“We have a better idea of the tone of the movie,” Megan Fox says on the set of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out Of The Shadows. “It’s going to be a lot lighter and more fun than the first time around. Obviously, it’s a sequel, so the action is bigger and the budget is bigger. We’ve got a better story too, so there’s no way that it’s not going to be a better movie.”
Though this sequel once again very much belongs to Leonardo, Donatello, Michelangelo, and Raphael, the pizza-loving heroes in a half-shell who rise from the sewers of New York City to put the rising crime rate in a choke-hold, Fox is still front-and-almost-centre as April O’Neil, the plucky reporter who is never too far away from the action. “I like that in this movie we’re playing into her assertiveness a little bit more,” says Fox. “She’s not antagonistic, but she likes to give the guys a hard time, and that’s something that I do every once in a while, so I identify with that and enjoy those things about her. She’s resilient. I like that she’s strong, and I like that she’s a lone wolf. That’s a positive thing to encourage in young girls because thus far in history, we’ve been raised to be the other half of a partnership. It’s good to encourage girls to stray away from that, and to learn who they are and be their own person and not worry about boyfriends and husbands.”
Has April changed at all in the sequel? “On the first one, she was so angsty,” Fox sighs. “She was like, ‘Oh, I don’t want to be doing this type of reporting, it’s so beneath me.’ But this time, she’s happy with what she’s doing and there’s an opportunity to climb the ladder in this vocation. And she’s weighing that option of whether that is actually something that she even wants anymore. She thought that was who she was, but maybe it’s not.”
Another big change for April O’Neil is the introduction of the iconic Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comic book character, Casey Jones, the hockey mask-wearing street vigilante and Turtles ally who dispenses his own brand of criminal justice courtesy of a golf bag filled with baseball bats, golf clubs, cricket bats, and hockey sticks. And pulling on the hockey mask is none other than actor, Stephen Amell, who knows more than a little about superhero vigilantism through playing Oliver Queen on the popular TV series, Arrow. “I do everyone’s astrology,” Fox says of how she feels out her new cast members. “I don’t get to say, ‘You don’t get to cast that person because they’re a Scorpio or whatever.’ But I do the astrology just so I know what I’m dealing with. The actors who play the turtles call me a witch because I know everything about them, and they don’t like that. But that’s how I navigate this scenario. Being the only girl on a set of men, you have to have the power, and that’s how I get it.”
Does April get romantic with Casey Jones? “He is a love interest of sorts,” Fox replies. “He’s a new guy who enters into what was previously a love triangle, and now you get Casey in there and everyone’s vying for her affection. But she’s not focused on any of that, she’s focused on her current mission. But we have a bit of banter and fun.”
Also new to the franchise is Dave Green (Earth To Echo), who takes over the directorial reins from Jonathan Liebesman. “David is really soft spoken and he’s very thoughtful and patient,” Fox says of her new helmer, a far different proposition than her Transformers director, Michael Bay, with whom the actress famously but briefly feuded. “The energy from being the captain of the ship allows for the rest of us to be really comfortable, and you get a much better creative experience. Some people think that in order to spark the creativity of the crew and talent, you have to be antagonising or lead them into it, but I feel that’s more harmful than good. And for David to just give us our space and be a good listener, that allows us to be our best selves.”
To what does Megan Fox attribute the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles films’ success? “Movies are about an escape,” the actress replies. “It’s an experience that is supposed to take you out of your reality for a certain period of time, whether that’s because it’s frightening, or because the adventure is so big or because it’s so romantic or so heartbreaking. It’s provocative in one way or another, and that removes you from yourself. And when a movie accomplishes that, people love that and enjoy that. That’s what a movie is supposed to be. We’re not supposed to pick things apart and be so brutal when we go and see a movie about a dinosaur theme park or turtles that do karate. We’re just supposed to have fun.”
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out Of The Shadows will be released in cinemas on June 9.