Controversy errupted when Michael Bay made a small comment about the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles live-action reboot he is producing. Bay mentioned that the Turtles in his movie are “from an alien race” which is a big change from the mythology we’ve come to know from the comics, cartoons, and movies released thus far. Bay quickly shot back by advising everyone to “take a breath, and chill,” asserting that he was “working closely with one of the original creators of Ninja Turtles to help expand and give a more complex back story.”
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles creators Peter Laird and Kevin Eastman individually came to Bay’s defense. Laird said “But I would actually encourage TMNT fans to swallow the “chill pill” Mr. Bay recently suggested they take, and wait and see what might come out of this seemingly ill-conceived plan. It’s possible that with enough truly creative brainpower applied to this idea, it might actually work. I’m not saying it’s probable, or even somewhat likely… but it IS possible.” Eastman responded, “I had been invited to check out the TMNT film development by my friend Scott Mednick over the years, and a while back had a full look behind the curtian at what writers [Josh] Appelbaum and [Andre] Nemec, director [Jonathan] Liebesman, and producer Bay are doing–and trust me–it IS AWESOME. I’m officially on board.”
Today director Jonathan Liebesman (Battle: LA) has surfaced to make some peace with fans and explain what is currently going on with the project, how they plan to shoot it, and what to expect. Meanwhile, TMNT co-creator Peter Laird has come back to clarify his previous pro-Bay comments, saying he hates the idea of intergalactic Ninja Turtles. All this and more, after the jump.
Peter Laird took to his blog to clarify his thoughts on the upcoming movie and the announcement that the Ninja Turtles would be part of an alien race:
“Did you really get out of what I wrote that I in any way, shape or form LIKE the idea of a planet of Turtles? If so, I guess I have to re-think how I express myself,” he wrote in response to a commenter. “Just so it’s absolutely clear — I think a planet of turtles is not, in and of itself, a bad idea for some kind of science fiction/fantasy story. But as a way to explain any aspect of the backstory of TMNT, I think it is awful and unnecessary.”
Director Jonathan Liebesman told ComingSoon that he wants to make a film the fans will love:
“I’ve just been locked in a room with Kevin Eastman. I think what we’re developing, the fans will love. I’m a fan, and I love what we’re doing. It’s a lot of stuff Kevin’s been thinking about for a long time and just hasn’t done. Anything we expand will tie right into the mythology, so I think fans will go apesh*t when they see it.”
When talking to Collider, Liebesman clarifies that the “alien” aspect was always part of the comic book series:
“Look, it’s so funny—if everyone was such a die-hard fan, they would know that the TCRI canisters where the ooze comes from. That is alien ooze. Now I’m not saying what Michael said is exactly what the movie is, because we’re sitting in a room now figuring everything out. So we don’t know, but we are like Michael said: we’re expanding it, and the expansion will be true to the mythology.” … “Whatever mythology we’re building on or expanding is coming from that guy, Kevin Eastman’s head, who created the Turtles in the first place. And so everything will tie in with the mythology; fans will be extremely excited with what we’re coming up with. A lot of it is stuff he’s wanted to do for a long time, but just hasn’t had the opportunity because now we have the budget and things on this film to expand it in the right way. And so, I’m happy that everyone is extremely passionate, and they will not be disappointed. It’s all coming from the best possible place for this franchise.”
When asked if the Turtles would be practical (men in suits like the original TMNT live action films) or if they would be Computer generated, Liebsman responded that he loved when they did in The Rise of the Planet of the Apes, calling that work “exceptional.” We’ve previously reported on /Film that our sources had confirmed that the Turtles would be motion capture.
Liebesman also touts that action in the project, but stresses that “for me what’s more important than that is that it’s a story about brotherhood and friendship and responsibility.” It was the characters that attracted the filmmaker to the property: “They’re the best characters I’ll have had a chance to deal with.”