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.

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Documentary Now! Robert Evans Mansion

The Reel Deal

Everything You Need To Know About “Mr. Runner Up” Inspiration Robert Evans

Watch the two-part finale of Documentary Now! this Wednesday at 10P on IFC.

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Photo Credit: Everett Collection

In its upcoming two-part finale, Documentary Now! spoofs the crown jewel of docs: The Kid Stays In The Picture. It’s the autobiographical documentary about Robert Evans, the unlikely Hollywood mogul whose mix of self-aggrandizing bravado, classic good looks and extremely circumstantial good luck took him from being a salesman to an actor to the head of Paramount Pictures.

If you’ve never seen the film, it’s totally worth it. Rotten Tomatoes agrees, with a staggeringly-high approval rating. Watch it before, or watch it after — doesn’t matter. You’ll appreciate it whenever.

In the meantime, here’s a bit of background that will come in handy…

Robert Loves Robert

Robert Evans desk

USA Films/Everett Collection

Robert Evans is the ultimate Robert Evans fan. The movie was written, produced, directed and narrated by Robert Evans. It is totally unbiased.

He’s Kind Of A Big Deal

Robert Evans, Chinatown
Paramount Pictures

Evans produced some of Hollywood’s true classics: Chinatown, Rosemary’s Baby, The Godfather, Love Story…the list goes on. Totally legit and amazing movies.

He’s Also Kind Of A Joke

Wag The Dog
New Line Cinema

Evans has been parodied in TV shows and movies like Entourage and Wag The Dog. He is the quintessential “producer” you already have in your head.

So Wrong He’s Right

Robert Evans Slap
20th Century Film Corp

Robert Evans is a notorious narcissist whose love of self is so blind and sincere that it’s actually adorable.

There’s Something Missing

via Giphy

Entire sections of Robert Evans’ life are left out of the documentary. Maybe it’s because of timing. Maybe it’s because real life isn’t a tidy narrative. Who knows.

He Blew It

Spider coke

Evans had a pretty spectacular fall from grace. He was convicted of cocaine trafficking in the early 80’s, and was connected to a contract killing during the production of The Cotton Club. Oops.

Losing Is For Losers

Everett Collection
Everett Collection

In the Robert Evans mythology, all tragedies are just triumphs in disguise, and every story has a happy ending…for Robert Evans.

Bill Hader Jerry Wallach

With these simple facts in hand you are now prepared to thoroughly enjoy the two-part finale of Documentary Now! starting this Wednesday at 10/9c on IFC.

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Weird Roles

Anthony Michael Hall’s Most Rotten Movies

Catch Anthony Michael Hall in Weird Science on Friday at 8P on IFC.

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Photo Credit: Universal/Everett Collection

Anthony Michael Hall was the quintessential ’80s nerd. We love him in classics like The Breakfast Club and National Lampoon’s Vacation. But even the brainiest among us has his weak spots. In honor of Weird Science airing this Rotten Friday, we analyze Hall’s worst movies.

Weird Science (1985) 56%

A low point for John Hughes, Weird Science is way too wacky for its own good. Anthony Michael Hall’s Gary and his pal Wyatt (Ilan Mitchell-Smith) create the “perfect woman.” Supernatural chaos ensues. The film costars a young Bill Paxton, floppy disks, and a general disconnect from all reality.

The Caveman’s Valentine (2001) 46%

This ambitious drama starring Samuel L. Jackson couldn’t live up to its rich premise. Jackson plays Romulus, a Juilliard-educated, paranoid schizophrenic who lives in a cave. Hall co-stars as Bob, a rich man, who wants to see Romulus play the piano. The plot centers around Romulus investigating a murder, but with so much going on, the movie never quite finds its rhythm.

All About the Benjamins (2002) 30%

Ice Cube plays a bounty hunter who teams up with Mike Epps’ con man to catch diamond thieves. Hall plays Lil J, a small-time drug dealer. It’s definitely a role we’ve never seen Hall in, but overall the movie isn’t funny or original enough to justify its violence.

Freddy Got Fingered (2001) 11%

This showcase for Tom Green’s goofy gross-out comedy is often hailed as one of the worst films of all time. Green plays Gord, a 20-something slacker, who dreams of having his own animated series. Hall is Dave Davidson, a CEO of an animation studio who eventually helps Gord find success. Too bad Tom Green wasn’t so lucky.

Johnny Be Good (1988) 0%

Hall plays against type as Johnny Walker, a star quarterback. Robert Downey Jr. is his best friend and Uma Thurman plays his devoted girlfriend. Despite the support of a future A-list cast, the movie lacks central conflict and charm. Or, as TV Guide put it, “Johnny be worthless.” Ouch.

Catch the “Too Rotten to Miss” Weird Science this Friday at 8P on IFC.

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Season 6: Episode 1: Pickathon

Binge Fest

Portlandia Season 6 Now Available On DVD

The perfect addition to your locally-sourced, artisanal DVD collection.

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End of summer got you feeling like:

Portlandia Toni Screaming GIF

Ease into fall with Portlandia‘s sixth season. Relive the latest exploits of Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein’s cast of characters, including Doug and Claire’s poignant breakup, Lance’s foray into intellectual society, and the terrifying rampage of a tsukemen Noodle Monster! Plus, guest stars The Flaming Lips, Glenn Danzig, Louis C.K., Kevin Corrigan, Zoë Kravitz, and more stop by to experience what Portlandia is all about.

Pick up a copy of the DVD today, or watch full episodes and series extras now on IFC.com and the IFC app.

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