Before going in for the World Premiere of ‘Batman Vs. The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles,’ I (and a handful of colleagues from other online sites) sat down with some of the creatives from the film to talk about their experiences making the movie and get a sense of what to expect. All in all, everyone involved seemed to really love making the movie, working with the characters, and are big fans of what they were doing with the story, which is really exciting to see, but not that surprising considering that most of them grew up with both Batman and the Ninja Turtles, making this a kind of dream-project to work on.
According to writer Marly Halperin-Graser, they wanted an “old school cross-over” where “Gotham and New York exist in the same world.” Otherwise he said they:
“…tried to stick to the story and tone as much as they could….The general structure is very similar to the comic.”
When asked about the tone of the movie, especially in regards to Batman being very serious and what level of comedy the turtles would be operating at, Haperin-Graser replied:
“…the biggest inspiration [for tone] is the first 2 live-action TMNT movies…the puppet ones….[this is] the most violent movie the turtles have been in in some time.”
When speaking to producer Ben Jones about a potential sequel or other cross-over opportunities, he says he would love to do a Justice League/Power Rangers movie, even claiming “I have dibs” if it ever happens. When pushed about whether they would make another ‘Batman Vs. TMNT,’ he said:
“Nobody said anything about a sequel, but ideally it would be to bring in Krang and go more sci-fi.”
Next, we spoke to Andrew Kishino, the man who got to play Shredder for the movie, who was very excited about the role and the final product. In his words:
“I am excited to be Shredder, though nervous knowing how many people have inhabited this iconic role before…. I didn’t want to do a bad impersonation of someone else… [he wanted to] make sure the character behind the mask is what shapes him.”
When we got a chance to talk with director Jake Castorena, he had a lot to say about the various pressures of the movie, especially since he was not only answering to Warner Bros and DC, but also to Nickelodeon because of the Turtles. He told us:
“…it wasn’t easy… [figuring out] what is too jokey, too serious, too tame, we had to make a lot of bosses happy… In the end we just had to be genuine.”
Luckily for him, apparently Nickelodeon was very generous with the Turtles, and most of their notes were about making the best final product, not about making sure the Turtles looked good next to the DC characters, which is always a risk when working with two different studios. When I asked about the decision to remove the inter-dimension aspects of the story, Castorena said that at first, he was a little annoyed by the decision, though he quickly saw the logic of it:
“When I first read the script I thought ‘that’s bullshit! How can you cut Dimension-X, etc.’ Now I see that it is a God-send…”
As he explained it, without all the dimensions and portals, they did not have to keep re-explaining the science behind the cross-over throughout the movie, and could just focus on the story and the characters, which is what the fans really want anyway. We ended the Roundtable interviews by speaking to Troy Baker and Cas Anvar, who play Batman, the Joker, and Ras Al Ghul, with Troy being the first voice-actor to portray the Joker and Batman in the same movie. When asked what he thought when the producers asked him to do that, Troy jokingly replied:
“I thought they were drunk… I always felt like they were going to recast me.”
When Cas, who is a huge Ras Al Ghul fan (even to the point of not quite agreeing with DC’s recent statements of how to say the name properly) was asked if he thought Ras would ever consider Shredder to be an heir to the League of Shadows, he was almost insulted, answering:
“SHREDDER!?! …Ras likes people to be at least mentally stable…I don’t know if Ras would view Shredder to be that competent.”
The guys went on to talk about the nature of voice-acting, and how Troy doing two roles was not that out of the ordinary considering the fact that the man routinely talks to himself (which he and Cas laughed about), which meant even in scenes with Batman and Joker he apparently would just read straight through, talking to himself as both characters (though he did admit doing the Joker voice was challenging, and he envied Mark Hamill who seemed to do the character with such ease).
All in all, lots of cool information learned at the event, and now that I have seen the film, I can understand the excitement of the cast and crew about the movie. Make sure to check out my review of ‘Batman Vs. The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Movie,’ and see the movie for yourself when it comes out on Digital on May 14th and Blu-Ray on June 4th!