Take a break from listening to the Ninja Rap and let your hot pizza cool down for a sec, because we have some new casting news about the newest live action Ninja Turtles movie. But before we get to that, it’s time for a little recap. You may have noticed that I didn’t use the words “Teenage” or “Mutant” in the title, and that’s very much on purpose: Michael Bay’s Platinum Dunes production company (responsible for horror remakes like The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, The Amityville Horror, etc.) is behind this big screen incarnation, and they’ve decided to drop the “TM” part from “TMNT.” Josh Appelbaum and Andre Nemec (Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol) wrote the screenplay, which turns Leonardo, Donatello, Raphael, and Michelangelo into an alien race that is “tough, edgy, funny and completely lovable.”
Naturally, fans weren’t too happy about this change. But when an early draft of the script leaked online that featured April O’Neil and Casey Jones as 18-year-old lovers, a trip to Dimension X, and appearances by Krang, Bebop, and Rocksteady, it looked as if we were in for a truly disastrous movie. Peter Laird, the co-creator of the original TMNT, even had some harsh things to say about that script, and all of the bad press caused Paramount to cut the budget, rework the screenplay, and bump the movie back from a Christmas 2013 release to its current slot of June 6th, 2014.
The studio didn’t do itself any favors by hiring Jonathan Liebesman to direct. (He’s the guy who did Battle: Los Angeles and Wrath of the Titans.) Then Megan Fox was cast as April O’Neil, and hardcore Ninja Turtle fanboys practically exploded with rage. And just last week, it was announced that up-and-coming actors Alan Ritchson, Jeremy Howard, Pete Ploszek, and Noel Fisher were hired as the turtles, and the actors will wear motion-capture suits similar to those in Avatar and Rise of the Planet of the Apes to aid their performance.
Which brings us to the latest announcement: The Hollywood Reporter brings word that “Arrested Development” star Will Arnett has joined the film as “one of the leads,” but his role is being kept secret. All we know so far is that Arnett will NOT be playing Casey Jones, which is a huge bummer in my book…can you imagine how awesome that would be to see him don a hockey mask and go off on some Foot Clan members? But alas, that won’t happen, so who is left for the erstwhile Gob Bluth to play in this newly-revamped Ninja Turtle world?
To many, this is the obvious choice. But even though the producers of this film have shown a profound lack of understanding of its source material so far, I’m guessing that they won’t go as far as to make the villain a goofy white guy. (I love you, Will, but you’re goofy as hell.) I’d wager this actor will be Asian, and the character will retain his roots of being Oroku Saki.
If they do decide to keep the Krang element in play here, that character will obviously be completely computer generated. (Unless you know of any alien brains looking for acting gigs.) Arnett has a great voice – he’s actually providing the voice of Lego Batman in the upcoming Lego animated film – so hearing him play a villain might be fun.
My guess? Arnett’s playing Stockman. He’d be perfect for the weaselly scientist who creates the Mousers (which might actually look pretty cool in live action if done correctly), and his relationship with April O’Neil from the original comics (she worked for him) could provide a nice organic reason to include this character in the movie.
Who would you like to see Arnett play in the Ninja Turtles movie? Are you excited about this project at all?
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