Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Sparring with the Sensei with Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles' Eric Bauza!

COWABUNGA! The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles return in Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Nickelodeon's brand-new 2D-animated series which reimagines the characters in a fresh new way, premiering Monday, September 17 at 6:30 p.m. (ET/PT) on Nickelodeon USA, and to celebrate, The Beat's AJ Frost has unveiled a Turtley Awesome interview with Eric Bauza, the voice of Splinter on Rise of the TMNT, which you can check out below!:

At San Diego Comic Con earlier this year, I had the opportunity to interview some of the cast of Nickelodeon’s newest iteration of everyone’s favorite terrapin protectors of New York City. The way things work in the press room though is that everyone is only given a limited amount of time, so a lot of questions are left unasked. This year was no exception. And with the launch of Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles on Nick imminent, there was so much more about the show that needed to be explored. I’m thankful, however, that recently, I was fortunate enough to spend some time recently with one of the cast members to delve further into the mechanics of creating a voice for a much-beloved animated character.

Indeed, chatting with the endlessly talented and witty Eric Bauza is a delight. Fans of the franchise will know of Bauza’s role as Tiger Claw (and others) in the CGI-iteration of the Ninja Turtles that debuted in 2012. For the upcoming Rise series (which transitioned back to 2D animation), Bauza takes on a much more pivotal role as none other than Master Splinter, the Turtles’ adopted father and mentor. I began our interview by asking Eric, who is an OG fan of the Turtles from the early days, what it means to go from simply watching the Turtles to becoming a critical member its lore.

AJ FROST: Hey Eric. So nice to chat with you today. The first item I wanted to talk to about is simply: What is your feeling about playing Master Splinter at this interesting time in Ninja Turtle history? Because we’re coming off the run of a successful iteration of the franchise (that you were also involved in) and now starting a new one. Can you describe your thoughts about taking over the mantle of this significant character role in this new show?

ERIC BAUZA: To sum it up in one word: excited! Being able to be part of an already successful version of the show was one thing, but getting to come back to play one of the most iconic good guys in animation history (for a change) was so cool and a dream come true.

FROST: What do the Ninja Turtles mean to you—as a fan and as someone who grew up watching the original animated show—to now not only be a part of the show, but to be the voice of a character that kids and adults will remember for a long time to come?

Master Splinter as he appears in “Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.” Courtesy of Nickelodeon.

BAUZA: I just feel that ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ are four words that should never have been together in a sentence. But it just works, even though it’s one of the strangest ideas. I’ve talked to Kevin Eastman [co-creator of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles] about it. I asked him: ‘Did you ever think, thirty-plus years later, that you would still be sitting here talking about these characters you created?’ And he said: ‘No. It was just a shot in the dark and, for some odd reason, people just latched onto the show.’ There aren’t a lot of shows out there that have stood the test of time as this series has. Growing up and watching it in its original run, and then being a part of this history only decades later, means such a great deal to me.

FROST: Does it blow your mind that, not only are you part of this new Turtles show but that you have Rob Paulsen [original voice of Raphael] working as the voice director? Is there a surreal element of not only acting on this version of the Ninja Turtles, but also working with one of the original vocal creators?

Eric Bauza. Photo by Gage Skidmore.

BAUZA: It’s unbelievable that this is Rob’s first time out as the voice over director. He’s doing an amazing job. And who better to give the approval of these performances than someone who was there at the beginning?

FROST: Did you read the comics growing up?

BAUZA: I did, but I wasn’t into them as much as my brother was. The comics were definitely around the house and we had some of the original first issues of these black and white comics. But to see where the Turtles have to from those original, simple pen and ink drawings… there’s a new coat of paint on these characters and the fans are in for a real rollercoaster ride.

FROST: Did you feel there was like a bit of a disconnect between the grittiness of those original comics versus fun of the cartoon? Or was it more like you could understand that the comics were only one version of the characters and the cartoons were a different version, but you could enjoy them both?

BAUZA: I feel that it is one of those weird happenings where, yes, the franchise can get gritty, but it can also exist as a preschool show. We did a Ninja Turtles one-off show [Blast from the Past] that still worked even though [it was created for young audiences]. We had these pre-teen Turtles (they were like, 12 years old) and these pre-teen versions of the bad guys and it still worked. For some odd reason, these characters work in that context or as part of a big-budget film with Michael Bay attached to it. It’s still something that people flock to the theater to see.

FROST: Moving on from the Turtles for just a brief second, I wanted to ask you a little bit about your background in animation. When you started out your career, did you think that voice acting would be the primary avenue for you in animation or what is something you found yourself doing through circumstance?

BAUZA: I feel a little bit of Column A and a little bit of Column B. I knew that I wanted to do voices, but I didn’t know how to get into it at the time. And I thought being around people who make cartoons would be a surefire way to getting a shot at voicing a cartoon. I didn’t go to school for dramatic arts, so I had to learn on the job. It was tough at the start because I was starting to work with people who had been doing this work for generations. I learned from them. I am where I am today because of the people that I grew up watching on TV. I’m lucky now to call them friends. It’s surreal to me.

Master Splinter in “Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.” Courtesy of Nickelodeon.

FROST: And your first major role was Stimpy in the reboot of Ren and Stimpy?

BAUZA: Right! I had the opportunity to voice Stimpy, who I put up there with the all-time greats like Bugs Bunny, Popeye, Mickey Mouse. He was a very iconic character for Nickelodeon and set the standard for art in general. For me, Billy West will always be Stimpy. I just got to step in for just a couple episodes of a very different show.

FROST: Your path has really been quite interesting to follow because from that Stimpy role, a cursory glance at your IMDb shows that you’ve voiced hundreds of characters. At this moment in your career, where do you see your trajectory going in the next five years or so? And I ask this of someone who’s had the opportunity to give voice to all classic Warner Bros. characters to Nickelodeon staples through the Ninja Turtles and beyond.

BAUZA: I’m pretty happy where I am right now. But one day, I would love to run my own show. I have a couple ideas that I’ve been thinking about how. I still like to draw, not professionally, just for myself. My dream would be to run a show, but that is definitely a big task. I see the people who are doing it now and it’s like they are back in college: up at all hours to make sure that their show is done right. I feel that that would be something that would take me away from voiceover for a bit. But I don’t know if I’m ready for that. I kinda like coming to work in my pajamas [Laughs].

FROST: Going back to the Turtles for a moment. How did you find the voice for this version of Master Splinter? We talked about how you’ve been a fan of the franchise since the beginning. So how did you create a voice that was unique to your own your own sensibilities but also carried the legacy of all these previous iterations of the character? And how did you make it sound fresh for this new audience?

The Mutated Gang is back for more hijinks! Courtesy of Nickelodeon.

BAUZA: It all comes down to the writing and how the writers want to portray the character. [Show creators] Andy Suriano and Ant Ward had a specific vision for Splinter. And I feel that when viewers see Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, it’s a bit like a reboot, not just of the show, but of the characters themselves, including Master Splinter! We’re exploring the characters before they become full-fledged ninjas, before they truly find their way. And I think this goes with Master Splinter as well. In a sense, we’ve all grown to know this stoic character with a few moments of comedy. In this reimagining, he’s more aloof and comedic and when he’s a bit more serious and stern, that’s when he catches you. That’s when it means the most to him.

FROST: What do you think will surprise older fans of the Turtles with this show and this version of Master Splinter? What will surprise viewers checking out the Turtles for the first time?

BAUZA: That they’re still going to love it. Even though it’s different, it’s still very familiar. We don’t go too far so that you’re abandoned by the characters, but far enough that we tease you in a way: ‘Where will this character end up as we know him today?’ It gives viewers something to latch on to as far as the feeling of: ‘We’ve seen these characters many, many times before. Give us something new!’

FROST: Any final thoughts?

BAUZA: That I’m excited to be going to work whenever they call me to do this character! But also, going into the toy aisle of a department store and seeing Master Splinter on the shelf is a surreal experience having collected all the original action figures from the first run and knowing that it’s my thumbprint on the character. It’s amazing and all my appreciation goes to the fans. Without them, why would we be making this show in the first place?


Also, from Collider:

Eric Bauza on ‘Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ and Nick’s New Take on Splinter

Tonight, Nickelodeon will premiere a new take on the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles unlike anything you’ve seen before. This new series, Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, is kinetic, hyper-colorful, and downright hilarious even while amping up the martial arts action fans have come to know and love from the franchise. Make no mistake though, this version of the Heroes in a Half-Shell are more light-hearted and fun-focused than ever before, which isn’t a bad thing; even the original comics themselves were a satire of other grim-dark comics stories of their time. So if you’re open to a new take on an iconic property, I think you’ll have a blast with Rise.

But it’s not just the Turtles who are new and improved this time around; Master Splinter also gets an interesting makeover. Be prepared for a very different take on the Turtles teacher and father figure, voiced exceptionally (and hilariously) well by voice-acting veteran Eric Bauza. I had a chance to chat with Bauza (over virtual pizza) about his new TMNT character, what has impressed him about the series so far, and taking direction from living legend Rob Paulsen. Be sure to read to the end to find out what other iconic characters Bauza voices!

Before we got into the conversation about Rise of the TMNT, Bauza—in his Splinter voice, of course—revealed that the iconic character’s go-to pizza order is “California roll and chocolate Rocky Road ice cream, on the same slice. He’s very time conscientious, so if you could jam in the meal—the entrée and the dessert all in one—that’s the kind of Master Splinter we’re dealing with here.”

Image via Nickelodeon

What was your first introduction to ‘TMNT’?

Eric Bauza: The very first character I ever played on any version of the show was a bad guy by the name of Tiger Claw. He was an original character in the 2012 run of the Ninja Turtles. I don’t think he was supposed to be on for more than an episode, and they just kind of kept him on as one of Shredder’s go-to henchmen. He was pretty popular with the fans.

Fast-forward to 2018 and the next wave of the Ninja Turtles and I get to play a good guy for a change. My first exposure to this version of Splinter was an image, from Andy Suriano–one of the executive producers and showrunners of this show–showed me, and I was just taken by this new, rather pudgy, kind of cute gerbil-looking kind of rat. I was up for the challenge of creating something new.

What did you like about Splinter from the way he was written and what did you add to the character?

Bauza: He’s definitely back to a smaller rat. The last version we saw a very tall, stoic, kind of statuesque kind of Splinter, but now he’s back down to size. The Turtles are definitely bigger than their dad. In this version, he’s kind of more whimsical, more of a “drunken master” type approach to this character, as opposed to stern and serious. Before he was very stoic and every now and then he’d drop a joke or “make a funny”; this time around, he’s all laughs. When he’s more serious is when he catches you off guard.

Were you a fan of the original comics or the 80s cartoon at all?

Bauza: Yeah, my brother actually was into the comics, so I wuld have those lying around the house in the late 80s and early 90s. And, of course, the animated show, who didn’t love that theme song? Having grown up with it at such an early age and getting to see it as an adult, and to be a part of it is just a dream come true for me.

Image via Nickelodeon

What can you tease about Splinter’s part in the story as the series continues?

Bauza: I feel like he’s definitely trying to protect them every step of the way, even if it doesn’t seem like he’s 100% there. Also, as much as we’re looking at the Turtles, we’re also looking back t the characters who surround them, like Splinter, his past. I don’t want to spoil anything so you’ll just have to see how he ends up.

Were there any references you pulled from for Splinter?

Bauza: I would say he’s a mixture of Mr. Miyagi and Danny DeVito. ::laughs:: And if that rat were to exist, he went to college with Yoda. He’s like that weird, aloof teacher who teaches you the clues, and then later on you discover what he was trying to get across. I believe that’s what we’re trying to get across with this Splinter. I think fans of the sci-fi genre and action-comedy will grow to appreciate this guy.

What stood out to you as being different with this series during production?

Bauza: All throughout I was just so taken by the look of the show. I knew that Ant Ward and Andy Suriano had something good cooking. Ant has been a part of the TMNT series since 2012, and Andy is also a comic book artist, and we all know TMNT originated as a comic book first. It’s kind of looking like a comic book that moves. I used to do character layout art for animation, so I really appreciate strong, solid poses in cartoons, and this delivers on all pistons.

Do you have a favorite Turtle from the show?

Bauza: (In Splinter’s voice) Whoever brings me food first is my favorite.

How about a favorite villain?

Bauza: From the past, Rocksteady and Bebop were always fun in the original run of the series. Villains of the present, Baron Draxum is definitely someone you do not want to mess with. He’s also … for someone who is so villainous but still has a comedic side; there are some pretty funny moments that he gets to have as a bad guy in the very first episode.

Image via Nickelodeon

Did you get to act with the other cast members or was it a solo effort?

Bauza: More often than not we were all in the room together if our schedules permit that, but sometimes I will find myself acting just with the voice director, Rob Paulsen, which isn’t a bad thing either.

Have you worked with Rob Paulsen before?

Bauza: I stepped into the booth with him for the very first time on the Nickelodeon show The Fairly Odd Parents. I couldn’t believe that I was sharing booth time with one of, who I consider, a living legend as far as voice artists are concerned. And he’s been nothing but generous and encouraging and kind, not just to me but anyone else he sees as up-and-coming. ::laughs:: I can’t even call myself that anymore; I’ve been doing this for quite some time now. I still feel like every day is the first day, which is cool.

How has your experience been under his direction?

Bauza: Well, I’m pretty thrilled that I get to be one of the first actors he directs as a first-time voice director, having been a voiceover artist for over 30 years. Getting to see him as a director is pretty cool because he’s going off of every instinct that he has being on the same side of the glass that I’m on, but now he gets to interpret that with the help of writers, producers, and be an overall storyteller, which I feel like, after being an actor for 30 years, has to rub off on you and influence you. I’m sure that he’s even thrilled to be a part of it.

There’s an intense amount of energy in the premiere. What was it like in the booth to keep that energy and camaraderie up?

Bauza: I feel like the chemistry that the four brothers have is just there. Again, these guys are trained actors; they know characters. We all have known these guys for 30 years—Mikey, Donnie, Raph, and Leo—so they bring their instincts to the characters and the chemistry is there.

Image via Nickelodeon

What’s your advice to fans who are maybe judging the show too quickly before they’ve had a chance to enjoy it?

Bauza: I got to witness watching the first episode with the cast at this past Comic-Con in San Diego. I think everyone in that room was pretty shocked at what they saw. I think they were not expecting to like it as much as they did and I feel like Andy and Ant delivered a really tight, action-packed comedy show that you wouldn’t expect from something like Ninja Turtles. I feel like the audience today knows more than the people who are making the show; I feel like they want to be treated to something different whether they know it or not. Some people have definitely made their concerns clear, like, “Oh no, you’re changing this, you’re changing that.” And then they watched it. And I’ve got to tell you, I knew they were going to like it, but to see that actually happening, to see the fans fall in love with it after the first episode is something else. And it really does say a lot about the storytellers involved.

Just give it a shot. The first five to ten minutes should definitely have you hooked. Then, at the end of the first episode, there’s an amazing action scene. I think it rivals anything that’s in the feature films as far as production, quality, pacing, just the overall energy is up there, it’s relentless, it does not give up.

Were there any martial arts references for each of the characters?

Bauza: As far as the different fighting styles, it leaks into who they are, their personalities. Raph is definitely compared to like a street brawler and his physicality plays into it. Donnie, as we all know, is a tech-head, so a lot of his fighting comes from his technology; he’s a softshell turtle, so he has this cool turtle-shell backpack that pops out all sorts of gadgets. Mikey is seen here as more of an artist; I think he’s more of a freestyle fighter. Leo, although he’s taking a back seat for this leg of the journey, the question is whether he’ll rise to the occasion and take over that leadership role. Who knows!

What are you hoping audiences get out of Rise of TMNT?

Bauza: Just the overall sense of family. At the end of the day, these are four brothers with their single rat dad ::laughs:: and they’re trying to get through life and have as much fun doing it, while protecting the city of New York. I feel like it’s everything you know, just with a bit of a twist, a bit of a remix. Who doesn’t like remixes?

What can you say about this version of April?

Bauza: She is definitely not shy. She definitely will not shy away from a fight. She’s almost the person who starts the fight, in this instance; there is no damsel in distress here. She’s just a buttkicker like her Turtle brothers. It’s a nice, refreshing take on the character we all know, and Kat Graham does a very good job voicing her.

What other projects are you working on that you’d like to tease for our readers?

Bauza: Aside from Rise getting picked up for a second season, I’m on a show for a neighboring network. I play Fozzie Bear on Muppet Babies and that just got picked up for a second season. (In Fozzie’s voice) “Ah wocka wocka! Definitely a show I can watch with my son, huh?” And the next wave of Looney Tunes is coming, and I’m getting to play some of, I think, animation’s most iconic characters: Tweety, Daffy, and Bugs. So I couldn’t be happier these days.

Bauza left us with one final piece of advice from Master Splinter:

“Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles premieres tonight, Monday, September 17th at 6:30pm only on Nickelodeon! Watch it!”


Also, from TV Insider:

“We wanted to have something strikingly different and unique,” executive producer Ant Ward says. “‘Fun’ was the marching order we gave ourselves.”

“There is a lot of failing up for us to move forward to becoming the Turtles everybody knows,” says Omar Miller, who voices Raphael. Guess you could say they “cowa-bungle” a few missions!


Also, via The A.V. Club:

Ben Schwartz and Kat Graham on Rise Of The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and the perfect reboot

On September 17, Nickelodeon will debut Rise Of The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, the latest reimagining of Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird’s heroes in a half shell. Showrunners Andy Suriano and Ant Ward are blending the new and the familiar, giving the property a revamped look courtesy of 2D animation, while also hearkening back to the comics to shape the first season’s storylines. Suriano and Ward may have shaken up the order of the team—and given us a new villain voiced by John Cena—but they’ve left the turtles’ tight-knit dynamic intact. This family slices and dices together, and the show has put together a complementary voice cast, including Ben Schwartz as Leonardo, Josh Brener as Donatello, Omar Benson Miller as Raphael, and Brandon Mychal Smith as Michelangelo. Kat Graham rounds out the team as April O’Neil, who’s now roughly the same age as the turtles.

The A.V. Club spoke with Schwartz and Graham at the 2018 Television Critics Association summer press tour last month to get their thoughts on the latest trends in programming and pizza, as well as just what the hell the secret of the ooze is.

The A.V. Club: There was a rather bold decision made early on to break with lyrical tradition and make Raphael the leader. Where does that leave your character, Leonardo, who we’re so used to seeing lead the team?

Ben Schwartz: Yeah, at the beginning, Raphael is the leader. Because it’s the rise of the group, the whole idea of them learning and failing. You watch the first couple episodes, and the turtles, it’s like we can’t even land correctly, and we have no idea how to use our weapons. So it’s like the first act of those superhero movies, like the latest Spider-Man, where they’re learning how to use their powers.

AVC: Has it freed you up in creating a new version of this character? Because we’re used to seeing this very serious, focused version of Leonardo, but here, he’s almost the droll action hero—always ready with the one-liners.

BS: I’ve had a blast working with Ant and Andy in creating this character. I’m basically playing him like Bill Murray in Stripes. When we were doing auditions, I was like, “You know what, I kinda like the idea of him being Bill Murray-ish and being ready to joke about stuff.” Ant and Andy really wanna push the comedy in this one and they let us play, and when we found a nice little level, they’re like, “This is perfect, go with this,” and then they write to those attributes. It’s been really fun, and seems to fit really well.

AVC: Kat, you’ve helped create an all-new April. In the past, she was this grown-up journalist, but she’s a lot younger now, which makes sense because these are “teenage” mutant ninja turtles after all. So is this kind of an origin story for April, too?

Kat Graham: They’re all figuring out who they are—very clumsily—but still trying to save the world. I’m really happy that they made her younger; it means we can do more. We can have more fun that way. And there’s something very important about not just the fact because they made her African-American, but someone that sometimes fights alongside the turtles. I think making her roughly the same age helps tell the story and creates a really cool dynamic with all of them.

AVC: Did you have any input on the character design at all?

KG: I would never dare. [Laughs.] I can draw a stick figure, and, I mean, Ant and Andy are just—they’re overqualified to create these. It’s really art, this animation. They knew exactly what they were doing, and they had a vision for this character, and I felt super trusting to lend my voice to whatever they decided to create around it.

AVC: Were you big fans of the movies or comics before signing on?

BS: Yup, at my first sleepover we watched the first movie [the Steve Barron-directed Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles]. I remember I wasn’t able to go to sleep, and I wanted to call my mom and dad.

AVC: That first movie did have a very different aesthetic. Were you scared?

BS: I was never scared by them. I just thought they were awesome. I think I was just so excited I couldn’t go to sleep. I loved it. That first one to me was—I used to quote it as a kid all the time, with my friends. And of course, there was the Vanilla Ice rap, the Ninja Ninja rap, in the second one. I mean, what a gift that was. I loved that. They randomly go to a stage and everybody’s dancing and singing. It’s a beautiful little thing.

AVC: What are your thoughts on the ninja rap from the recent movie reboot?

BS: Wait, which one is that one?

AVC: “Shell Shocked” [by Juicy J., Wiz Khalifa, and Ty Dolla $ign]. How do you think it compares to “Ninja Rap”?

BS: Oh, man, I haven’t seen it.

AVC: How about you, Kat?

KG: [Laughs.] No, no, sorry.

BS: But I will say, Kat can sing so beautifully, so you know, if there’s ever a chance on our show for Kat to create music as April or me as Leo, I’ll happily pretend to move my mouth and she’ll do everything. I mean there’s an opening for that, don’t you think?

KG: Well, I’m so happy with this version of April—that hair and those glasses!—that I will just say my little lines. But I mean, listen, if anyone ever needed that I would do it in a heartbeat. The Turtle-verse is so big that if [the producers] wanna do [that] and if they need me, I’m here.

AVC: It was brought up at the panel how voice acting is a real solo effort. It’s just you and the booth. But when you’re playing a famous ensemble, cohesion among the cast is really important. How were you able to establish that?

KG: It was a little hard, because I don’t live in Los Angeles, so I unfortunately haven’t been able to record that much with the boys. I recorded a bit with Josh [Brener] while he was shooting in New York. He has a very specific voice, so when I do my lines, I’m thinking of how to respond to those specific tones. I was familiar with everyone’s work before this show, so I just try and think of their temperament when I’m recording my lines. I try and think how Ben would do that line or how Omar [Benson Miller] would do it, and I try and not do anything that’s so left field from their performances.

BS: We learn their cadences. You know that Josh is gonna deliver like this, and Omar’s gonna come with a lot of energy and stuff like that. One of the cool things in the beginning was we got to all record together a couple times. It gets harder because we’re all moving around, but you have Rob Paulsen, who’s a genius. He’s the voice director and he’s been two different turtles in two different iterations. He’s also Pinky from Pinky And The Brain! He’s been everything ever, including Yakko [on Animaniacs], and so he helps by doing their voices. You kind of get into a rhythm and you learn exactly what to do. But also, in doing press together, we’ve really become a little family.

AVC: Now for the important stuff: How prominently is pizza featured in the reboot?

BS: Prominently. It’s like the secret sixth turtle.

KG: Yeah, it’s like its own character. For sure.

BS: I’ve always loved how much the turtles love pizza. I remember being a kid and being like, “Oh, they’re just like me”

AVC: When they first announced the reboot, PETA issued a press release asking for vegan pizza on the show, which would be one way to update it.

BS: [To Graham] You’re a vegan, right?

KG: Yeah, and I work with PETA, so I appreciate them saying that. I did an exposé on a chicken farm with them, like, a week before this one came up. I would love it if they did a vegan pizza on this. But even if they don’t, everyone knows that I’m vegan, so I promote it enough on my own.

AVC: Splinter is back to mentor the turtles, but Shredder is out as the big bad. Is there any character from one of the previous iterations you’d like to see on the show?

KG: Well, Splinter was my favorite, so that’s a huge box that got checked for me. But, otherwise, I don’t know.

BS: Oh man, I would say it should be Bebop and Rocksteady. I would also say Baxter Stockman, especially that story where he turns into a fly! That was one of my favorites. I’m just impressed that I remembered the full name. But he’s one of my favorites, and I love that origin story, so that would be super-fun to see come play. But also, Bebop and Rocksteady for me were the best—they were like Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum, just two dummies trying to smash their way through things. I don’t know if they’re gonna appear, but those were the guys that I loved when I was watching as a kid.

AVC: The producers have said that this show will tap into the original source material. Did that appeal to you when you first signed on? Because there’s the potential for a really interesting crossover—the turtles became mutants in the same incident or accident that injured Daredevil.

KG: Oh wow, I’d never heard of that.

AVC: Maybe that’s one of the secrets of the ooze.

BS: In the comics? Were they owned by Marvel?

AVC: No, it was Mirage.

BS: Oh, yeah, I’ve heard of Mirage.

AVC: Apparently, when Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird first dreamed up a Ninja Turtle, they thought about that accident and the stuff that blinds Daredevil and that’s what makes Ninja Turtles.

BS: That’s amazing. I’ve never of heard that before.

AVC: Does a Ninja Turtles/Daredevil crossover sound cool, or is there another comics character you’d like to see on your show?

KG: Oh my gosh, there’s so many crossovers that could be fun, too.

BS: Oh my goodness, yes.

KG: Daredevil is a good one. And I don’t know why, but Inspector Gadget.

BS: Oh my goodness, please. Please make Inspector Gadget appear in our TV show. What a beautiful joy. I loved Inspector Gadget.

KG: Me, too.

BS: Because he was a skinny dude also, and I was like, “Oh, and he could still fight crime?”

KG: If they ever do live-action mixed with cartoons, like Who Framed Roger Rabbit, you should play Inspector Gadget on the cartoon.

AVC: You could even do that as a separate reboot.

BS: Seriously. Oh, this is a huge moment for me, thank you. But you mean on the cartoon, or the live-action part?

KG: No, you do the live action but you’re in the cartoon—like Roger in Who Framed Roger Rabbit.

BS: Yesss. I’m very into this idea.

KG: That’s all I want in life. Sorry, that was not your question at all.

BS: No, but I will say this, this tangent has brought me to a very happy place.


Also, via HS Insider:

‘Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’: A fiercely original take on the iconic turtles

Tonight, the Turtles are rising up, but this time, with a more diverse and excited cast than ever before. With Omar Miller as Raphael, Josh Brener as Donatello, Brandon Mychal Smith as Michelangelo, Ben Schwartz as Leonardo and Kat Graham as April O’Neil, in “Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles,” watchers are promised a “fiercely original” version of the Turtles like no other.

“What I love about this revamped Turtles is that it’s so fiercely original,” Graham said. “Down to the animation, my character, just everything feels so original, with still the classic characters of the turtles. I think that there are certain things that they preserved and certain things that they brought into the cartoon to make it really special.”

The iconic story of mutated teenage turtles battling evil super villains has been a beloved tale since its birth in the 80s. Since, many generations’ childhoods have been spent imagining that they were Michelangelo and Donatello through the iconic action figures. For these adored actors to truly become the turtles and April on television and to be the first of such a racially diverse cast, they explain is an honor.

“It’s definitely been surreal for me,” Smith said. “My mother sent me a video. I had to go find a VHS player and it was me as a ninja turtle at six years old and it honestly brought tears to my eyes because for now to be twenty plus years later to be a ninja turtle, in reality, it truly is a dream come true and I couldn’t be more honored. You know, I really want to give so much thanks to our creators, Ant (Ant Ward, co-executive producer) and Andy and everybody over at Nickelodeon for believing in us. I mean this is a bucket list item.”

While most of the cast have more experience in on-set acting, they explain that bringing animated characters to life requires more of their personal take. While the cast is in the booth, they are alone with possibly the directors and writers, but with lack of visual, “you really have to get your mind working and commit to the material that’s on the page,” Miller said.

The concept of a brotherly love and relationship is brought to life through the cast’s relationships with their siblings. From producer, Andy Suriano’s relationship with his two older brothers to the bond shared between individual actors with their family, the theme of sibling bickering and interaction is very much present behind the making of the Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

“I can incorporate inside jokes and family and all kind of stuff because I have five brothers of my own so a lot of the dynamics of bickering with brothers is very accurate and Ant and Andy have done a great job of portraying that,” Miller said.

Order an extra large pizza and tune in tonight, Monday, Sept. 17 to watch Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles on Nickelodeon.


“We wanted to have something strikingly different and unique,” executive producer Ant Ward says. “‘Fun’ was the marching order we gave ourselves.”

Also, from Celeb Secrets:

Brandon Mychal Smith Dishes on TMNT Revival “Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles”

The reimagined animated series follows the band of brothers, Raph, Leo, Donnie and Mikey, as they discover new powers and encounter a mystical world they never knew existed beneath the streets of New York City.

Raph, Leo, Donnie and Mikey are officially back in a new, reimagined version of the iconic Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series — Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and we can’t wait to see what the new generation thinks of it.

Premiering new episodes every weekday this week at 6:30/5:30c on Nickelodeon, Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles follows the Turtles on different adventures as they master new powers, encounter absurd mutants and battle bizarre villains, each with their own motivations. Ranging from mystics, mutants and madmen, new creatures and villains emerge to take on the brothers in battles across New York City.

“Anytime you’re able to be apart of an iconic franchise like this, you’re just extremely excited, so everything drew me to this role,” Brandon Mychal Smith, who plays Mikey, a box turtle, tells Celeb Secrets. “I grew up watching the series as a kid and it’s truly an honor.”

In addition to Smith, the series’ voice talent is truly top-notch. Omar Miller (Ballers) plays Raph, a jagged-shelled snapping turtle; Ben Schwartz (Parks and Recreation) plays Leo, a red-eared slider turtle; Josh Brener (Silicon Valley) plays Donnie, a soft-shell turtle; Kat Graham (The Vampire Diaries) plays April O’Neil, a street savvy native New Yorker; Eric Bauza (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles) plays Splinter, the father figure and sensei to the Turtles; and WWE Superstar John Cena plays the villainous, Baron Draxum.

With a twenty-six episode season premiering this year, it looks like the TMNT are staying for awhile, as Nickelodeon already picked up the series for a second season back in July.

Learn more about Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles by watching our interview with Brandon Mychal Smith below:


Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles premieres on Nickelodeon USA on Monday, September 17th at 6:30pm ET/PT. Following its US launch, the series will roll out globally across Nickelodeon's channels and branded blocks in 170+ countries and territories, including in the UK and Ireland on Saturday 22nd September 2018 at 10:00am BST on Nicktoons UK & Ireland and Channel 5. Click here for a list of Rise of the TMNT international premiere dates.

Fans in the US can watch the first episode of Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles on the Nick App, Nick.com/Rise, and Nickelodeon On Demand now. Fans in the UK can watch the first episode of Rise of the TMNT, “Mystic Mayhem” on Nick.co.uk, Nicktoons.co.uk and the Nick Play app. Sky Subscribers can also watch a sneak peek of Episode 1 along with four additional stories and 4 pieces of additional short form content exclusively on Sky VOD!

Did you hear? Nickelodeon has renewed Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles for a second season! COWABUNGA!

More Nick: Nickelodeon to Host 'Rise of the TMNT' Panel at NYCC 2018!

Originally published: Monday, September 17, 2018 at 1:21am BST.

Additional source: lacrossetribune.com.
Follow NickALive! on Twitter, Tumblr, Google+, via RSS, on Instagram, and/or Facebook for the latest Nickelodeon and Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles News and Highlights!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Have your say by leaving a comment below! NickALive! welcomes friendly and respectful comments. Please familiarize with the blog's Comment Policy before commenting. All new comments are moderated and won't appear straight away.