It was all about the cowabungas and pizza at the premiere of “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” at the Regency Village Theater in Los Angles on Sunday.
Star Will Arnett said growing up it was his little brother who was more of a fan of the turtles. “I was like 18 and I was probably more worried about girls or something.”
But now the dad of two said he’s fully immersed in Turtle. “It kind of fell out of my consciousness, but a few months before I met with these guys about the movie my kids got super into the Nickelodeon show. So when I went to meet with them I was totally down. I’ve seen so many episodes of them and I was like, ‘Yea, the turtles, yea this makes sense to me’ and I was weirdly a fan.”
Arnett plays opposite Megan Fox as cameraman Vern Fenwick. The always funny comedian couldn’t leave the jokes alone when asked if he brought himself into the character.
“I left Will Arnett on the cutting room floor. No, this character looks so much like me physically…” he joked.
Director Jonathan Liebesman said Arnett was a master comedian and described Fox as very brave and outspoken. “I’ve never seen a movie inspire so much talk back,” said Liebesman.
The director said that they used Fox’s outspoken nature in the character of April O’Neil. “That’s how she needed to be and I think she brought a hell of a lot of herself to that role and we benefited from it.”
A native of South Africa, Liebesman said his first memory of “TMNT” revolved around pizza. “Just the idea of eating pizza to me was a very American thing and we started eating a lot of pizza at school.” He hopes his fondness for the Turtles is reflected in the filmmaking. “I’m a fan first and foremost. I felt like what was important to fans was important to me. I wanted the cowabungas, the pizza, the characters to be exactly who they were,” he told Variety.
The turtle actors wore a unitard and shell on their backs, as well as face cameras and ping-pong balls for eyes. Noel Fisher, who plays Michelangelo, said talking with the surfer-dude dialect was fun. “I didn’t go full surfer dude with it, but I did want to add little bit of dude because, come on, he’s Mikey.”
Pete Ploszek played Leonardo, but Johnny Knoxville was the voice. “I like to think with the two of us, we built the best Leo we could,” said Ploszek.
Jeremy Howard said that Donatello is the smart one of the group. “We were joking the other day, if someone had to pay the bills it’s gotta be Donatello. No one else is going to think about it,” he said. “Jonathan Liebesman was pushing me to be nerdier. Of course I wanted to bust out some dudes and cowabungas, but that was more Noel’s wheelhouse.”
After the premiere, guests including Fox, Bella Thorne, DeAndre Jordan, William Fichtner, producer Michael Bay, Brian Austin Green, Jordana Brewster, Par’s Brad Grey, Sumner Redstone and Rob Moore attended the afterparty.
The block party set up outside was all about the turtles. Kids had a chance to sit in their lair, eat pizza and get ninja training.
Paramount’s “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” hits theaters Aug. 8
(Pictured: Will Arnett, Megan Fox, producer Michael Bay and director Jonathan Liebesman at the “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” L.A. premiere)