The Koalition Attends: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows Press Junket

Go ninja. Go ninja, Go.

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Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows is the action-packed sequel to the 2014 installment, which finds our boys: Michelangelo, Donatello, Leonardo and Raphael battle badder villains, alongside April O’Neil, Vern Fenwick, and a newcomer, Casey Jones.

In celebration of the latest installment, Paramount Pictures held a press junket featuring cast members: Megan Fox, Will Arnett, Stephen Amell, Tyler Perry, Stephen Farrelly, Gary Anthony Williams, Brian Tee, Noel Fisher, Pete Ploszek and Jeremy Howard. Alongside crew members: Dave Green (Director), Josh Appelbaum (Screenwriter), Andre Nemec (Screenwriter), Andrew Form (Producer) and Brad Fuller (Producer).

The filmmakers knew they had to raise the stakes in the second movie from the localized destruction of New York City to global annihilation, paving the way to incorporate fan favorite characters that had yet to appear on film.

Producer Andrew Form saw the sequel as an opportunity to create something new and exciting for both new and die-hard fans.

Our story begins where the first film ends, in real life and in the movie. When you take on a franchise with so much history, you have a lot to draw from. But you don’t want to tell the same stories that have already been told before. We always want to keep it fresh.

We it came time to plan out the sequel, the creative team turned to the fans, according to  producer Brad Fuller.

We listened to the fans and they were not shy. After the first movie they told us exactly what they were looking for from a second movie, and we were on the same page. They wanted to see characters and story elements we tried to include in the first film but couldn’t properly address, so we made it a priority to include them this time. This the first time we’ll see Baxter Stockman, Krang, Bebop, and Rocksteady in a film, and it was exciting to help bring those characters to life.

After Shredder escapes police custody, the turtles find a new way ally in corrections officer turned hockey masked vigilante Casey Jones, played by Arrow‘s Stephen Amell. Known around the world, Stephen Amell is used to playing anti-heroes.

I like playing a character that is on the razor’s edge, prone to temper tantrums. But he’s also a fun-loving guy. He’s closer to my personality than other characters I’ve played. When we meet Casey in the movie, he’s a corrections officer with aspiration of becoming a detective. He doesn’t want to be a vigilante carrying a hockey stick — he’s forced into it.

Newcomer Tyler Perry wanted to be in a movie his son would enjoy. A fan of the franchise, Perry jumped at the offer to play Baxter Stockman, Shredder’s unappreciated ally.

Perry enjoyed giving the character an entire persona of his own, from his walk and voice to his mousy mannerisms; Perry pushed his character far beyond what was on the page. Perry stated:

The thing I love the most about this character is that he does all the work, but he’s completely ignored and underserved. I can relate to that, growing up as an underdog, so I immediately sparked to him. The opportunity to play a mad scientist who becomes even madder was a lot of fun. he starts off as a not so bad guy but becomes one of the worst guys.

Stephen “Sheamus” Farrelly, who recently celebrated his sixth year with the WWE, watched wrestling as a boy and dreamt of becoming one of its superstars. Similarly, he watched Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles every afternoon, not realizing he would one day be the living embodiment of one of his favorite animated characters.

It’s amazing to be part of this. I was a huge fan of the cartoon, and the villains in particular. There is so much depth to all the characters, even Bebop and Rocksteady, who don’t have a clue what’s going on and are more of a hindrance to Shredder than anything else.

Farrelly was one of the first in line to see the movie in 2014, but he’s been patiently waiting since then for more villains to make and appearance. It is no exaggeration to say that he leapt at the chance to audition for the role of Rocksteady.

Farrelly continued with,

I literally jumped in the car and drove from Tampa to Orlando. I had this Mohawk, so I spiked it up like a horn, threw on all the gear, the combats, everything reminiscent about the character from what I remembered, and tried to make the dialogue as close to the character as possible. When Andrew Form asked me if I wanted to be part of the movie, I said, ‘Of course! Are you mad?! Where do I go? When do I start?’ How could you turn down an opportunity like that? It’s a dream come true.

When director Dave Green first started the movie, ILM visual effects supervisor Pablo Helman showed him an immense power point tutorial that took him through the technology used for the firs film. A combination of motion capture shot on-set and motion capture shot on a stage in tandem with animation. In this second installment of the franchise, the filmmakers were determined to shoot as much in camera as possible.

Speaking about his team, creator Kevin Marte called them “so gifted and passionate when it comes to tweaking and bending the intention of the actor’s live performance to add a little something extra. It’s the glint on the eye, or the curve of a smile that takes the performance to the next level.”

Audience feedback from the first movie included commentary about the Turtles’ overall look. After some fans commented the design of the Turtles looked too mean or scary, the filmmakers made subtle changes, softening their teeth and jaw lines, and even changing the cut of their bandanas.

Helman explained,

The Turtles have grown up and changed a bit. Their overall design has changed in very subtle ways. We learn a lot working on the first film, discovering their characters and what makes them appealing and advanced in performance capture technology allowed the finished characters to be a lot more faithful to the actors’ performances.

The cast’s familiarity with the technology helped the cast ease back into characters. “Playing Mikey in this movie is a lot easier,” says Noel Fisher. “it’s one thing to see pictures of the Turtles, but it’s a completely different experience to watch your character and the amazingly detailed facial and body movements. You can approach your performance from a more informed place.”

To check out more of the press junket, including Tyler Perry discussing never receiving a script, Sheamus’ WWE work schedule and taking on Stephen Amell in the WWE ring, how the Fast and Furious team created the special effects, and Will Arnett cracking jokes, watch the video above and listen to the junket in full below.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows are in theaters now.

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Dana Abercrombie Content Writer
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