TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES Exclusive: Shredder Actor Tohoru Masamune On His Comic Book Inspiration

We had the chance to speak with Artificial actor Tohoru Masamune, so of course we had to ask about his turn as Shredder in 2014's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie! Check out what he had to say below!

There have been several iterations of the "heroes in a half-shell" over the years, each bringing varying amounts of "turtle power." In 2014, Michael Bay began producing a series of live action movies which saw the villainous Shredder played by actor Tohoru Masamune (Heroes, Inception).

We recently snagged an exclusive chat with the actor to help support his role of Dr. Matt Lin in Twitch's boundary-pushing live-action scripted sci-fi series, Artificial. Of course, we wouldn't be Comic Book Movie if we didn't take the opportunity to ask about his time playing Shredder, and we learned quite a bit of interesting information!

It turns out that Masamune actually looked to the comic version of the villain when getting into character rather than the cartoon, and he also hangs out with one of the turtles in his free time! Check out what he had to say below.

If you're interested in hearing the audio component of the interview, click the podcast link and skip to 44:15 to hear us talk Shredder.

Literary Joe: I was wondering if you mind if I ask you a couple of questions about your time as Shredder in the 2014 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles?

Tohoru Masamune: Of course! It's always fun to talk Shredder!


Literary Joe: So what can you tell me about your experience playing the character?

Tohoru Masamune: Wow, that's a very big question. (Laughs)

Literary Joe: You're right. Let me break it down a little bit more for you. I know you also voice-acted in a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles animated series several years later. I'm curious if you're a fan of the franchise in general, then?

Tohoru Masamune: I can work with that. (Laughs) Yeah, those folks know me. I've worked with the folks over at Nickelodeon a bunch of times. They just kind of brought me in for some stuff that I thought would be fun, you know, for that recent one.

But I've done stuff with the casting people like Kung Fu Panda. So I've worked with them before and they brought me in and thought it would be fun if I did a few voices one morning.


But I actually go back, it's funny because I was very young in Massachusetts when they penned the first Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. I think they were in Maine at the time? So it's interesting, my connection with this goes back to the comic books.

And this might be interesting to add, I know a lot of people connect it with the cartoon, but my incarnation of Shredder I drew entirely from the comic books. That was where I went and it was nice because that was actually what they were looking for too. That one had sort of a dark vibe to it.

But I remember the time when a buddy of mine said "hey, they came up with this comic book called Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" and I remember thinking it was so wacky. I remember starting reading those.

I remember those first six episodes, and I think Shredder came out in the second one. And it's funny that I remember it, because who would have guessed, right?

Literary Joe: Right! So do you have a favorite turtle?

Tohoru Masamune: Yeah, I'm gonna say probably Donatello. It's hard to say, I mean it's hard to tell. It's such a great idea - the four brothers and how they're all different. And I thought they did a terrific job of showing that brotherhood. But yeah, I'm gonna say Donatello. I tend to get drawn to the nerd, I guess.


Literary Joe: Yeah, well I'm a Mikey guy, so I'm a loud nerd. I feel you.

Tohoru Masamune: (Laughs) There you go! And the other day I remember I went on a hike with Jeremy Howard who played the character of Donatello. And so before Corona I asked him if he wanted to go for a hike, and he said yeah, that'll be great.

And it was so funny because my first thought was "oh, wow, I'm gonna go on a hike with Donatello!" (Laughs) I got kind of excited.

*This interview has been edited for clarity.*

What do you think of Masamune's comments? Re-watch the trailer for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and check out Twitch's Artificial below, and be sure to share your thoughts in the usual spot!


As the fallout of Kira's investigation drives Dr. Lin into isolation, Elle and Justin move forward with the AI Lilith's development. The familiar faces of Zander and Carmen challenge the mission of the project by raising questions about the AI's past and future. How will Lilith adapt to all these conflicts? It's up to you.

Artificial is live and interactive every Thursday at 5pm PST on Twitch.

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