In case you missed it, or in case you’ve got better things to do than sit around stressing about what a possible Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie would be like (well la di da, Mr. Productive Guy), the script for the Michael Bay-produced reboot leaked online over the weekend. Production on that shut down back in June while the release was postponed to 2014, and still no word on whether the production team of Bay and director Jonathan Liebesman (of the execrable Battle Los Angeles) will still be working from the script by Josh Appelbaum and Andre Nemec. But I have to assume that the script, posted by TMNT fan site (ugh, how old are you?) TMNTnotTANT was real, as it got them a cease-and-desist letter from Paramount. So how bad does a script have to be for the studio that purposely hired the directors of Transformers and Battle Los Angeles for them to shut it down? For one thing, Shredder is now an Army Colonel named “Schrader,” and April O’Neal and Casey Jones are star-crossed lovers. I didn’t get a chance to finish the script before it got pulled, but Comic Book Movie summarizes:
18 year old Casey Jones is going nowhere in life. His friends have moved on. His girlfriend April O’ Neal has a prosperous career in NYC. He also works a security guard at a furniture factory. But all of that changes when one night, he stumbles upon a secret underground government hideout and finds four humanoid turtles. From there, he and the reptilian “mutants” uncover a plot to destroy Earth and are set on a course to discovering the Turtles’ secret past.
This script has a bad case of Spider-Man 3 syndrome. Too many villains and none of them given proper time to develop. There are 4 villains in this movie: Shredder (Here, a colonel named Schrader. God, shot me.), Krang (Who only has 2 lines of dialouge and doesn’t come in until the 3rd act.), Bebop, and Rocksteady. The latter two are the only ones who resemble and act like the versions fans know and love. Shredder is given the worst treatment of them all. He’s been so altered that the writers might as well just cut him and replace him with a new character. Splinter is okay, but he’s pretty weak. In every action scene where he’s present, he is always getting his ass kicked. [ComicBookMovie]
But honestly, who cares? If you’re a grown adult who was looking forward to a Ninja Turtles movie I don’t like you already, so don’t tell me how Michael Bay raped your childhood, okay? It’s clear your childhood already kind of sucked, save your adulthood before it’s too late. Still, the script is interesting in a wow-someone-was-actually-making-this kind of way. I got through about 30 pages, and a couple things struck me about it, examples of which I’ve provided on the following pages.
1. Swearing in the set directions. This is not a feature unique to this script, but I always find it strange and intriguing when people writing a PG movie with no swearing curse like sailors in their directions to the director and actors. Sam looked at the f*cking phone. He looked at that f*cking phone like it was the last c*cksucking phone on the tw*tsh*tting Earth. What the f*ck kind of dumb sh*thead could be calling Sam’s black ass at this hour? Adds to the hard-boiled vibe, I guess? I dunno, man.
2. Pop psychology in the set directions. Telling you what the characters are thinking in cheesy ways, etc. That’s cheating, bro.
3. General awkwardness of prose. I didn’t get a chance to screencap every instance of this, but the archaic wording of the whole thing reminded me of that Nic Cage voiceover in Raising Arizona – “The doctor said her womb was a rocky place where my seed could find no purchase.” Except, you know, adapted to a kids movie about alien turtles.
Wow, that must be quite a look. Going to be hard for the director to do that one justice. Also, “old young lovers?” Is there a Benjamin Button angle in this I don’t know about? I like to imagine two babies having graphic sex, but looking like seasoned professionals.
The Reservoir Dogs WERE cool. I can’t wait for MichaelAngelo’s rant about how Mr. Pink is like Mr. F*ggot and Donatello’s theory about how “Like a Virgin” is about a guy with a big dick.
Man, you know who loves Tarantino references? 10 year olds.
“Yolked.” Not muscular, but yolked. Not yoked, like oxen, but yolked, like an egg. And all so he can carry around a “big chip,” which I always understood as a part of your shoulder that had been chipped, like paint, or a fingernail. As in, something missing that leaves you wounded. But who knows, maybe it’s like this giant chocolate chip made of childhood slights that just sits there pissing you off? Plausible, I suppose.
“EYEF*CKS!” Eyef*ck is a set direction! AND it’s in all caps so you know it’s official. I wonder if the Care Bears movie script was like this. “WISH BEAR shot CHEER BEAR a glance, as if to say ‘I know your game, you c*nt. You’ve been using that greasy p*ssy of yours like a weapon since we were cubs.'”
Again, that’s a lot of damn psychology to fit into a couple two-second glances. But this part is important, it establishes a strong foundation for the buff anthropomorphic turtles who will eventually show up to karate kick terrorists.
WHAT THE F*CK WAS THAT??! Good thing he only thinks in swear words, that way it doesn’t affect the rating.
Okay, I know “bullsh*tting” is fairly standard, but still, I can’t help but imagine this whole thing is being written by Bruce Willis’s character in The Last Boy Scout. Hmm, how would a grizzled detective write these set directions…
So who’s going to play this “rugged 18-year-old?” Is Zac Efron too old? BooBoo Stewart, maybe? Nick Nolte is solid on the ruggedness, not so much on the “vestiges of boyish charm.” Dang, this one’s gonna be hard. You can see why they had to postpone it.