eenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of The Shadows is still a week away from kicking butt on the big screen but turtle mania is full swing. This past Sunday we got a chance to attend a press only press conference featuring the cast of #TMNT2 (minus Megan Fox), directors, producers and screenwriters.
The press conference was moderated by Erik Davis of Fandango who expressed to the room full of press that he was a huge Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles fan before bringing everyone in. The press conference was broken up into two parts, the first conference featured the actors Gary Anthony Williams (Bebop), Stephen Sheamus Farrelly (Rocksteady), Stephen Amell (Casey Jones), Tyler Perry (Baxter Stockman), Brian Tee (Shredder), and Will Arnett (Vernon Fenwick).
The second panel was comprised of three out of four of the Ninja Turtles, Noel Fisher (Michelangelo),Pete Ploszek (Leonardo), Jeremy Howard (Donatello), the director of the film Dave Green, producers Andrew Form, Brad Fuller and screenwriter Andre Nemec.
The cast got right into details of the film, Stephen Amell revealed that his role as the vigilante Casey Jones will be his first ever big screen role. Fans have come to love him as DC’s expert marksman, Oliver Queen on the popular CW show Arrow.
We also learned from Amell that Casey will be given a much needed origin story in the film as it’s really never explained in the cartoons. Amell on playing Casey Jones:
Well, they did me a big favor by giving Casey Jones who’s been in the Turtles canon since the inception of the Turtles basically, they gave him a unique backstory in this movie in that he’s a corrections officer. And we don’t get in this movie quite yet the full-fledged five alarm fire Casey Jones that a lot of fans of the Turtles and the cartoon and the comics are used to. This is a Casey Jones that’s trying to figure out what his path is. So we get glimpses of that, but the fact of my motivation is that I’ve bumped up against the idea of being a police detective in the New York City Police Department my entire life, and it hasn’t worked out. That allowed me to take a Casey Jones and make it my own.
Brian Tee is one of the new kids on the block taking over the role of the Shredder in the second film in the rebooted movie franchise. Brian Tee spoke about taking on the daunting task on becoming one of the most well known villains ever and what he hoped to bring to the role.
I think I wanted to bring a groundedness, I guess a humanness to Shredder ‘cause I think over the years even in the movies in the ‘90s you never really saw a face, there was just this mask and this kind of presence, and to bring that, along with this groundedness and this human form is really what I wanted to I can say, in this movie, and you know, to have that groundedness is what I really wanted to bring.
Also newcomers to the film franchise are WWE Superstar Stephen “Sheamus” Farrelly and Gary Anthony Williams. They also have some really big shoes to fill and we do mean big as they portray the iconic lovable mutant tag team of Bebop and Rocksteady. This film marks the first time Bebop and Rocksteady have been on the screen in live action and it’s about time.
The two spoke on their instant chemistry, how they prepared for the roles by watching animal videos (yes real animal videos) and how the famous “My Man” phrase came to be.
Sheamus on on Bebop and Rocksteady:
Just, I mean, from day one, we just hit it off, you know? When I found out that I got the role and that Gary was going to play Bebop, I got his number, called him, he got kind of weirded out at that in the beginning, this strange dude was calling him. But no, when we landed on set the first time we met everybody and then we went straight to an Irish bar.
Right from the beginning we hit it off, you know what I mean? And the “my man” thing and a lot of this stuff that came in the movie together just came very organically. I mean, it’d be hard not to get along with this fella, or laugh with this fella, and just the energy off him, we just bounced it back and forth and it was a lot of fun.
Gary Anthony Williams on Bebop and Rocksteady:
It’s amazing ‘cause we both – like, I was older, let’s be honest – I was 20-something watching the Turtles, me and my best friend Jerry. You were younger, ‘cause you – I have a couple of years on you.
He’s another grown dude like me who was sitting around watching cartoons. So I was intimately familiar with the Turtles in the cartoon form, never read a comic book, till we got this, picked up a lot of comic books, he and I watched the cartoons together, watched a bunch of animal videos together.
Tyler Perry also is another new face to the franchise, he will take on the role of the brilliant mad scientist Baxter Stockman. He spoke on joining the cast and of course the sinister laugh:
Well, when I first got the call and I got the offer, I went back and tried to do some research and then I go, wait, he’s black. Oh, okay. And
So when I saw the history of him, I was like wow, this animation kind of looks a little bit like me, if my hair were different. So that’s where we came from, with the producers and the director, they were very clear on what they wanted him to be and how they wanted him to be, so I just kind of surrendered to the whole vision and it all fell together.
That just happened one day on set and I was sitting there flirting with Megan’s character, with April, and that laugh showed up and everybody’s like, keep the laugh, keep the laugh, so ‘cause I thought it was hysterical that this guy thinks he has a chance with somebody like Megan, you know?
Will Arnett returns to reprise his role as the unlikely “savior” of NYC Vernon Fenwick.
Arnett spoke about the evolution of his character in the film and even took the time to answer how much a bag of his hot air would actually sell for.
Will on the Evolution of Vernon:
The evolution of Vern, yeah, that’s the burning question. What could I possibly do to take it to the next level? No, you know, I think it was important overall for everybody that we kind of knew what we’d done right in the first movie and what we’d done wrong, and we wanted to kind of capitalize on the things we did right, we wanted to have more fun and kind of tell a story that really resonated and made sense within the, you know, the sort of the canon of the Turtles. For me, personally, for Vern, it was kind of fun to be able to come back and do something a little bit different. He’s kind of on this path that you think is kind of shady but ultimately has a sort of a little bit of redemption, so that was good, had a little bit of something to do. But overall it was important to kind of make a bigger, more fun exciting Turtles.
Will on how much a ziploc bag full of his hot air would sell for:
I’m quoted as saying the other day less than the price of the ziploc bag it’s in. I can’t imagine – you know, it was a funny thing, I thought that was a really good bit that they came up with, the idea that he’s like – the height of absurdity of our obsession with, you know, the idea of celebrity and how meaningless it is that this guy was really – I guess the people of New York do think that he saved the city but that he thinks that, you know, at this point his hot air is worth something is pretty funny.
We also learned that Ninja Turtles aren’t just CGI characters, they are indeed full of emotion thanks to the actors that play them. Pete Ploszek (Leonardo), Noel Fisher (Michelangelo) and Jeremy Howard (Donatell0) were in attendance unfortunately Raphael was missing.
Pete Ploszeck on the evolution of Leonardo:
I think with Leo what I, what was really fun to explore was seeing where his breaking point is. You know, Leo’s always been the leader, the, you know, the do-gooder, the one who’s by the book. And I think because of that a bit of a almost silent sufferer where he won’t show weakness. He won’t show emotion like these other guys can. But everyone sort of has a breaking point, and it was sort of exploring how, what does it take to push Leo to that edge where he’s gonna speak his mind, and he’s gonna tell these guys how he feels? And, yeah, really sort of that balancing act was fun to come up against.
Jeremy Howard on the evolution of Donatello:
I think these guys, as they grow older, especially in this film, you see it’s that the individuality really starts to come out. And as the team, it’s a question of can we keep this team together, these guys together with all the unique traits that they have, and work as a team? And, I think that’s the challenge that your character has, kind of deciding what can I do to bring these guys together to kind of save the planet? And, I’m so tired right now I forgot what was happening.
Noel Fisher on the evolution of Michelangelo:
I think for this movie in particular, I was really excited because the turtles have a really specific arch that you get to see, and it explores that family dynamic that makes the turtles kind of that timeless. You know what I mean? That’s why everyone likes the turtles. And for Mikey specifically, I really liked the idea that he’s sort of the youngest out of everyone. He’s very much the youngest feeling. And so the idea that he might get to be accepted in the rest of society, and not have to necessarily be a turtle anymore is like a really strong pull for him. So I think that was, that was what I really wanted to kind of see what that was like, get back in that teenage, I wanna be like everybody else kind of mode.
(Beanz speaking) As a huge fan of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles growing up it was refreshing to know that minds behind the film were huge fans as well. They basically let us know that their main goal above all other things was to deliver a product fans will be absolutely proud of. To hear they wanted the movie to be just as authentic as the cartoon/comic was music to my ears. Stay tuned for our review of the film coming in the next few days and also check out the gallery below for more eclsusive photos from the press conference below.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of The Shadows is in theaters June 3rd.
Photos: Bernard Beanz Smalls, Paramount Pictures/Nickelodeon/Platinum Dunes
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