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TMNT

About The Production
The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles were created in 1984 by Peter Laird and Kevin Eastman. "TMNT” writer-director Kevin Munroe reveals, "They did it to spoof the world of superhero characters. The original comic book was published in black-and-white and only 3,000 copies were printed, which, much to everyone's surprise, sold out right away.”

Within a year, Laird and Eastman were approached with a toy license, which was followed by a cartoon television series and three live-action feature films over the course of nine years. The live-action films, released in the early 1990s, provided a brand-new TMNT experience for audiences around the world with state-of-the-art animatronics and expert martial arts choreography.

Producer Thomas K. Gray, who also served as producer on all three previous TMNT films, notes, "We wanted to take the Turtles to another level in film and do something we hadn't done before. For more than 20 years, they have been one of the most popular toys sold in several parts of the U.S. as well as Europe, Australia and in some Asian-Pacific countries. With the syndicated cartoon series doing great, and the comic book enjoying cult status, we wanted to give the fans something new.”

Even with the perennial success of the TMNT franchise, the film's producers still had the task of convincing the creators to grant them the rights to bring their heroic, sewer-dwelling bipeds back to the big screen.

Producer H. Galen Walker offers that in an early meeting with Peter Laird to pitch the idea for the new TMNT feature, "I was nervous, because Peter didn't really know me, and everybody from the company was waiting for an answer. So there we were, walking along, and as I was about to ask the big question, he puts his hand across my chest to stop me and says, ‘turtle.' I looked down, and saw this little turtle crossing our path!”

But, in spite of witnessing such serendipity, Walker didn't know that he had Laird's formal blessing until, he recalls, "I was on the airplane flying back, and I opened the book that Peter autographed for me. On the first page he wrote, ‘Let's make a movie, dude.'”

To re-imagine "TMNT” for a new generation, the producers turned to up-and-coming animation filmmaker Kevin Munroe. Gray comments, "Kevin came in and designed a great trailer for us. It was obvious that he loved the Turtles and we really liked his ideas. It turned out to be a beautiful fit.” Daring to go where no Turtles have gone before...

Production of "TMNT” took place over roughly 28 months, in two very different locations: Sherman Oaks in sunny Southern California and on the other side of the Pacific Ocean in Hong Kong. More than 300 artists were employed in Hong Kong and nearly 70 artists in Los Angeles. With the production offices separated by 7,000-plus miles, a project like this would have been almost inconceivable in the pre-high speed internet era.

However, with access to advanced video teleconferencing and highspeed point-to-point data transfers, Munroe says, "It felt like the Hong Kong office was just a click away. Also, because of the time difference, we could work around the clock. When it's five in the afternoon in LA, it's nine in the morning in Hong Kong, so we could teleconference at the end of our day, while they were just starting theirs.”

Walker notes, "Having a 24-hour production schedule allowed us to move faster. But, you know, not everyone in LA got to go home at the end of the day, since there would be issues from Hong Kong that needed to be addressed during their working hours—also known as our middle of the night. It was extremely taxing, but Kevin and the team handled it wonderfully, and the animators in Hong Kong were amazing.”

However, there were some barriers that were not so easily overcome by modern technology. <

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