EXCLUSIVE: ComicBookMovie Sits Down With TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES Star Pete Ploszek

<font color=red>EXCLUSIVE:</font> ComicBookMovie Sits Down With TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES Star <font color=blue>Pete Ploszek</font>

With Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out Of The Shadows now out on Blu-ray & DVD, we were granted an exclusive opportunity to catch up with one of the film's stars. Come take a look!

Two years ago, I spoke with three of the stars from newly rebooted live-action Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and last week, to promote yesterday's 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray, & DVD release of the film's sequel - Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out Of The Shadows - I was given an exclusive chance to catch up with one of them, Pete Ploszek, who provides the voice and mo-cap performance for the leader of the Heroes in a Half-Shell, Leonardo.

We were able to touch on a variety of different subjects as we recapped his return to Leonardo and the bigger-and-better second adventure. He also shares his thoughts on where he'd like to see his character go from here, a key fight from 2007's animated TMNT, his upcoming turn as a villain on MTV's Teen Wolf, and the possibility of a third Turtles film to close out the trilogy. Check out our conversation below:

Rohan (CBM): So, to get started, what was it like stepping back into this role? Did it come easier to you versus the first time? Or did new challenges present themselves?

Pete Ploszek: Yeah, I think it was a combination of both. Obviously, the familiarity with the technology and all the mo-cap work along with our dynamic as a cast to get to come back a second time with the same people, same cast, same filmmaker. That’s just awesome. And you can really hit the ground running and build on what you did the first go-round, so that really helped us tell the story. But then of course there are new set pieces, new sequences – we were telling a bigger story this time around, so obviously you gotta step-up and deliver that, so yeah, it was a fun time with a little extra something too.

Rohan (CBM): I remember when we spoke the first time that you mentioned how you and the other guys went through a few weeks of specialized weapons training? This time around, did you have to do a refresher course or did a lot of it just come back to you?

Pete: This time around, we did a little bit, a little refresher course, but beyond that, the stunt team knew what we could do and what they could do. And so again, them just letting us open and close fights with certain beats and then letting those guys do all the hard work and make us look good.

Rohan (CBM): On the first film, Johnny Knoxville provided the voice for Leonardo, but this time around, you were able to do both mo-cap and the voiceover work. Did it affect your performance in any way, or well, did you approach it any differently than before or did it all feel pretty natural considering you are providing the voice when reading lines during your mo-cap performance.

Pete: Yeah, exactly, that’s why nothing really changed this go-round. As a foursome, we all kinda lean on each other to tell the story, to help each other out, call each other out if something wasn’t working, and we can make something better, cleaner, more fun and so it’s really a collaborative effort in that sense. Getting to do the voice made it all that much sweeter.

Rohan (CBM): Yeah, I remember the three of you having a really great rapport, even on the phone, so when production kicked off, were you able to pick up from where you left off?

Pete: Exactly, yeah, and this time around, it helped even more as we had a really clear sense of the tone of the movie and we were really aware of how far we wanted to push the fun and the revelry and the whole joke of the turtle universe. I think the Turtles are always sort of inside of the joke, they get it, so us being able to embrace it this time around and just go for it really helps. It made this a better experience the second time around.

Rohan (CBM): Like you mentioned, you guys more or less went all-out this time around – Krang, Shredder, Bebop, Rocksteady, Casey Jones. I remember the last time we spoke, you hadn’t read the script yet, so when you did eventually get the first script, what were you thinking when you read it and saw that you were about to introduce all of these classic characters and make something that would be really awesome for fans.

Pete: I got that sort of childhood feel, giddy excitement, opening up that toy box as a kid, pulling out all your action figures and basically everything is fair game. It’s just exciting as an actor to take on those villains and tell all of those different stories. We have as much fun on set as you can imagine. I mean if you’re not having fun on a Turtles set, then you’re really screwed.

Rohan (CBM): Shifting gears a bit, this film had a ton of cameos from supermodels to NBA players and while I don’t think the Turtles exactly got to share a scene with any of them, what was it like having people like Carmelo Anthony or Alessandra Ambrosio on-set, what was that environment like? Had to have been pretty exciting.

Pete: Yeah, you know as Turtles, we never actually got to overlap with any of the cameos, but we hear about it and they show us the dailies, so it was pretty exciting, just having that exciting feel to the set. These sports figures, they all want to take part in it and that’s just exciting. That’s some indication that you’re doing something right. So, that just sort of builds the energy. We had athletes visit the set, a lot of key New York athletes, that’s a blast and it feels so good to kinda reinvigorate the franchise and share it with people again. We actually did get to briefly meet Judith Hoag, who played the original April O’Neil, and who was awesome. That’s who I grew up with and I think we all sort of had a crush on her growing up because she was the OG April and she was the coolest, sweetest, kindest person around. So, it was fun getting to hear the stories from her and get to share that with her.

Rohan (CBM): Your action sequences were really top-notch this time. The car chase at the beginning, the skydiving, the river chase, which I believe some of it was shot on-location?

Pete: Yes! Some of it was, yes. So, in that sequence, all of the environment and backdrops, the water, was all shot with plates on-location. A crew went down, headed by Pablo Helman, to shoot all of that and we later shot all of our work on a mo-cap stage.

Rohan (CBM): So, which sequence did you have the most fun filming?

Pete: The car chase was awesome. They shot all of that in Buffalo and we were on a stage with the entire dump truck built for us, so everything you see there is real. Now, of course, we’re in a truck on stilts, not really moving at all, so there are challenges with that, imagining all these things moving by, all these helicopters flying overhead, but that’s pure play, that’s being a kid again. If you ever made sounds as a kid, shooting a toy gun, you know ‘pew pew pew,’ like that’s what it was. A full day of that.

Rohan (CBM): On another note, I don’t know if you’ve seen the TMNT film from 2007, the animated one.

Pete: Yeah, yeah, I have seen it.

Rohan (CBM): Nice, there’s this really great fight sequence between Leo & Raph, in the rain, and it’s just really them going at it. And I was just wondering what are your thoughts on possibly recreating that sequence and/or doing something similar for live-action with Alan Ritchson in a potential third film?

I remember that sequence, I’m pretty sure Raph wins at the end too and kind of gives Leo a bit to think about. I’d love that, that relationship is such an important part of the Turtle story and that’s why we see it come up time and time again, on the show, in the movies, and we have to keep it fresh because people see Leo & Raph argue and it’s like ‘here we go again’ and so as an actor, there’s always a challenge in putting a fresh spin on it, trying to inject something new. It’s a big struggle to be able to do that type of rooftop sequence and keep it new, but it's such a gorgeous sequence and to get to be able to do that in mo-cap live-action, like they can add that rain in after, it would be so awesome.

Rohan (CBM): Yeah, I think it came out when I was a freshman in high school, and I remember just thinking that was a really cool scene.

Pete: Yeah, yeah, and I think it really tells a story too of their relationship and they’re both great fighters and in their own ways are very capable leaders and they both step up and determine in the right moment which kind of leadership is necessary, you know leading by example or leading by the mind as a tactician, so it’s great to kind of take all of that into account when we’re shooting.

Rohan (CBM): Speaking of a potential third film, have you heard anything yet?

Pete: Not yet. As far as I’m concerned, there are people a lot higher up the food chain making those decisions, so we’re waiting to hear and I know that we’re all excited to keep doing these and I'm dying to get back in the same room with those four guys.

Rohan (CBM): Yeah I can imagine, and since you haven't heard anything yet, is there any specific direction you’d like to see your character go in a hypothetical third film?

Pete: Oh man, that’s a great question. I think what we were successful at this time around was telling sort of the emotional story of these brothers and their relationship with their family. And to continue to raise those stakes and continue to show these guys as very real and grounded and emotional brothers that love each other and hate each other and fight in equal measure, that’s the good stuff to me, that’s how this story expands beyond just the jokes and the play and all the fun stuff.

Rohan (CBM): So final question, have you taken any souvenirs from set? Like maybe one of your katanas?

I’ve got my practice katanas from the first film, that I’ll swing around from time to time, but outside of that, we didn’t really take anything. I’m not sure. A lot of the stuff has to be preserved for reshoots or pickups and so they keep a close eye on us to make sure we don’t try to take anything off the wall, but if we get to do a third one, I’m going to have that at the top of the list.

Rohan (CBM): Definitely. Well, it was great speaking to you again and hopefully we can do this again sometime in the future.

Pete: Yeah, Rohan, really appreciate it man. I love what you guys do over there at ComicBookMovie. Always the first to break a lot of things. Keep up the good work.

Rohan (CBM): Thanks, and good luck on Teen Wolf. I've heard good things and I caught the trailer the other day and you looked pretty scary.

Pete: Thanks, yeah, I’m really excited. It’s such a fun show and they’re really, with this being their final year, pushing the envelope and I got a chance to play a Nazi werewolf, so it’s fun to mix things up a little bit from the Boy Scout I'm usually playing to this character I’m playing that’s a really nasty guy, so that’ll be fun.

Raphael, Leonardo, Donatello, and Michelangelo are back to battle bigger, badder villains, alongside April O'Neil and a newcomer: the hockey-masked vigilante Casey Jones. After supervillain Shredder escapes custody, he joins forces with two dimwitted henchmen, Bebop and Rocksteady, to unleash a diabolical plan to take over the world. As the Turtles prepare to take on Shredder and his new crew, they find themselves facing an even greater threat with similar intentions: the notorious Krang.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2 features:
Director: Dave Green
Alan Ritchson as Raphael
Pete Ploszek as Leonardo
Noel Fisher as Michelangelo
Jeremy Howard as Donatello
Megan Fox as April O'Neil
Stephen Amell as Casey Jones
Will Arnett as Vern Fenwick
Danny Woodburn/Tony Shalhoub as Splinter
William Fichtner as Eric Sacks
Brian Tee as The Shredder
Tyler Perry as Baxter Stockman
Brittany Ishibashi as Karai
Laura Linney as Rebecca Vincent
Brad Garrett as Krang
Gary Anthony Williams as Bebop
Stephen "Sheamus" Farrelly as Rocksteady
Alessandra Ambrosio as herself
Judith Hoag in an undisclosed role
Carmelo Anthony as himself
DeAndre Jordan as himself
J. J. Redick as himself
Austin Rivers as himself
Matt Barnes as himself
Spencer Hawes as himself

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2 is out on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray, & DVD NOW!

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