A new image has been released for Seth Rogen’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem, offering a very different look at the beloved heroes in a half-shell.
Empire shared the image on Twitter, captioning the post with a quote from director Jeff Rowe, who compares Mutant Mayhem to “Stand By Me and Lady Bird, but with Ninja Turtles.” The new photo features the turtles on a rooftop and is more reminiscent of their darker comic book origins than the lighter versions of the characters popularized in television and film.
In March, fans got an extended look at the revamped turtles and their supporting cast with Mutant Mayhem‘s first full trailer, including April O’Neil, Splinter, Bebop and Rocksteady. At the time, many praised the film’s art style, new character designs and the authentic teenage portrayal of the turtles. Others have expressed their dismay concerning the absence of fan-favorite character Casey Jones, who also remains absent from the film’s official cast list.
Mutant Mayhem’s Animated Influences
Like 2018’s Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse and its upcoming sequel, 2023’s Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse, Mutant Mayhem combines 2D and 3D animation to evoke the art style in comic books. A similar technique was used in Puss in Boots: The Last Wish and The Mitchells vs. the Machines, the latter of which was co-written and co-directed by Mutant Mayhem director Rowe. For their efforts, the team behind Into the Spider-Verse won the Oscar for Best Animated Feature in 2019. The Mitchells vs. the Machines and Puss in Boots: The Last Wish, which were similarly praised for their animation styles, were nominated in the same category in 2022 and 2023, respectively.
Producer Seth Rogen has also cited Jon Favreau’s 2019 remake of The Lion King, in which Rogen voices Pumba, as an inspiration for the voice recording of Mutant Mayhem. “We really went out of our way and bent over backwards on Ninja Turtles to try to capture that improvisational energy that you get when a lot of people are in the same place at the same time,” Rogen said in April. “I actually saw how helpful it was from doing Lion King, and if that’s the tone and style you’re going for, then it is a great thing to chase.”
As Rogen alludes to, it is more common for voice performers to record their lines separately, like on The Super Mario Bros. Movie, in which Rogen voices Donkey Kong. “On Ninja Turtles, it was lovely because we were able to control the process a lot more. For every session, we lumped people together. So every time the four turtles recorded, they were together.”
In Mutant Mayhem, real-life teenagers voice the four main turtles: Micah Abbey as Donatello, Shamon Brown Jr. as Michelangelo, Nicolas Canto as Leonardo and Brady Noon as Raphael. Rounding out the cast are Ayo Edebiri’s April O’Neil, Paul Rudd’s Mondo Gecko, Giancarlo Esposito’s Baxter Stockman, Jackie Chan’s Splinter, John Cena’s Rocksteady and Rogen’s Bebop. Other prominent names include Rose Byrne as Leatherhead, Ice Cube as Superfly, Post Malone as Ray Fillet and Maya Rudolph as Cynthia Utrom.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem opens in theaters on Aug. 4.
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