Last month, William Fichtner confirmed that he is playing the villain Shredder in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. When speaking to the press about his role in The Lone Ranger, in theaters July 3, the actor revealed that his character's given name is not what you may expect.
"I actually play a guy named Eric Sachs [Sounds like Sachs? Hard to understand] in the movie. And then he goes through a few stages in his existence. But Turtles is coming together very, very cool. There is a whole interesting dynamic that happens in the world of Turtles and all I can really say about it at this point while working on it is that the Turtle film, it's not like anything that I remember about the Turtles before. I feel like this Michael Bay-produced movie is just gonna really be something else. I'm pretty excited."
In the original comic books and animated series, Shredder's real name is Oroku Saki, and he is of Japanese descent. There were rumors that casting a Japanese actor for Shredder may have hurt the project's box office prospects in the all-important and rapidly-growing Chinese market. You need only look at how closely Michael Bay is working with China on Transformers 4 to know that this is 'based' in fact. It doesn't mean Japanese actors are no longer welcome in Hollywood. The Wolverine has a mostly Japanese cast. It's solely on projects like Transformers 4 and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, where China is a co-producer or financier. We saw this with Iron Man 3 earlier in the summer, which had scenes shot specifically for the Chinese audience that weren't seen anywhere else.
When asked if Eric Sachs is actually Japanese, William Fichtner would not reveal any specifics.
"You know, uh, you know I think it would be much more exciting to find out these things as it unfolds."
An early, leaked draft of the screenplay last year revealed that this version of Shredder was a former military officer named Colonel Schrader, but that could have very easily been changed since then. Jonathan Liebesman (Battle: Los Angeles, Wrath of the Titans) is directing Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, which is currently in production.