Kevin Munroe has just finished up his first feature length project as writer/director of TMNT. The Turtles first captured his attention in 1995 when he picked up a copy of “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” from a Canadian used comic bin. He fell in love with the story and concepts then and there, but was in the right place at the right time when he landed the director’s chair in 2004.
“When I went to meet with the co-creators of the Turtles, I brought issue one because I figured, worst case, I’ll get my first issue signed if I don’t get the job. He handed me back the book at the end and driving back to the airport I open it up and there was a picture of Raf and the note ‘Dear Kevin, make a good movie or else!’ and that’s how I found out I got the job.”
His biggest challenge has been to make a movie that would appeal to both Turtles fans and newcomers to the franchise. To that end this story is about the family. It picks up where all the adventures have left off and they’ve now grown apart. But monsters are attacking the world! So they must figure out how to come back together. “It’s all about brothers,” says Munroe, “especially Leo and Raf. They both want the same thing, but one is doing it in a very noble way and the other has become a vigilante.”
Mako, who voices Master Splinter, was the one and only obvious choice for The Turtles’ sensei and adoptive father, says Munroe. Mako died five months after completing his recordings in 2006 and there is a dedication to him at the end of the movie.
TMNT, featuring the voices of Patrick Stewart, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Chris Evans, Ziyi Zhang and Kevin Smith, opens in theaters on March 23.
Munroe’s next movie is Gatchaman, a Japanese anime-style feature with western story appeal, due to appear in 2008.