Yesterday we presented part one of Mania.com's interview with Kevin Eastman, co-creator of the 'Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles'. After reflecting back on the history of the Turtles and the classic cartoon which made them famous (and saw a new season released on DVD last week), Eastman now looks forward to the new movie, and drops names like Zack Snyder and Sam Rockwell.
Picking up where we left off, where Eastman had just commented on the bangup job done by director Kevin Munroe on the 2007 CGI feature 'TMNT'...
Mania: ...And now they're coming back again in a new live-action movie.
Eastman: Yeah. That looks cool.
I went to the Tribeca film festival to be with Steve Barron [director of the first movie] and they showed on the big screen the original 'Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles' movie to kick off the 25th anniversary. There was 3000 fans there and Steve and I and a couple other key players did introductions.
Then [producer] Scott Mednick announced they were beginning production on a new live-action. It's just too cool for school.
Mania: Can you tell us anything about that movie?
Eastman: I know they've talked about a number of different approaches but my guess is they'll try a reinvention of some kind. You look at movies like 'Iron Man' and 'Dark Knight', and what Chris Nolan has done – at least that would be my suggestions is to go back to square one and do a complete rebuild from the ground up, the original origin story, and roll it out that way.
Whatever they end up doing is up to them.
Mania: Do you know anything about director or writer attachments?
Eastman: I don't. I know that every time I've talked to [producer Galen Walker], there's part of him that wants to go back and talk to amazing guys like Steve Barron, to wanting to find completely new blood that might have been in grade school or high school when the first films came out.
Imagine Zack Snyder doing it. Not that he would or anything, but I think he's such a wonderful visionary. I think there's so many talented people out there I think they'll really have a plethora of people to choose from.
Mania: The cartoons are very family friendly and the comics are a little more edgy. Do you think the movie will maintain some of that edginess?
Eastman: I hope so. I really do. When I look back at the original comic series, it was really written edgy because Pete and I wrote and drew the kind of comic we liked to read. At the time we were mid-20s, so it was a lot edgier. I think in issue #2 we had the Turtles drinking beer.
When we worked on the animated series, it was the first time we really said, "We're now taking this idea and writing it down to a much more specific audience." We had full approval over everything that was done with the turtles at that time. So any changes that were made, whether it was softening up the origin story or changing the different color bandannas and that kind of stuff, either Peter and I came up with the idea or agreed to it.
When the first live-action movie came along what was cool is that we had the spectrum of the black-and-white edgy comics and the kids' animated series. Steve Barron said "Let's split it right up the middle and do one of those old Bugs Bunny cartoons," where it would have the sophistication and the parody and the inside jokes for the older audiences – "What Opera, Doc?" That kind of thing – but still had all the antics and stuff for kids. So we got something in there for both. If a parent has to sit through it two times with their kids at least it's not putting them to sleep.
Mania: For casting on the new movie, do you think Sam Rockwell will return?
Eastman: Dude, you know, he's one of my favorite actors. I had actually forgotten that he had one or two lines in the original movie. And somebody reminded me that Skeet Ulrich had a very small part in the original Turtle movie.
Mania: Did he really?
Eastman: Yeah. Actually, I think I was reading an article when Skeet made it big with the first 'Scream' movie, he mentioned that one of his first parts was a background character or a really minor role in the first one.
But Sam Rockwell I think is talented on a bazillion different levels. One of my favorites, you think from 'The Green Mile' to 'Galaxy Quest'. He's awesome. He really is.
And Elias Koteas. He was just one of those guys who has been in so many movies like 'Benjamin Button', but he's just done really bizarre, always cool, almost "Johnny Depp" in his selection of style characters he wants to play. But he was Casey Jones in the first and third Turtle movies. When I moved to L.A. 15 years or so ago, I remember joining this gym and seeing him jogging on the treadmill and it was like, "Oh my God! Casey!"
Season 7 of the classic 'Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles' cartoon is out on DVD now. Look for the heroes on the half-shell to return to the big screen in an all-new, live-action movie in 2011.