Michael Bay’s 2014 reboot of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles achieved many things. Earning over $484 million world wide, albeit opening to largely negative reviews, the film generated enough to get green lighted for a sequel (to be directed by Dave Green and arrive in 2016). What the movie also did, intentionally or not, what split the TMNT fanbase in two. One side was fully accepting of the direction Bay was taking with the Turtles, and were happy to follow along for the ride. The other side remained loyal to the vision of the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and its sequel, Secret of the Ooze. It is of course possible to be on both sides, but it seems that true Turtle fans can’t seem to shake their affinity for the dark, gritty filming style of the originals. Enter Eric England, and his idea for a TMNT film told from the POV of Casey Jones.
Director of the body horror film Contracted, England seems to be more of a part of the latter group of turtle fans. He unveiled his ideas on Dredd producer Adi Shankar’s The Bootleg Universe Pitch Show, where writers and directors are welcomed to pitch their own ideal version of already made properties. The film England envisions is much more heavily influenced by the first films than the reboot, although tweaked into a vibe all his own. He describes the cinematic style he’d be going for as “Fight Club meets Tony Scott,” fast-paced even when there isn’t any action.
This Casey-centric version would be set in the 90’s with that familiar low-fi vibe, and while the Turtles would be present, the storyline would be largely based around Casey’s relationship with April O’Neil. Casting wise, England notes that Chris Hemsworth would make a formidable Casey Jones, and Mary Elizabeth Winstead could tread the line between sexy news reporter and girl next door. Using chess terms, England likened April O’Neil to the queen, as Shredder and his Foot Clan must capture her in order to gain control over the media.
England would borrow some aspects of the Michael Bay reboot, such as Shredder’s middle-man status in a larger-scale Foot Clan network. He seems most excited about the final fight scene, where Casey, fighting his way up, and the Turtles, fighting their way down, meet in the middle of a multi-level building to team up and take on Shredder, Tokka, and Rahzar (genetically modified beast versions of a wolf and a snapping turtle.)
Having the Turtles hovering on the edges of the story (in trench coats, in Raphael’s case) and not the main focus of every scene, and instead shining the spotlight on Casey Jones and his story absolutely sounds intriguing. There were some questionable aspects with the pitch, of course. Describing Casey as a “lovable, puppy dog style vigilante” doesn’t add up with how his character is described throughout the rest of the pitch (the original Casey Jones would be downright offended.) Also, England says he wouldn’t want the Turtles to be CGI, but also doesn’t want to go to cheesy with foam-rubber costumes. So what does he have in mind? All in all, this still sounds like a worthwhile rendition of the TMNT saga!
To see more episodes of The Bootleg Universe Pitch Shows, head over to Adi Shankar’s Youtube!