The New ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ Were Modeled After Bill Murray?

Screenrant interviewed Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles director Jonathan Liebesman on the set of the movie, where he showed them full-sized busts of the creepy new Turtles and described them as being modeled after public figures. None were modeled after Vince Vaughn eating pizza, which seems like a missed opportunity.

Here are the public figures which Liebesman said inspired the look of the Turtles and Splinter, along with side-by-side comparisons primarily using screencaps from the videos we posted yesterday.

Leonardo = Russell Crowe + Nelson Mandela = Profit?

Liebesman told Screenrant the leader of the Turtles was modeled after real-life leader Nelson Mandela, specifically his lips. (We’re not seeing the resemblance, but okay.) He also said Leonardo’s eyes were based on a guy who’s played a leader in several movies, Russell Crowe. Just don’t tell Crowe; he’ll want to fight about the eye color not matching.

Michelangelo = Bill Murray

Mikey is the funniest Turtle, and Bill Murray is just the damn greatest. We don’t really see the resemblance, but you could certainly choose worse inspirations.

Donatello = Leonard Nimoy

The best Turtle (you heard me) is supposed to have what Liebesman called a “Spock kind of thing”. Logical.

Raphael = Clint Eastwood

Raph is the rebel, so Liebesman wanted him to remind us of The Man With No Name from Sergio Leone’s Dollars Trilogy. He even chews on a toothpick in lieu of a cigar. No word on whether or not he’ll carry on any conversations with an empty chair.

Splinter = Toshiro Mifune

Liebesman likely took inspiration from Toshiro Mifune in Seven Samurai, or at least his up-do hairstyle. He told Screenrant the rat sensei’s hairstyle is “from a Kurosawa movie”. He makes mad films.

Now let’s go to the Turtles and Splinter of our childhood to see what they think of the redesign: