A new report details that the upcoming animated Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem film from producer Seth Rogen is “about teenagers who experience feelings of isolation, loneliness, and awkwardness.”
The report comes from Variety’s Karen Idelson in an article mainly discussing the film’s art style. However, buried in the article, Idelson details, “This emotionally authentic style of animation fell in line with the story they wanted to tell with TMNT — a coming-of-age origin story about teenagers who experience feelings of isolation, loneliness and awkwardness as they try to find themselves. Plus, they’re mutants and turtles.”
She then went on to cite the film’s writer and director Jeff Rowe who commented on why they chose to have real teenagers voice the Turtles. He said, “Being a teenager is inherently an emotional, confusing, lonely time in your life. There’s so much feeling in making these characters real teenagers and we committed to having them voiced by teenagers.”
In a featurette promoting the film, Seth Rogen went on to elaborate why he wanted to put the focus on the teenagers claiming their age was the most underexplored part of the franchise.
He said, “I grew up watching the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and the teenage part was always the most under-explored part. I always thought that it would be really interesting to explore them in that way, especially because from my understanding every version of them has been performed by adults.”
“Within 15 seconds of watching the movie the audience is like, ‘they’re teenage boys,” Rogen declared.
Interestingly, Rogen went on to reveal that this version of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is very different from any other incarnation specifically in regards to how it treats Leonardo.
Rogen describes Leonardo saying, “The kid who sees himself as the coach of the team even though no one else does.”
This description should not be a surprise as a variation of it was previously revealed on a number of toys connected to the film that were being sold on Japanese e-commerce website Rakuten.
Leonardo’s biography read, “Leo’s the leader! Well, he wants to be. he dreams of leading his brothers to become an unstoppable crime-fighting team. So what if no one takes him seriously?”
Rogen’s description of Leonardo also follows in the wake of a clip from the film depicting Master Splinter as an anti-human bigot.
The clip sees the four Turtles recite an anti-human screed taught to them by Master Splinter, “Humans are the demon scum of the Earth. Avoid them. Don’t say hi. They lust to murder that which is different from them. To interact with them is to die.”
Leonardo then admits the screed is prejudiced, and proceeds to reveal it was taught to them by Splinter, “And, hey, I know that’s objectively prejudiced, but that’s what Dad taught us.”
The Turtles then share a number of pop culture references about different celebrities they think are cool such as Tom Brady, Beyoncé, and Drake. Leonardo adds, “Look, we all think humans are cool, but we got a job to do.”
What do you make of this new report that Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem will be “about teenagers who experience feelings of isolation, loneliness and awkwardness as they try to find themselves?”