as a kid. I had an older sister that was really into the movies, so I got into it because of her. I also watched the cartoon. I’m not going to claim that I read the comics because I didn’t, and I don’t want to get stoned for claiming that I did something that I didn’t do.
Did you have any turtles or pets, as a kid?
FOX: I didn’t have turtles because you have to keep them in cages, and I was always really against that, even when I was little. I had a black cat. She was a stray cat, and I named her Candy. I thought she was magic. I love cats and dogs. I’ve had ferrets, pigs, birds and all kinds of things. I’m an animal person.
Will, what’s your favorite Ninja Turtle memory?
WILL ARNETT: I have a few, at different stages in my life. I had a younger brother who was really into the Turtles, years ago. And then, right before I met [for this film], my young sons organically started really getting into the Turtles. I sensed that there was something going on. They were talking about the Turtles, and I realized they were watching the new animated Turtles on Nickelodeon. And then, I started seeing their friends wear Turtles t-shirts to school. It was pretty remarkable to see an entire new generation respond organically, and not be pushed into it. They entirely discovered them on their own and fell in love with those characters, in the same way. I thought that was pretty remarkable. So, by the time I did meet [on the film], I was really familiar with the whole mythology.
Megan, you got to kick some butt in this movie. Did you have to go through any fight training?
FOX: We did initially start out doing some kickboxing and kickboxing training, and they would teach me on site. We had an incredible stunt team, so they would teach us, as we went along. They were the best of the best. I was also pregnant, so I couldn’t do all of the stunts while I was filming. What I couldn’t do, we had an amazing stunt girl that would do the series stuff for me. But I did what I could, and that was a lot because I’m bad-ass.
FOX: I’m not trying to tell you guys that you’re becoming obsolete, but everyone with an iPhone is a journalist in their own way now, especially because we live in a tabloid culture. When you watch CNN and they’re giving you news based on tweets that people are sending out, you realize that society is really changing. The collective public have a really big voice now that they didn’t previously have, and they’re influencing the trajectory of how we are socially with one another. It didn’t necessarily change my view of [journalists] so much. I realize that the job is much more tedious than maybe I realized previously. You’ve really gotta keep track of a lot of shit.
How do you know how much to give away and how much to keep to yourself, when it comes to the media?
FOX: I clearly haven’t learned that lesson. I’m probably the worst person to ask. I like to be open and honest. I hate being disingenuous. It’s really uncomfortable for me. I don’t excel at doing that. But I’ve also learned that, because of what [journalists] do, so much of what I say gets sensationalized. You have to report on scandal because that’s what people are hungry to read about. So, even when I’m trying to be straightforward and honest and my comments are innocent, inevitably they get turned into something salacious. I don’t have a good gauge on how to edit, but my intention is a good one. [Journalists] should just all behave themselves and be nice when you report on things that I say.
FOX: When we were doing Transformers, Shia [LaBeouf] and I were just screaming things at the sky. We had no references, at all, at that point, because how can you when you’re dealing with 30-foot robots? But with this one, we had four actors that were really, in what I consider a stroke of genius, cast by Jonathan [Liebesman] because they were perfect for their roles and really embodied them. When you’re doing movies like this, you do the scene with the actors, and then you have to do a clean plate without the actors there, so that if they want to use that shot, they don’t have to paint them out before they paint the Turtles in. And inevitably, in every single one of those, I was always significantly worse when the actors weren’t with me. Because they were so good, they helped make me a lot better. So, whenever you have the opportunity to work with real people, that’s always helpful.
What do you think about all of the haters out there?
FOX: Let me tell you something about those people. How much money did Transformers 4 make? Those people can complain, but they all go to the theater and see those movies. They’re gonna love it, and if they don’t love it, they can fuck off.
Megan, you’ve said that you had a crush on Michelangelo, growing up. What was it like to actually get to have scenes with him?
FOX: During shooting, we played around with that. There was a Raphael/April connection, and then it turned into a Michelangelo thing. That’s totally up his alley. That’s who he is. Mikey’s always been girl crazy. That’s his personality. I’m happy that it turned out that way. Also, Noel [Fisher], the kid who plays him, is a really talented actor. He steals the movie. In my opinion, it’s Mikey’s movie.
ARNETT: It’s pretty early on in the movie that Vern makes his lame attempt at romancing April, and he gives up on it quite quickly. And then, Mikey moves in there. It’s hard to compete with a Turtle.
What was it like to do your first big action movie?
ARNETT: I really enjoyed it. On every level, it was certainly a departure for me, and I learned a lot from Megan [Fox], in the process of making this movie. Because Megan has done these big blockbuster movies, there’s almost a different language that you speak in these kinds of movies. I remember being on set and watching one of the monitors with Andrew Form, and the camera moved in on Megan and I remember looking at him. When you see Megan in certain frames and there’s a lot going on and a lot of action, she makes you think of big summertime action blockbuster movies. I’m just used to being a jack-ass. That’s not a joke.
Megan, were you attracted to this role because April is a strong female that isn’t overly sexualized?
FOX: First of all, I don’t mind doing that stuff. That’s been a part of being an actress in Hollywood since the beginning. I don’t feel ashamed or like I can’t be taken seriously while also wearing a tank top. And if you don’t take me seriously when I’m wearing a tank top, that’s your f*cking problem, not mine. But I was attracted to this because I was a fan, as a kid. I really wanted to do this, and I got the opportunity to go in and have a meeting. It was Valentine’s Day. I went in, and the three of us were in there for five hours at Paramount, for my first meeting. Brian was texting me, “It’s Valentine’s Day. Where are you?!” And then, I got home and sent everyone emails saying, “You know what? It’s okay if you don’t cast me. I understand. I just want you to know that I’m going to be in the audience regardless.” I really campaigned to get this because I was a fan. I was afraid, at the same time, because you don’t want to ruin something that you’ve loved and be a part of its downfall. I was terrified of letting people down, but I had to do it because it was iconic to me, as a kid. I just feel lucky to have gotten the opportunity.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles opens in theaters on August 8th.