Funny how the casting of a single person can change a fanboy's (premature) opinion of a movie. People have been knocking the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie ever since it was announced. It was an easy target, after all. Michael Bay's involved (he's not directing; his Platinum Dunes is a production company on the movie, though), which apparently makes it an automatic punching bag. Add in some leaked details of things that were supposedly changing about the turtle gang, Megan Fox as April O'Neil, and you've got a fanboy feeding frenzy.
Today may be the turning point for that, though, thanks to the announcement of a single cast member: William Fichtner. He's one of the coolest character actors around, and whether he's playing a bank employee in the opening of The Dark Knight or an accountant from Hell in Drive Angry, he hijacks every single scene he's in. He's disarmingly charming, but always has this undercurrent of mystery bubbling just below the surface. Paramount hasn't unveiled who he's actually playing in Jonathan Liebesman's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, only that it's a "lead with iconic stature in the Turtles' mythology," but the fact that the studio is going after an actor of his caliber already has fanboys edging away from their preordained hatred.
Fichtner's the kind of actor whose interest in a project in turn makes that project interesting. Fanboys may not be putting away the pitchforks for now, but they're at least not raising them just yet. Depending on who Fichtner is playing, though, they may put them away entirely. So who should it be?
Note: This art is from Dave Rapoza and not the movie, though they'd be wise to hire him as a concept artist.
Shredder - The natural assumption most will have is that he's playing the Turtles' number-one nemesis, Shredder. And he may very well be, and that'd be alright. Sure, Shredder is supposed to be Japanese, but we wouldn't be surprised if this reboot backed away from that. Truth is, it doesn't really matter if Shredder is actually Japanese or not. There are plenty of Westerners who are highly trained in martial arts, and who dedicate their lives to the lifestyle, so it can work. It may not be canon, and it'll piss off fans, but changing his home country isn't a massive deal so long as he's the yin to Splinter's yang.
The thing is, though, regardless of his nationality, it wouldn't be the end of the world if Shredder wasn't even in the movie. He's the obvious bad guy since everyone knows him, but it's that obvious-ness that makes him a bit dull. Take a cue from this summer's Man of Steel, which didn't go with the obvious Lex Luthor as its bad guy. Change things up. Keep the foot clan around, but save Shredder for the sequel.
Casey Jones - Fichtner would be an excellent spiritual successor to play a big-screen Casey Jones after Elias Koteas, another fine character actor, first played him back in the '90s. But we'd be kind of surprised if the studio cast an actor Fichtner's age (56) as a hockey mask-wearing neighborhood vigilante. If the character is even in the movie, it'd be a safe bet they'll keep him closer in age to Megan Fox' April O'Neil and cast a hunk she can have a few flirty scenes with. We'd be kind of surprised if that weren't the case.
Dr. Baxter - Please, please, please let this be the case. Dr. Baxter is a character who has taken a few different forms in the comics and the old 1980s animated show, but he's always been an inventor who gets a bit too carried away and in over his head. He's not exactly evil, and he doesn't start as a full-blown villain, but, like Spider-Man's Doc Ock, he eventually becomes one as others use his brilliant mind for evil. At one point in the animated series he was mutated with a fly after Krang tried to kill him, and that's when he became his own special sort of villain.
We'd love, love, love if the fly version of Baxter was a bad guy in the movie, if only because it'd be great to see the bow tie-wearing humanoid fly realized in a live-action movie (even if he's created using mo-cap, as the turtles themselves will be). It'd be a ridiculous role on the surface, which is why you'd need someone who can take the ridiculous seriously, and that's precisely why you'd hire someone like William Fichtner. If you're going to make a movie about turtles who mutate into crime-fighting ninjas, you might as well have some fun with the bad guy, and this is the best way in my eyes.
But what do you think? Who should Fichtner play? Any of the above? Someone we left off, like Krang? Let us know below.