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: