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Michael Bay has earned an important, if tentative, endorsement in his maligned quest to re-engineer the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
The filmmaker, who has drawn the ire of the media, Turtles fans and even an original turtle voice actor, for his vague promise to make the heroes in a half shell in his film reboot not ooze-mutated reptiles but “from an alien race,” got the qualified backing of Peter Laird, one of the series co-creators, in a post to the comics legend’s blog.
Laird, who sold the property to Viacom a few years back and is not involved in the new film adaptation, wrote that fans have been asking him to intervene on Bay’s proposed changes. He doesn’t have that ability, he said, but doesn’t know that it would be necessary, either.
“I would actually encourage TMNT fans to swallow the ‘chill pill’ Mr. Bay recently suggested they take, and wait and see what might come out of this seemingly ill-conceived plan,” he wrote, referring to Bay’s terse, written response to the uproar. “It’s possible that with enough truly creative brainpower applied to this idea, it might actually work. I’m not saying it’s probable, or even somewhat likely… but it IS possible.”
In fact, Laird admitted that he had for years worked to find a way to add additional turtles to the mix without surrendering to the easy yet cheap story twist that there were more than the original, beloved four that were in the bowl that was contaminated with the toxic waste that turned the little shelled pets into Renaissance painter-inspired masked crime fighters.
“The reason I say it could be a ‘genius’ idea is that — for the first time — someone has come up with a way to have as many freakin’ Turtles as they want,” Laird continued. “I mean, if the TMNT are actually members of an alien race, there could be a whole PLANET of them!”
Laird doesn’t address whether he is one of the original creators with whom Bay promised fans he was working to maintain the integrity of the pizza-loving, sewer-dwelling, shelled ninja heroes, but he is more actively involved in the franchise than co-creator Kevin Eastman, who sold his stake to Laird years ago.
There may be sarcasm in Laird’s writing, but it’s far more supportive than what Robbie Rist, the actor who voiced the orange-masked Michelangelo, said about Bay’s intentions earlier in the week. Rist wrote in a letter, publicized by TMZ, that Bay was “sodomizing” the franchise and said that Bay was “raping” childhood memories.
On the bright side, Bay did get the support of Brian Tochi, who voiced Turtle leader Leonardo in the original films. “If Michael Bay wants to do a different take on the turtles origin story … mazel tov!” he said.
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