Exclusive: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Director Addresses "Alien" Backlash
March 23, 2012
This past week was a crazy one for fans of the popular comic book, cartoon and movie characters, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, when Michael Bay, producer of the upcoming reboot told press at the Nickelodeon Upfront that they plan on introducing a new element to the characters by making them an "alien race," something that he and others involved with the characters began to backtrack on when the internet exploded in an uproar.
Bay's exact words were:
"When you see this movie, kids are going to believe, one day, that these turtles actually do exist when we are done with this movie. These turtles are from an alien race and they are going to be tough, edgy, funny and completely lovable."
(And if you missed it, you can read that story here.)
It just so happens ComingSoon.net/SuperHeroHype was talking to the project's director Jonathan Liebesman (Battle: Los Angeles) this morning for his upcoming Greek myth epic Wrath of the Titans and we asked him if he had been hearing about any of this backlash and what he thought of it. He was suitably diplomatic.
"I heard about it, and I'm glad there's such a passionate fanbase--I think that was good news for everyone--but literally, 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."
Since they are still developing the movie, he wouldn't really address whether this movie was going to be bigger in scale--something we'd assume from Liebesman's previous two movies and the involvement of Bay--whether it would break away from the family audience leanings of the previous movies or whether the Turtles would be men in costumes or done via performance capture. (Who knows? Maybe they'll get Andy Serkis to play all four Turtles. That would be something, right?)
Incidentally, later on, we attended a press conference for the movie and Liebesman mentioned having walked by posters of his new movie while walking around New York City and what that meant to him. While he was referring to Wrath of the Titans, he may as well have been referring to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, because he's clearly not on board the project to make a movie the fans are going to hate.
"That's why we worked so hard on this. You just don't want to f*ck it up and you don't want to disappoint people who pay money,"
he said, before paraphrasing something his star Sam Worthington told him about having a chance to do a second movie as being "out of respect for the people who are paying money to see the movie--you feel those people are the reason why we have these jobs."