TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES: MUTANT MAYHEM Interview With Franchise Co-Creator Kevin Eastman (Exclusive)

TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES: MUTANT MAYHEM Interview With Franchise Co-Creator Kevin Eastman (Exclusive)

With Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem now available on Digital, franchise creator Kevin Eastman talks to us about his thoughts on the reboot, the movie's biggest surprise, his cameo, and more!

By JoshWilding - Sep 11, 2023 11:09 AM EST
Source: Toonado.com

In Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem, after years of being sheltered from the human world, the Turtle brothers set out to win the hearts of New Yorkers and be accepted as normal teenagers through heroic acts. Their new friend April O’Neil helps them take on a mysterious crime syndicate, but they soon get in over their heads when an army of mutants is unleashed upon them.

The movie is now available to buy or rent on Digital, and last week, we had the privilege of speaking with the co-creator of these iconic characters, Kevin Eastman, to get his take on the critically acclaimed animated blockbuster. 

In May 1984, Eastman and Peter Laird self-published the first black & white issue of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles as a forty-page oversized comic that had an initial print run of only 3,275 copies after being largely funded by a $1,000 loan from Eastman's uncle. It didn't take long for fans to embrace the awesome foursome and the franchise has since become a global phenomenon with multiple big and small screen adaptations. 

Mutant Mayhem is already being hailed as the best one yet and when we sat down to talk with Kevin, we heard from him on what Mutant Mayhem brings to the franchise, the movie's unexpected twist ending, his memorable cameo appearance, and much more. 

Take a look at our full interview with the legendary Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles creator in the player below. 

Mutant Mayhem delivers both an exciting and incredibly faithful take on these characters, but I’m curious to begin with what it was you, their co-creator, most appreciated when you finally got to sit down and watch the movie?

I think, honestly, it was [the story] being told from the same place of love and passion that Peter [Laird] and I told the original stories from. You can tell that Jeff [Rowe], Seth [Rogen], and Evan [Goldberg] love this concept. It wasn’t like, ‘Hey, let’s pick some popular themes, throw them in a blender, and see what comes out.’ They really wanted to take their favourite moments, the heart and soul, and family, and emotional aspects - which are so critical to telling a good story - and carefully crafted something that not only told a great story but resonated with having teenagers do the voices of the Turtles. It was so organically, beautifully blended together in a place where you just enjoy it with a grin on your face the whole time and say, ‘Oh my God, this is fantastic.’ I love it.

The way the movie ends sets up a pretty wild new status quo for these characters as they leave the sewers and head for school - how did you feel about that development? 

Well, it’s definitely [different]. It’s something where we always loved the secrecy and secret identity of different characters like Spider-Man. He was obviously a big inspiration when it comes to having a teenager in high school, but we have tried a few concepts even on Nickelodeon where they’d have a cloaking device which made them look like teenagers and they’d go out for a Pizza Friday thing. But it’s always been on the cusp and we’ve never found a way to make it would that would be acceptable. I think because of the pop culture-isms of there being so many comic book universe stories that have been done in a way that’s it’s becoming more accepted, you can now cross that line and make it more of an accepted thing than you could have done even five or ten years ago. I think the timeliness of it was right and it was an idea we wanted to try, even adding a female Turtle into some of the original comics that we’re still working on. The timing was right and I think it works real good. It feels story-first, organic, and not forced. It feels like it was meant to be that way. 

This is one of, if not the, best-reviewed movie of the year; what’s it been like to see Turtlemania run wild and to think there are a lot of people out there who will soon discover your and Peter’s work for the first time?

When I use the word humbling, it’s true and it’s appropriate. I think even when Nickelodeon brought back the 2012 animated series, it was right after the comic series we’d released in 2011 but that really set up the animated series. It could have quite easily failed and not found its mark with the younger audience, so the fact it did start to resonate with them…these young people have found something really special about it and had no history with them before. They fell in love with it and something clicked. Here we are now and it’s been over ten years since that series heading into 2023 and we have this new thing. We do ten to fifteen comic shows a year and it’s seeing whole families coming dressed up as the Turtles, from mom down to the kids and they have a love for our characters. It’s pretty emotional. It’s cool. 

You get your own Stan Lee-style cameo here, so what did that scene mean to you and how was it stepping into the recording booth? 

You know, kudos to them. I have great appreciation and admiration for the creative team because they could have had me standing there selling a newspaper or something but they made it a moment where, in a movie based around Splinter’s issues with the humans, and for me to then be a human that helps them…it was just a beautifully poignant scene and really respectful. I appreciate them thinking of me to do that because it was emotional and great. I was pretty excited and very grateful. 

We’ve now seen a lot of film and television adaptations of this franchise, but what are your thoughts on what Mutant Mayhem adds to their on-screen legacy?

I think you touched on it a bit earlier with the accessibility and freshness to it. One of the most unique ideas in the movie I thought was the creation of the Turtles and the mutation process with the ‘Ooooze’ - it rolls off the tongue [Laughs] - with the other mutant characters they’ve created. It gives us a storytelling platform that’s unique to itself and the Mayhem Universe, but it also creates this wonderful platform and bond to tell lots of different stories. Yeah, man, I guess it’s just exciting to think about the possibilities of where it can go and, to me, as a fan and a proud dad and co-parent, I’m excited to see what comes next. 

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem is now available to buy or rent on Digital.

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SATW42 - 9/11/2023, 11:28 AM
this is where incels mad about april's design come in and say the original creator of the turtles who created these characters is wrong.
Imprtracr1 - 9/11/2023, 12:18 PM
Watched it at home with my fam yesterday and .. it's not that great.

The OG's are far superior. TBF I didn't like the CGI entry that came after the Henson films either.
ObserverIO - 9/11/2023, 1:38 PM
@Imprtracr1 - I prefer the 2007 CG movie to the new one. Obviously the new one is way more expressionistic and innovative, style-wise, but the 2007 movie at least 'gets' the turtles.

I saw Mutant Mayhem three times in cinemas, so I don't hate it. Mostly I'm just happy that it has found some success (although I think that success may be mostly fabricated).

The 1990 movie will always be the best. You say 'Henson' movies, but I think it's an important distinction that Jim Henson only did the first one. It was maybe his last dramatic work and I think he nailed it. Together with director Steve Baron they created sequences in which the turtles and Splinter were shot as if they were serious dramatic actors rather than clowns in costumes entertaining children (like the work Brian Henson did on the very inferior sequel).
Imprtracr1 - 9/11/2023, 1:45 PM
@ObserverIO - Fair and accurate.
Imprtracr1 - 9/11/2023, 1:47 PM
@ObserverIO - which brings me to my desire of having a live action, practical effects and suits version which does indeed treat the material as respectable and dramatic to make it back onto the big screen as it should be.

Not this current crop or the Michael Bay BS
dragon316 - 9/11/2023, 1:57 PM
@Imprtracr1 - have to agree with you turtle scenes made movie good everything else bad
dragon316 - 9/11/2023, 1:59 PM
@Imprtracr1 - bay was producer not director and those versions better than mutant mayhem any day it had shredder bebop rocksteady krang techno drone Raphael temper which never showed well in past movies except for tmnt movie
ObserverIO - 9/11/2023, 1:45 PM
Such a shame we never got that Last Ronin movie or series because Nickleodeon were so obsessed with getting their version out. The kid demographic has been their white whale since they acquired the franchise.

Maybe someone should point out to them that the majority of TMNT toys that have been sold this year as part of their promotional campaign have been toys based on the comics versions or the older cartoons and movies, sold almost exclusively to the adult fanbase of die-hard fans.
dragon316 - 9/11/2023, 2:00 PM
@ObserverIO - some of series made for kids have been successful nick show Donnie have crush on April , series before that one
ObserverIO - 9/11/2023, 4:07 PM
@dragon316 - those are the best two cartoons imo.
2013venjix - 9/11/2023, 8:43 PM
@ObserverIO - I've said this many times, It'll be a long time before we see A proper TMNT (film or TV) adaptation based on the Mirage Studios comics.

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