While the world goes mental over Michael Bay's use of the word alien (which remember can also mean "atypical" or "foreign" particularly if you're Sting) in reference to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, I'd like to take issue with three other words in his reveal of the upcoming Winter 2013 redo of the Turtles property. Here's the contentious statement:
When you see this movie, kids are going to believe, one day, that these turtles actually do exist when we are done with this movie. These turtles are from an alien race and they are going to be tough, edgy, funny and completely lovable.
Ignoring for now the ridiculousness of the first part, and glossing over the "alien race" issue, let's look at the last six words, and three in particular: "edgy" and "completely lovable". Two words as hap together as "Pork" and "Ice Cream". "Edgy" is one thing, but to be "completely lovable" at the same time takes some doing. Imagine Baloo the Bear from the Jungle Book telling you to fuck off - I'm pretty sure that's about as close as you'd ever likely get to a perfect mix of the two terms. You can't often be both, but there are a few choice names out there who just about marry the two characteristics up: used to saying and doing some pretty outrageous, socially atypical shit, but with winning enough smiles and demeanours to still make everyone swoon. And here they are...
Russell Crowe is Leonardo
The angry Antipodean reportedly loves a scrap, and has the correct majesty and poise to pull of a performance as the Turtles' fearless leader Leonardo. He has that lovable rogue thing about him, like a cheeky farmhand who left the gate open, but has such lovely manly features, and sparkly eyes that you just can't punish him. Or something.
James Franco is Raphael
Attitude, swagger and charisma: that's what Raphael needs (remember the cartoon theme tune: "Raphael is cool but rude"), and based on his sociopathic attempt at presenting the Oscars last year, Franco has that blend in spades. He'd also fill the "young stud" quota for the cast.
Chris Rock is Michelangelo
Rather than casting someone with questionable intelligence - as would surely be the temptation for the "party dude" fourth member of the Merry Turtle Squad, as they have never ever been referred to - Bay could do worse than cast edgy US comic, and sometimes actor Rock, who would bring attitude and humour to the role. And possibly some M-F Bombs, if we're all lucky.
Russell Brand is Donatello
The British comedian (and occasional philosophical activist and warrior) is as about edgy as they come at the minute, lacing his comedy routines with political and social satire and making no effort to disguise when he's having a pop at someone. Now that he's back on the market after his marriage to Katy Perry, we can probably expect a resurgence of his much-publicised Hellraiser side (though without the naughty substances) as well. But, he remains lovable, thanks to an Artful Dodger style charm, and the crucial ability to make people laugh despite the barbed nature of what he is often saying. He'd be great as the intellectual, inventor type Donatello, and would bring some much needed dandiness to the whole project. And what about the rest of the cast? What is the two defining characteristics were transferred over to include the Turtles most notorious enemies and cohorts?
Nick Nolte is Splinter
Lovable? Well, he does look a bit like Santa... Edgy? Are you kidding me? Not a day goes by without a large proportion of the world wondering what sort of "situation" Nolte has gotten himself into...
Sarah Silverman is April O'Neill
Lovable? Face of a particularly innocent looking angel, butter wouldn't melt demeanour... Edgy? Mouth like a toilet and one of the most endearingly provocative stand-ups currently working.
Gary Busey is The Shredder
Lovable? Against all logic, Busey is a cult figure, who is loved across the world (or feared, I'm not actually sure which) thanks to a"winning" smile and generally interesting face. Edgy? Well, that whole mental health situation makes him pretty fucking edgy.
Ricky Gervais and Karl Pilkington are Bebop and Rocksteady.
Lovable? Gervais gets away with murder thanks to his gleaming grin, and cheeky-chappy shtick, and side-kick Pilkington is as cute as a moronic button. Edgy? He might have calmed down for this year's Golden Globes but Ricky clearly doesn't care what anyone thinks of his material (See: the "Mong" situation), and Pilkington makes no effort to appease anyone, regardless of the subject matter. His tirade against charity is a particularly fine example. What a prospect that would be.
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