Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014 film)
|Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Jonathan Liebesman|
|Produced by||Michael Bay
|Screenplay by||Josh Appelbaum
|Based on||Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
by Peter Laird
|Music by||Brian Tyler|
|Edited by||Joel Negron
|Distributed by||Paramount Pictures|
|Running time||101 minutes|
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is an upcoming 2014 American science-fiction comedy action film based on the franchise of the same name. A reboot of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles film series, the film is directed by Jonathan Liebesman and stars Megan Fox, Johnny Knoxville, Pete Ploszek, Noel Fisher, Jeremy Howard, Alan Ritchson, Danny Woodburn, Tony Shalhoub, William Fichtner, and Will Arnett.
The film was announced shortly before Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles co-creator Peter Laird sold the rights to the franchise to Nickelodeon in 2009. It is to be produced by Nickelodeon Movies and Michael Bay's production company Platinum Dunes, and distributed by Paramount Pictures. The film is scheduled to be released on August 8, 2014.
Darkness has settled over New York City as Shredder and The Foot Clan have an iron grip on everything from the police to the politicians. The future is grim until four unlikely outcast brothers rise from the sewers and discover their destiny as the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles AKA Navy Turtle Seals. The Turtles must work with fearless CNN reporter April O'Neil and her wise-cracking cameraman Vern Fenwick to save the city and unravel Shredder's diabolical plan.
- Pete Ploszek as Leonardo
- Johnny Knoxville as the voice of Leonardo
- Alan Ritchson as Raphael
- Noel Fisher as Michelangelo
- Jeremy Howard as Donatello
- Megan Fox as April O'Neil
- William Fichtner as Eric Sachs
- Danny Woodburn as Splinter
- Tony Shalhoub as the voice of Splinter
- Will Arnett as Vern Fenwick
- Minae Noji as Karai
- Whoopi Goldberg as Bernadette Thompson
- Abby Elliott as Taylor
In October 2009, following the news of Nickelodeon purchasing all of Mirage's rights to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles property, it was announced that Nickelodeon would produce a new film through corporate sibling Paramount Pictures with an expected release date sometime in 2012. In late May 2010, it was announced that Paramount and Nickelodeon had brought Michael Bay and his Platinum Dunes partners Bradley Fuller and Andrew Form on to produce the next film that will reboot the film series. Bay, Fuller, and Form would produce alongside Walker and Mednick. For the script, the studio originally hired Matt Holloway and Art Marcum to write the film for close to a million dollars. According to TMNT co-creator Kevin Eastman, the John Fusco version was a little too edgy for what Paramount wanted. A year later, the studio turned to writers Josh Appelbaum and André Nemec to rewrite the script. In February 2012, Jonathan Liebesman was brought in to negotiations to direct the film, beating out Brett Ratner. Later in March, it was announced that Paramount had pushed back film's release date to Christmas Day 2013.
In early March 2012, Michael Bay revealed at Nickelodeon's 2012 upfront presentation that the film will be simply titled Ninja Turtles and that the turtles will be "from an alien race". News of Bay's creative change was met with criticism from within the fan community. In response to the announcement, actor Robbie Rist, who voiced Michelangelo in the first three films, wrote to Bay accusing him of "sodomizing" the franchise. Rist later remarked that he could have been out of line since Bay makes more money than he does. In response to the feedback, Bay issued a statement asking fans to calm down since a script had not been revealed, his team was working closely with the creators, and would include all the elements that made them fans to begin with. Both Brian Tochi, who voiced Leonardo in the first three films, and Judith Hoag, who played April O'Neil in first film, have voiced their support towards the creative change. TMNT co-creator Peter Laird expressed his thoughts on the change asking fans to take Bay's advice and wait until more of Bay's plan is made available. Laird also stated that he felt the "ill-conceived plan" could be a "genius notion," as it would allow fans to have the multitude of bipedal anthropomorphic turtles that they have been asking for. He would point out that while the concept of a turtle-planet backstory made for a great run-of-the-mill science fiction story, it had no real place in the Ninja Turtles universe. The franchise's co-creator Kevin Eastman stated that he had been invited behind the scenes of the film, and concluded that he was officially on board with the project and that, although he could not say much, he believes it to be "awesome". Via Twitter, Corey Feldman, who voiced Donatello in the first and third films, voiced his support for the film saying that he loves Bay's remakes and he is eager to reprise his role. In response to the backlash, Liebesman stated that he was glad to hear about the fan's response, since he and Eastman had been locked in a room working on ideas that, from his own perspective as a fan, everybody will love. While he would not confirm whether or not Bay's comment did represent the film's premise, he did stress on the ooze itself and its background in the original comic, reminding that the ooze was the product of alien technology. In regards to how the Turtles would be rendered, Liebesman would not say exactly what visual direction would be taken, but he did state that he did enjoy Weta Digital's work in Rise of the Planet of the Apes. He also pointed out that the film would not be exclusively about action but will also focus on brotherhood, friendship, and responsibility.
In late March 2012, Michael Bay posted on his website explaining the title change and stressing that nothing had changed regarding the Turtles. He stated the reason the title was shortened was a request by Paramount to make the title "simple". He continued that the Turtles were the same as fans remember and regardless of the title change they still act like teenagers. He urged everyone to give everybody who was involved a chance, as they had the fans interest at top priority and would not let anybody down. On June 12, 2012, Eastman revealed some of the things for the film stating that April would not be 16 years old like in the 2012 cartoon series, he feels Ken Watanabe would make a great Shredder, he would like to bring Reyes back as a Foot lieutenant, and martial arts wise they are looking at Fist of Legend and The Raid: Redemption. Three days later, it was reported that production for this project has been shut down. While the release date has been pushed back five months, the work stoppage for the film was said to be "indefinite". However, other sources said that the film would be released on May 16, 2014 due to problems in that script that need to be corrected. In July 2012, Eastman called it "easily the best Turtle movie yet". Kevin Eastman stated that the movie is creating its own story but has to be true to the source material or else they will get "murdered".
In August 2012, an early version of the script, dated 1/30/12, titled "The Blue Door" and written by Appelbaum and Nemec, was leaked online. It featured major changes to the origins: the Turtles hail from another dimension that consists of turtle warriors, Splinter is an alien from the same dimension as well, Shredder is "Colonel Schrader", a government agent who is secretly an alien who can grow blades from his body, "The Foot Clan" is just "The Foot", an elite Black Ops unit led by Col. Schrader, Casey Jones is an 18 year old security guard/amateur ice hockey player that finds the Turtles and is the focus of the movie, April is also 18 and is having relationship troubles with Casey because she is moving to New York due to an internship at CBS, Raphael is the comic relief instead of Michelangelo, and Michelangelo falls in love with a turtle woman from his home planet. A cease and desist order was sent by Paramount Pictures to a website that was hosting the script. Peter Laird read the script and commented on his blog that "all true TMNT fans should be grateful to the new 'powers that be' that they did not allow this wretched thing to go any further." In response to The Blue Door, Bay stated that the draft had been written before he and Platinum Dunes joined the project and was promptly rejected some time before. On January 12, 2013, Production Weekly revealed the film would start filming in April 2013 in New York. The following month, the studio pushed back the film's release date until June 6, 2014, and a new writer, Evan Daugherty, was brought on board. On August 15, 2013, Paramount postponed the release date to August 8, 2014 in order to avoid competition with other family-friendly films released in June 2014 as well as one of Paramount and Michael Bay's other releases, Transformers: Age of Extinction.
In mid February 2013, actress Megan Fox had been reported to be cast as April, reuniting her with Michael Bay after he fired her from Transformers: Dark of the Moon at behest of Steven Spielberg for comparing Bay to Hitler, an allegation Spielberg himself denied. Bay confirmed Fox is back in good terms with him as early as April 2011 but it was said by a close source that Fox had to personally apologize again to get the role of April. Jessica Biel had expressed interest in playing the part. In regards to Fox's casting, Laird commented that he felt there were better choices to play April, but that he would prefer not to get too worked up over the issue.
A month later, it was reported that Alan Ritchson, Pete Ploszek, Jeremy Howard and Noel Fisher were cast as Raphael, Leonardo, Donatello, and Michelangelo respectively. In early April, Will Arnett was cast in a role that was being kept secret until leaked photos revealed that he had been cast as April's cameraman and rival, Vernon Fenwick. Soon after that, actor Danny Woodburn joined the cast as Splinter.
In early May, William Fichtner was cast in the film as a lead with iconic stature in the Turtles’ mythology. That same month, former Saturday Night Live star Abby Elliott was cast in the film. Also, it was revealed that Whoopi Goldberg appeared on set, and that she is portraying Bernadette Thompson, a female version of Burne Thompson. On June 22, 2013, Fichtner revealed to the Huffington Post that he is playing The Shredder. Fichtner revealed to Screenrant.com that the Shredder will not be called as Oroku Saki, but as Eric Sachs. On August 3, 2013, Kevin Eastman posted on his Facebook page that he was heading to New York to shoot a cameo in the movie. In October 2013, William Fichtner revealed that Bebop and Rocksteady will not be appearing in the film. In March 2014, it was revealed that Abby Elliott would be playing April O'Neil's roommate. In April 2014, Abby Elliot revealed that her character will be named Taylor, and on April 3, actors Johnny Knoxville and Tony Shalhoub joined the film as the voices of Leonardo and Splinter respectively.
Principal photography commenced March 22, 2013 in Tupper Lake, New York. Shooting began in April in New York City and at Jones Beach State Park in Wantagh on Long Island, New York under the code words "four squared" (4SQ). On April 20, 2013, the film was renamed as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. On April 29, 2013, Michael Bay retracted comments that the turtles will be aliens. Early set photos were made public showing the turtles' actors in black and grey motion capture suits, complete with life-sized turtle shells, with each actor wearing arm bands and accents of their corresponding turtle's signature color. Production for the film wrapped on August 6, 2013. Additional filming occurred in January and April 2014.
A teaser trailer for the film was shown at Cinema Con on March 24, 2014 before its public release on March 27. The trailer reached over 31.4 million views on YouTube in its first week. On April 13, 2014, the first TV spot for the movie was released. A second version of the teaser trailer was released on April 30, 2014. Footage of the film was shown at CineEurope with an introduction from Megan Fox. On June 18, 2014, Playmates Toys announced they have a new product line of toys based entirely on the film, including action figures, vehicles and role play gear. Nickelodeon Consumer Products also announced a complete merchandise lineup of movie-based products that will be available in all major retailers from July 2014 through the holiday season. On June 23, 2014, Paramount gave fans the opportunity to see new posters and a new trailer by voting for their favorite turtle on Twitter. The following day, Paramount released a new trailer which includes the single "Reptile's Theme Song" by Skrillex. A second TV spot for the film was released on July 3, 2014. On July 7, 2014, Pizza Hut announced a new advertising campaign for the film, which includes the return of the chain’s Cheesy Bites Pizza, social media contests themed around the film, and a television advertisement featuring the new movie incarnations of the characters. On July 10, 2014, four motion posters of the turtles were released and new TV spot debuted that day as well. Another new TV spot was released on July 15, 2014. A extended behind-the-scenes featurette was shown after the 2014 Kids' Choice Sports Awards. On July 21, 2014, a single titled "Shell Shocked" by Juicy J, Wiz Khalifa, and Ty Dolla $ign featuring Kill the Noise and Madsonik was released, as it is part of the movie's soundtrack. An extended TV spot debuted the following day. Paramount promoted the film on July 24, 2014 at San Diego Comic-Con International. Five new TV spots were released that day as well. The music video for the song, "Shell Shocked" debuted on July 28, 2014.
In Australia, a poster was released which featured the four turtles jumping from an exploding skyscraper as promotion for its September 11 release. The poster offended many people since the World Trade Center was destroyed back in 2001 during the September 11 attacks. Paramount removed the poster and responded to the controversy:
“We are deeply sorry to have used that artwork for the marketing materials promoting the September 11 opening in Australia. Combining that image and date was a mistake. We intended no offense and have taken immediate action to discontinue its use.”
William Fichtner revealed in an interview that he has signed on for three TMNT films. Liebesman and Fuller had confirmed that Casey Jones as well as Bebop and Rocksteady will appear in the sequels.
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