If you’re not all turtled out yet from the teaser, teaser trailer, and images from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, then you’ll want to check out this interview with screenwriter André Nemec. The universe-building method has worked pretty well for other comic book-based properties so far, and TMNT should be no exception. Nemec talks about the franchise’s more outlandish elements, such as Krang and Dimension X, alongside the slightly less ridiculous characters we can expect to see in the new live-action outing. Hit the jump to see what he has to say.
Starring Megan Fox, Alan Ritchson, Pete Ploszek, Jeremy Howard, Noel Fisher, Danny Woodburn, and William Fichtner, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles opens on August 8th.
In an interview with CS, Nemec talk at length about the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles fandom, and how faithful this movie is to the comics, cartoons, and movies that came before it.
I was a fan, but I wouldn’t say I was a lunatic fan. I did have the old Eastman and Laird black and whites in the office. I knew very well the cartoons and the movies. I didn’t have the bedsheets. I didn’t have the lunch pails. I had a neighbor who had the Turtle Van. That was as close as I got, but I was a fan enough to know the differences between the original comics, the cartoon and the various iterations of the movies. … You know, the canon of the turtles, in all their iterations, always seems to harken back to a being a story about family, a story of friendship and a story about brothers. I think that, ultimately, when you look at all the different stories, whether it’s the Laird comic or the cartoon now or the cartoon from the late ’80s, or the movies where they’re in the suits, it really always boils back down to being a story about brothers. That really was the most driving principle for us, making sure that that element was always a central component of the movie.
They’ve all been pretty consistent over the years. Amazingly, they’re all pretty well represented by the weapons they use. Michelangelo has always been the freewheeling nun-chucks guy. Donatello has the bo staff, which is a simple but complicated weapon. He’s the tech guy. Leonardo has the swords of a leader and Raphael carries these big, brutish sais, which are really about doing the maximum destruction in the shortest amount of time. They have always, in the canon, lived by those principles. They’re four individuals who are individuals all alone, but, combined, really make one person, which makes them really interesting to watch. They sort of make their decisions, not to get too heady about it, but when those brothers are interacting, it’s almost like watching one person come to terms with the direction they’re going to move in, whether it’s left or right. … I think that the April you’re going to see is largely the April you know. … I can tell you that Splinter is in the movie. You will get to enjoy Master Splinter. He’s an important component in the dynamic of the Turtles themselves. It’s still very much a story of teenagers and that really is the sort of land that the Turtles — in all the versions of the story — find themselves in trapped in. The land of teenager problems. For us, that was a fun world to get in and play with. Without Master Splinter, it’s “Lord of the Flies.” Yeah, he’s in there.
Dimension X is a lot to cover. But yeah, we had to create our own versions of what these turtles are to not just be recreating stuff that was already out there. … You’ve got to own your own version of what these stories are. Looking through the different iterations of Turtles to date, many of them have different origin stories. T.C.R.I. was a collection container that was used for a company that came from alien ooze at one point. There was another version of the ooze where it was created in a laboratory. There’s the “Daredevil” component that mixes in with the Turtle canon. There’s the sewers. There’s the laboratories. For us, it was important to find our own version of how these particular Turtles came to be so that they can stand alone as their own characters. There’s also the version where, if you touch something after you touch the ooze, that’s what you become. There have been a million versions. In this version we just thought it was important to create our own origin that lives within the balance of it. We didn’t do anything overtly kooky.
Be sure to head over to CS for much more from Nemec, including comments on age range, tone, and Michael Bay!