The actor had this to say about taking on the challenging aspects of the film and working with director Michael Bay.
" "I play Shredder. It is cool. It's one of those things that came along where I thought, 'Really? Let me think about this for a minute.' [Laughs] Then I was like, 'Yeah, OK, this sounds like a journey.' I'm very glad that it worked out, I'm really glad that I'm doing it."
Shredder is the resident villain of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles universe. His backstory has varied throughout the course of the various comic book, movie and cartoon series runs. Also known as Oroku Saki, the character has traditionally been Japanese. He joined the Foot Clan seeking revenge against another Foot soldier for the death of his brother. He quickly rose through the ranks, and was put in charge of the American branch of this terrorist and crime organization. This allowed him to move to New York, where he avenged the death of his brother by killing the man responsible along with the man's one true love. Splinter, the dead man's pet rat, witnessed the brutal murder, and when mutated into an anthromorphic state along with four turtles, trained those turtles to take down Shredder and wipe out the American branch of the Foot Clan and free New York from its clutches.
The character has traditionally been voiced by American actors throughout its long cartoon series run. He was portrayed on-screen by Japanese-American actor James Saito in the original live-action Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, but still voiced by American actor David McCharen. Cambodian-American actor François Chau took over the role in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze, with WWE Superstar Kevin Nash taking on the role of Super Shredder in the same film. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III is the first feature to abandon the character, with the animated big screen adventure TMNT to follow suit. The character returned to screens for Nickelodeon's rebooted Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles last year, with The Cleveland Show's Kevin Michael Richardson to become the first Bronx-bred African-American to voice the iconic bad guy.
William Fichtner is a Caucasian-American character actor best known for his work on television and his role in The Dark Knight. He'll next be seen as the main villain Butch Cavendish in this summer's The Lone Ranger and also plays an important role in Elysium. Purists need not frown at director Michael Bay for casting an American actor in the role of Japanese overlord Shredder, as the Chinese Film Industry bares its weight at the American box office. Its been rumored that casting a Japanese actor in the role would have hurt that all-important portion of the international box office yet again. Its unclear if the Foot Clan will be of Japanese descent in the film, but the decision was to go American rather than Chinese. William Fichtner's nationality is difficult to pin down. The actor considers himself a 'global citizen' and does not claim a 'narrow, limited identification based on nationality, race or familial heritage.' With his unique and handsome looks, William Fichtner could very well be at least 1/3 Japanese. That's not a difficult sell. And before some of you get too heated, just look at the vast array of nationalities that have played the character thus far, and remember this: Its a character based solely on a cheese grater. Seriously, it is. Look it up. How impassioned can you really get?