Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles recasts Leonardo and Splinter

News Matt Edwards 4 Apr 2014 - 10:55

Johnny Knoxville and Tony Shalhoub are set to join the voice cast of the Michael Bay-overseen Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles...

In ten years, when everyone has some distance from it, we might be lucky enough to get a documentary about the production of the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles film. There must be some stories to tell. Production delays, leaks, script rewrites and now new casting just four months out from release.

According to Deadline, who broke the story, two new actors are joining the cast to provide the voices of mo-capped characters Leonardo and Splinter. It’s also worth noting that Deadline suggests that Paramount had always considered voice recasting a possibility for the film. So, while late casting may look bad, this may be less a production flap than a decision that was scheduled to be made further into the production, once they had a better idea of what the film and characters looked like. So who have they cast?

Leonardo will now sound exactly Jackass hero and The Last Stand actor Johnny Knoxville. According to the law, if you’re going to cast Johnny Knoxville you have to give his character at least one good belly laugh, as the man has the most infectious laugh in cinema. Quick Michelangelo, tell Leo a joke! While Knoxville might sound like a strange choice for the more straight-laced Leonardo, comedy actor Jason Biggs currently voices Leonardo in the Nickelodeon cartoon to great effect. This casting may also offer us some insight into the tone of the film.

Tony Shalhoub will provide the voice of the Ninja Turtles’ mutant rat sensei and father figure Splinter. Shalhoub is well known for his role as TV detective Monk and appeared as a frequent scene stealer in Michael Bay’s Pain & Gain last year.

The first trailer for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was released last week. You can watch it here and, if you get confused, you can read our trailer breakdown here. You may note that Splinter does not appear in the trailer and that Leonardo has no dialogue.


Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comes out in the US on 8th August, with the UK release following on October 17th. Check back for more news as it becomes available.

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Don't voices have to be recorded before the animation is done to make it match up properly? I could be wrong.

If they have already mo-capped the physical actors' facial movements, then the dubbing actors can attempt to match the performance as much as possible. If I remember correctly, that is what they did with El Macho after Al Pacino quit "Despicable me 2".

Is this a joke?

Tony Shalhoub as Splinter? I see great potential in that casting choice, because Shalhoub's voice has a quality that reminds me of Peter Renaday's portrayal of Splinter.

I guess, and there is probably time to redo certain bits of animation.

knoxville is a turd

The new version of the trailer shoehorns in a Knoxville voiced line of dialogue just before the kersplat. For better or worse, they're committed to this change.

Knoxville's voice is actually good and distinctive. The only issue I will have is if he gets to be Johnny Knoxville as Leonardo. Leonardo was always the more sensible one, torn between being a teenager and holding the burden of leading. I have TMNT comics from the early days of Eastman and Laird, I hope whoever is consulting has the cahoonas to stand up to Bay!

Knoxville sounds awfully like a younger George Clooney. Seriously.

No, that's your whiny posts, sunshine.

So for the ultra serious, respectful, dedicated leader...
* Sighs *

You never know, but in the best scenario Knoxville could do a "Tom Hanks" with the role and show himself to be quite adept at drama. Comedy is a lot harder than dramatic acting, so there is a possibility that he could get it to work.

Agreed. I for one hope they have the same or at least similar distinctive personalities as they did i the 1990s films

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