The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles live-action reboot met with decidedly mixed reactions upon release two years ago, yet still grossed near two-hundred million domestically all but guaranteeing a sequel. Now that time has come to pass. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows, by all appearances, seems to have doubled down on its predecessor’s template: Michael Bay mayhem merged with Sunday morning cartoon humor. In the sequel, The Turtles and April O’Neil (Megan Fox) are joined by fan favorite Casey Jones (Stephen Amell) as they battle against the villainous Shredder and Krang. At the 2016 WonderCon panel for the film, stars Megan Fox and Stephen Amell, alongside producers Andrew Form and Brad Fuller previewed what to expect from the David Green helmed sequel. Below are bullet point highlights from the panel and press line.
- On What Classic TMNT Characters to Expect in the Sequel: Brad Fuller stated, “The beauty of working with [Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles] is that there’s so much in canon to pull from.” He added that there were a number of characters they wanted to put in the first movie. Now in the sequel, they have the chance to put them all in. There are five new characters in the sequel: Bebob, Rocksteady, Baxter Stockman, Krang and Casey Jones.
What is the Theme of the Sequel? Per Andrew Form – “This film is about acceptance. Movie one was about family. This movie’s called Out of the Shadows. Turtles living in the shadows. It’s really about them dealing with who they are and accepting that.”
- On Developing Bebob and Rocksteady and What Role They Play in the Feature: “Dumb and fun. That was our mandate” Form joked, “We call them the idiots. The knuckleheads. These are the guys in a ballroom brawl that if they hit you it’s going to hurt but it’s easy to dodge them. They’re Shredder’s henchmen and they bring a lot of comic relief to the movie.”
- Andrew Form announced Fred Armisen (yes – of Portlandia and Saturday Night Live fame) would be voicing the brain Krang. Supposedly Armisen has just started recording his voice for the character this very week.
- On Casting Stephen Amell as Casey Jones: Brad Fuller stated that Stephen Amell was always the “first choice early on. He came in for a screen test with Megan. As soon as we saw that we knew we had Casey and April.” Amell added that the initial audition was a scene where Casey and April are breaking in somewhere. “He’s super zany. In the sides, he’s actually meeting the Turtles for the first time. So I was like I have to take this to an eleven. I got to make sure that if anything they tell me to pull back – which is very different than on my television show.”
Stephen Amell On Becoming Casey Jones: Amell said it was ”surreal becoming a part of the ‘Turtle family.’” He filmed the role during the two-month hiatus he had off from Arrow. Per Amell: “Casey Jones has a beef to settle with two of the people the Turtles are after: Bebop and Rocksteady. So Casey unwillingly goes along with the Turtles to find them. “He’s a little suspicious of the Turtles,” Amell added. “When we meet Casey in the movie, he is far from a vigilante carrying a hockey stick He’s a correction’s officer. But he does have a hockey stick.” Amell was also quick to note that he didn’t look to previous iterations of the character. “I mean I know them. My wife and I watched the original movie with Elias Koteas as Casey Jones. But other than that, I did my own thing,” the actor stated.
- How is April O’Neil Different in the Sequel? The first movie spent a lot a time on April career wise, her aspirations, and ambitions. “This time there’s a lot more focus on her relationships” Megan Fox said, “Relationships with the turtles and with her family. Finding a purpose in a different way.”
- The Cast and Producers Then Previewed a Clip from the Film: April Jones, a blue vial of ooze in hand, rushes away from some masked goons, inevitably getting trapped in an alley way. Right before the goons attack her, Casey Jones steps in to save the day. He uses a hockey stick and puck to knock out all the bad guys. There’s a nice sense of humor to the sequence. After Casey saves the day, he tries to introduce himself to April – but the goalie mask stifles his words, making him impossible to understand. It’s silly, colorful stuff that works in the context of the footage. Honestly – it was a relief to see a live action adaptation of a children’s comic/cartoon aimed actually for
- Who Would Win in a Fight Between Arrow and Casey Jones? Amell struggled for a bit before replying “Oliver would be beating Casey Jones and then stupidly wouldn’t kill him. Then Casey Jones would eventually come back and make Oliver regret that.”
On The Turtles Journey in Out of the Shadows: “The Turtles go to Brazil” Fuller revealed, “For the first time ever they leave New York… They have to get on an airplane. The turtles go on a little bit of a journey and leave the environment they feel most comfortable in.”
- On Working Opposite Actors in Mocap Suits: “I was incredibly self-conscious the first day of filming” Amell revealed, “”You have all the Turtles and they’re wearing these suits. Above their heads, they have these strings and two balls which actually represent their eyes. When you’re speaking to them, you have to look at those and not look them in the face. It’s really difficult for me to talk with them off-screen because I would look them in the eyes and then we would roll and I would have to look up at these balls above their head. It’s really challenging… You just have to trust heavily in the post-production that they’re not going to make you look like a complete idiot. Because you feel like one at the time. But you get over it.”
- Megan Fox On the Difficulty of Getting Lines at the Last Minute During Shooting: “I’m used to that [getting lines at the last minute]” she confided, “In comedy, I like it a lot more because it’s easier to deliver a joke someone’s just handed to you than it is [to deliver] a heavy line about something that’s going on in an action movie. Because they give it to you and it’s always written in a really ridiculous way and you have to say it right away. And you’re like ‘I don’t believe it.’ It’s also hard when there’s a lot of gravity in a scene but you realize you’re in a Ninja Turtles movie but they want you to act like you’re in a Scorsese movie. Its just hard because I’m aware we’re not doing that.”
- Will There be Anymore Turtle Beat-Boxing in the Sequel: Form and Fuller played coy but seemed to hint that there would definitely be a sequence of Turtle beat-boxing again.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows opens in theaters June 3rd. If you missed the new trailer click here to check it out.