The hugely fun, visually-stunning and riotously entertaining blockbuster Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles has burst onto Blu-ray Combo Pack, Blu-ray 3D Combo Pack, DVD and VOD from Paramount Home Media Distribution. In this eye-popping reimagining of the legendary heroes in a half shell, New York is under attack by the sinister Shredder, but fearless leader Leonardo, brilliant and brainy Donatello, rough and rebellious Raphael and wild and crazy Michelangelo take to the streets to defend their home with the help of intrepid reporter April O'Neil (Megan Fox) and their brilliant sensei, Splinter.
Packed with jaw-dropping action and special effects and loaded with the franchise's signature humor, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is just what the family ordered this holiday season. To celebrate the release, we caught up with main bad guy William Fichtner, who plays second in command of the Foot Clan Eric Sacks. He offers an insightful look into the production process, and explains how the film and his role evolved throughout the production. Take a look at our exclusive conversation, then be sure to pick up Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, in stores this Christmas weekend!
Can you finally talk about what happened with your character? When the movie was in production, you, yourself, confirmed that you were playing Shredder. But as we all know, that eventually changed in the final version of the movie...
William Fichtner: That's true. It did change, didn't it? There are people that could speak better to that, and more eloquently than I. But that was originally the plan. That Eric Sachs was Shredder. As we made the movie, there were some thoughts about telling the story in a different way. The producers would probably be better at explaining that. But what I really wanted to do was find the character of Eric Sachs. When the changes do come along, we ultimately incorporate them and make the movie work. I know that sounds like a very vague general statement to your question. But it is the bottom line. For me as an actor, if there are changes that come along because they think the storytelling might be better in one way or another way, I'm fine with that, you know? Ultimately, we made a little bit of a different movie that first go-around. Then we had some changes. I'm happy to say that when I saw the film for the first time, at the premiere, I thought, 'Okay! This is a better movie.' It was a different movie, but a really good movie. At the end of the day, that's what everyone wanted and I did too.
I'm not sure if we were at the same premiere screening, but the audience went wild when I saw this. Did you experience that?
William Fichtner: Yeah! You know, I don't spend a lot of time thinking about how the movie is eventually going to work out, but at the end of the day, you hope people are getting what you are doing. I was happy with it. It was the first time I ever took my twelve year old to a premiere. I was happy that he was happy. So that's not a bad day right there. You know, listen. I don't read a lot of what's written by critics or blogs, or things like that. It doesn't have a lot of barring on my part of it, or what I'm doing to try and make it work. But, listen, the bottom line is that you are not going to make everyone happy. You have to keep your vision strong and make the movie you want to make. I have a feeling at the end of the day everyone involved with Turtles did that.
It's been hinted at that Eric Sachs will be taking over for Shredder at some point. That is evident in the way the first version of the film changed into the finished movie that was in theaters. And we weren't really sure what happened to Shredder at the end. Do you think you will ultimately become Shredder in Ninja Turtles 2?
William Fichtner: I honestly know nothing about that. I don;t know what the future plans are for Turtles 2. I know it sits on a table. Its on the table. If it happens, I've heard that I will be in New York again. Which is just amazing, to be back in my city to work on it. Hey, it will be a surprise for me...Whatever goes on in the next one...
New York is pretty important to the story. We can see that you guys obviously shot a lot of the movie in New York, and you can feel that on screen. It brings an atmosphere that you don't get when you shoot in Vancouver and call it New York...
William Fichtner: There's no doubt about that. I really feel that there is an opportunity to shoot in that location...If you are making a movie in the bayou, it helps to actually be in the bayou. Not in the north, or somewhere in the San Fernando valley. Just to be in the streets of New York, the rhythm of that is the rhythm of the film. We're lucky when we get to have that experience. I remember the first time I worked with Michael Bay, who obviously produced the Turtles film, and we were shooting Armageddon. We had access to Houston, and mission control, and Cape Canaveral, the Gantry. You can't fake this stuff, you know what I mean? Well..You can! But the feeling is stronger when you are in the real deal place. Not to mention the fact that I lived in New York for almost thirty years. To be back in my city after a while was just great.
What was it like shooting some of these scenes where the characters are huge CGI creations? I know the actors were around a lot of the time in their motion capture suits. But in terms of the reshoots, you didn't have Shredder nearby, and if he was there, his stand-in obviously wasn't this hulking mass of metal blades.
William Fichtner: No, he wasn't! But, I'll give you an example of working with the turtles themselves. I've never seen such a commitment. It wasn't like we had four guys running around in motion capture suites with someone reading the lines off stage, or something. This movie hired four excellent actors to play these roles, with motion capture suits and that. The difference is, I saw the artwork. I knew what the plan was, and I knew what these turtles were going to look like. First of all, that alone was incredibly exciting. You took a look at this stuff and thought, 'Wow! This cartoon just came to life.' When you are playing scenes, and the turtles are talking to you back and forth, you are having real moments. Because you have real actors that are playing them. It might seem like a simple thing, but its not. Its a huge commitment, not only to bring these cartoon characters to life...But in every way, when you have real moments to play with them. I think that alone, right there...I have never had that experience before. That sort of commitment. 'Hey, why don't we do this?' And that is really going to make these guys. And I think the pay off is obvious in the film.
Now, we're a year and a half out from the Lone Ranger. And while that movie wasn't necessarily well received, I kept hearing people who purposely missed it in theaters saying they caught have up with it, and they actually think it's great. Its becoming one of those true cult movies, and especially your character. This guy who eats hearts right out of the chest. You don't see that kind of villain in a Disney movie...Or any movie really. What are your thoughts on it now that the movie is out of that initial release scrutiny, and its starting to show its fan base?
William Fichtner: Let me tell you something about Lone Ranger...Yeah, I guess I hear it wasn't received as well critically. But for a long time I have felt that I don't make that too much a part of my world. But I will always think of the Lone Ranger with the most fondest memories. I do believe in the not too distant future, the Lone Ranger will be recognized as the amazing film it is. For all the reasons people didn't like it...Which seem to be...I don't know...I hear it was about a lot of things...But the movie is a wonderful movie. And it was a highlight of my life. Especially to work with those actors, and Gore Verbinski. I have to tell you, you asked me that question, and I got a smile on my face!
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is available now on Blu-ray and DVD!