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Exclusive: “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” director weighs in on alien uproar and Michael Bay’s comments

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Everyone’s favorite heroes in a half-shell have been all over the news lately, thanks to a comment from Michael Bay indicating that the stars of the upcoming, live-action “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” movie would be aliens instead of reptiles mutated by radioactive ooze.

The online uproar prompted Bay himself to tell TMNT fans to “take a breath and chill” after the online dialogue got hotter than Raphael’s temper in no time at all.

Offering yet another perspective on the controversy is “Wrath of the Titans” director Jonathan Liebesman, who will be the man behind the camera when the rebooted “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” begins filming. During today’s press junket for “Wrath of the Titans,” Liebesman reassured TMNT fans that the film will remain faithful to Leonardo, Donatello, and the rest of the Turtles — due in no small part to the involvement of TMNT co-creator Kevin Eastman.

“I thought it was incredible to see how passionate the fans are,” he told IFC of his thoughts on the TMNT madness gripping the Internet. “To me, that is awesome — to be working on something where there’s so much passion. I missed a lot of it, because I’ve been stuck in a room with Kevin Eastman, the guy who drew the very first Turtle.”

“We’re sort of working away at the story and the mythology with the writers, Andre [Nemec] and Josh [Appelbaum], and all I can say is that if you’re a fan of the Turtles, you’re going to love what we’re coming up with,” he said. “A lot of the stuff comes from ideas Kevin has had that he never had a chance to do in the way that we’re going to be able to do things, because Paramount is allowing us a great budget and stuff like that.”

While he couldn’t go into details about what Bay’s comment meant for the Turtles and how their origin story will play into the film, Liebesman reiterated that everything will be tied into the original mythology of the TMNT universe.

“It’s not fair to just take some comments out of context and go crazy, but I totally understand and really appreciate the passion, and I can’t wait for those exact people to see what we’re doing,” he said. “Because the stuff I see that Kevin’s coming up with, the ideas… As someone who grew up with the Turtles and loved them, I think it’s awesome.”

Liebesman also emphasized the part Eastman is playing in the film’s development, and why it’s not just an advisory role for the Turtles’ co-creator.

“What was important to me was to ask, ‘Kevin, when you created these characters and did these things, why did you make these decisions?'” he explained. “So any expansion on that universe comes from that exact same place. I don’t want to put anything in the movie that’s not coming from the exact same sentiment that created the Turtles or created any mythology around them. That is why anything we do is going to tie back into the mythology people love. It’s all coming from that same place.”

So there you have it, TMNT fans, straight from the director of the “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” reboot himself.

Keep an eye on IFC.com for more from the “Wrath of the Titans” press junket, including a preview of what you can expect to see when Perseus returns to the big screen and takes on the massive Titans and a host of other nasty creatures from Greek mythology.

Do Liebesman’s comments make you feel any different about the “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” movie? Chime in below or on Facebook or Twitter.

Fred Armisen and Bill Hader as Blue Jean Committee

Sowing Their Oates

Watch Blue Jean Committee Talk About Their Old Pals Hall and Oates

Fred Armisen and Bill Hader made a smooth video for Hall & Oates.

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Kings of the “Yacht Rock” genre Daryl Hall and John Oates are kicking off a slew of tour dates this summer in an effort to raise the nation’s median concertgoer age by at least 30 years. And to announce their soon-to-be onslaught of blue-eyed soul jams, Hall & Oates have enlisted fellow “Mavens of Mellow” the Blue Jean Committee from IFC’s Documentary Now!. Reprising their laid back musical personas, Bill Hader and Fred Armisen reflected on the history between the two groups in a new video announcing the tour.

“What do you think of when you think of the Seventies? When you think of beautiful harmonies, you think of a duo who sing together to make hit songs. You think of the Blue Jean Committee and that’s who we are,” Armisen remarks. Hader continues, “Who you think of fifth, or maybe eighth, is Daryl Hall and John Oates. You know who used to open for us? Who we used to kick around? Daryl Hall and John Oates!” Strong words. Strong, smooth words.

Be sure to catch Hall & Oates on tour and check back for updates on Documentary Now! season two coming later this year.  For more Bill and Fred, check out the complete Documentary Now! archive, listen to music from the show, and watch full episodes right now on IFC.com and the IFC app.

Michael Bay tells “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” fans to “take a breath, and chill”

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Only a day after the Internet went nuts over Michael Bay‘s comment regarding turning the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles into aliens in the upcoming remake of the classic story, the “Transformers” director has issued a response to the fan uproar.

“Fans need to take a breath, and chill,” he wrote in the comments section of his website. “They have not read the script. Our team is working closely with one of the original creators of Ninja Turtles to help expand and give a more complex back story. Relax, we are including everything that made you become fans in the first place. We are just building a richer world.”

Our first response: If anyone but Michael Bay had said that, we might believe him. But since this is the man who gave us the universally hated jive-talking Autobot twins in “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen,” we’ll err on the side of skepticism. While we will agree that we have not read the script and that the pissed off fans should take a chill pill or a thousand, for some reason the idea of turning our favorite mutant turtles into aliens to build “a richer world” doesn’t really sit well with us.

The original quote reads as follows:

“When you see this movie, kids are going to believe one day that these turtles do exist, when we are done with this movie,” he said. “These turtles are from an alien race, and they’re going to be tough, edgy, funny and completely lovable.”

Do you want Bay tinkering with the “Turtles” source material? Tell us in the comments section below or on Facebook and Twitter.

Michael Bay will turn the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles into aliens for upcoming reboot

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If you thought that Michael Bay’s treatment of the Transformers’ universe was frustrating, wait until you hear what he has planned for the world of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

During the Nickelodeon Upfront presentation in New York last week, Bay spoke briefly about his studio’s take on the ol’ Heroes in a Half-Shell, which are scheduled to get a big-screen reboot next year. Apparently, the plan is to make the heroes into aliens, and…

Wait, what? Yes, you read that correctly. According to Bay, instead of being mutated turtles (hence the “Mutant” part of their name), the Ninja Turtles will be aliens.

Here’s what Bay had to say about the project during his presentation (with the money quote in bold, and the video embedded at the end of this post):

When you see this movie, kids are going to believe one day that these turtles do exist, when we are done with this movie,” he said. These turtles are from an alien race, and they’re going to be tough, edgy, funny and completely lovable.

The new film is expected to hit theaters in December 2013, with “Wrath of the Titans” director Jonathan Liebesman named as the man behind the camera for the Turtles’ reboot just last month. “Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol” screenwriters Josh Applebaum and Andre Nemec provided the latest script for the film.

Given the Turtles’ origin as a hard-edged, graphic comic book series created by Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird in the mid-’80s, their evolution into a wildly popular, kid-friendly animated series in 1987 was a bit of a surprise to fans — but Bay’s take on the Turtles could present an even bigger shift, if his synopsis rings true for next year’s reboot.

If nothing else, it could mean that the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles will become the Teenage Alien Ninja Turtles — which doesn’t have quite the same ring to it.


Michael Bay talks Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles by stuffwelike

What do you think of Michael Bay’s plans for the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles? Chime in below or on Facebook or Twitter.

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