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Director Jonathan Liebesman On Teenage Ninja Turtles-Gate: "Fans Will Go Apeshit When They See It"

by Edward Davis
March 23, 2012 4:05 PM
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"Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles"-gate 2012 has literally knocked a nation and generation of TMNT fans -- who grew up with the unassailable classic 1990 film "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" and the also the nearly unimpeachable 2007 film, "TMNT" -- for a loop when the shocking revelation was made that the new live-action movie adaptation of 'TMNT,' produced by Michael Bay's Platinum Dunes shingle, would no longer feature once-ordinary turtles living in the sewers who mutated into intelligent, human-sized creatures by a discarded canister of toxic waste.

Instead, their aims would be similar -- anthropomorphic turtles, trained by their rat sensei in the art of ninjutsu to fight crime -- but their origins would be radically changed. They would now be reconstituted as an alien race who presumably lands on Earth at some point. “These turtles are from an alien race, and they’re going to be tough, edgy, funny, and completely lovable," Michael Bay boasted earlier in March at a Nickelodeon upfront about his company's reboot direction of the series. What Bay probably didn't prepare for were the waves of fan outcry. Perhaps the most outraged and vocal comment came from Robbie Rist, who voiced Michelangelo in the original live-action movie. He called the announcement, "the rape of our childhood memories."

Strong words, but the emotions are running high. A "stop Michael Bay"/"keep the turtles terrestrial" petition has already been created. And fans have even started posted the # of the William Morris Agency (which represents Bay and Platinum Dunes) in various comments sections of the Internet (including ours) urging them to call and dispute the direction the film is taking (for a taste of the vitriol and animus, just check out our comments section).

But did Micheal Bay help things when he urged fervent 'TMNT' fans to essentially take a chill pill? Probably not. Now director-to-be Jonathan Liebesman, the filmmaker behind "Battle Los Angeles," "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning" and the upcoming "Wrath of the Titans" has urged fans to sit tight because what he and producers have planned could kick your ass.

"I heard about [the fan outcry], and I'm glad there's such a passionate fanbase," he told Coming Soon this week. "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 apeshit when they see it."

So, please disperse, there is nothing to see here? Or is this just lip service. Ok, in all honesty, we had no clue this was going to matter so much. OK, Generation X & Y. It's your move.

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  • Turdmidget | May 4, 2012 2:38 AMReply

    Come on, it's Michael Bay. Even if he sticks to the story, even if he remains as true to the original comics as possible, it's still going to suck donkey balls. This is the guy who managed to make the Transformers boring. Skip it, let it tank, and wait for the next TMNT movie.

  • Brandon | April 18, 2012 3:18 PMReply

    this movie is gonna be so stupid. :(

  • Dan | March 24, 2012 5:49 PMReply

    lets be honest, a faithful adaptation wasn't going to save this movie.

  • alish | March 23, 2012 11:33 PMReply

    Thanks for linking me to the petition. I'm not obsessed with this franchise but I was a fan as a kid and this makes the concept a lot less interesting.

  • mpbstereo | March 23, 2012 5:02 PMReply

    To be fair, if Eastman's involved, then I'll temper my, well, temper.

    It does occur to me that there is a way that "extraterrestrial origin" could fit in with established mythology - the ooze itself that transformed the 4 turtles. I don't see why THAT in particular couldn't be established as being extraterrestrial (Venom symbiote, anyone?)

  • it could be | March 23, 2012 5:00 PMReply


  • tristan eldritch | March 23, 2012 4:37 PMReply

    You know, it does kinda ruin the concept.

  • bigkid | March 23, 2012 4:15 PMReply

    Now that they're aliens, will it still be called "Teenage MUTANT Ninja Turtles"?

  • cbraun4u | March 23, 2012 6:57 PM

    @BIGKID No. They, unfortunately, changed that too. It'll just be called Teenage Ninja Turtles.

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