'Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles' Reboot Director Addresses Alien Furor

Friday, 23 March 2012 10:10 Written by  Jordan DeSaulnier
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'Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles' Reboot Director Addresses Alien Furor

Director Jonathan Liebesman is currently in the midst of the press tour for Wrath of the Titans.  It just happens to be during the same week that fans are in a mouth-foaming uproar over changes to the origin story of the titular quartet in his next project, the live-action Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles reboot.  He's doubtless had to answer many a question regarding whether or not the turtles will be extraterrestrials, and Liebesman has responded in a most political fashion.

A little background may be necessary for anyone who missed the story whilst concerning themselves with current events such as President Assad's ongoing brutality against Syrian citizens, Trayvon Martin's killing, or an American serviceman's murder of Afghan civilians.  Basically, at the 2012 Nickelodeon Upfronts last week, producer and explosion aficionado Michael Bay mentioned that in this iteration, Leonardo, Michelangelo, Raphael, and Donatello would be "from an alien race," inadvertently cuing a shitstorm of indignant fans.

Bay stepped on the tracks in front of the outrage express earlier this week, saying fans should relax, as Kevin Eastman, who created the Turtles with Peter Laird, is helping the creative team to establish a richer cinematic mythology.  Perhaps because Bay himself is such a polarizing figure, his words didn't seem to have the desired effect.

Now, while promoting next week's sequel to Clash of the Titans, Jonathan Liebesman has discussed the controversy over potentially turning the mutants into aliens.  In an interview with Coming Soon, Liebesman said,

"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."

Liebesman, whose past credits include Battle Los Angeles and Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning, spoke more extensively about Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles to Frosty at Collider.  Regarding the alien idea, Liebesman referred to the fact that, in the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles canon, the ooze responsible for mutating the heroes has an extraterrestrial source, saying,

“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.  I promise you: fans will love it.”

He went on to reiterate that point and the direct involvement of Eastman:

“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."

For more, including Liebesman's very early thoughts on whether the characters will be brought to the screen through practical effects or CGI, head over to Collider for the full article.

Jonathan Liebesman signed on with Paramount Pictures to direct the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles last month.  Bay, along with partners Andrew Form and Brad Fuller, is producing through their company Platinum Dunes, which previously trafficked pretty much exclusively in horror remakes like Friday the 13th and A Nightmare on Elm Street.  The screenplay for the first live-action Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie in two decades is being written by Josh Appelbaum and Andre Nemec, the scripting duo credited with Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is scheduled to hit theaters on December 25, 2013.

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