Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem – Seth Rogen interview

‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles – Mutant Mayhem’ Morning Gala Screening took place in London yesterday as the MarkMeets team attended the premiere.

Seth Rogen has been deeply involved in bringing Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem to the screen, but he also voices one of the movie’s key characters!

In Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem, after years of being sheltered from the human world, the Turtle brothers set out to win the hearts of New Yorkers and be accepted as normal teenagers through heroic acts. Their new friend April O’Neil helps them take on a mysterious crime syndicate, but they soon get in over their heads when an army of mutants is unleashed upon them.

The animated outing has cast real-life teenagers as the four titular heroes, with the Ninja Turtles set to be voiced by The Walking Dead: World Beyond and The Unicorn star Nicolas Cantu as Leonardo, Meet the Voxels star Micah Abbey as Donatello, The Chi star Shamon Brown Jr. as Michelangelo, and finally The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers star Brady Noon as Raphael.

Alongside them, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem has amassed a stellar supporting cast that includes Jackie Chan as Master Splinter, Ayo Edebiri as April O’Neil, Seth Rogen as Bebop, John Cena as Rocksteady, Hannibal Buress as Genghis Frog, Rose Byrne as Leatherhead, Ice Cube as Superfly, Post Malone as Ray Fillet, Paul Rudd as Mondo Gecko, Maya Rudolph as Cynthia Utrom, Natasia Demetriou as Wingnut, and Giancarlo Esposito as Baxter Stockman.

Like any kid growing up in the 1980s, Seth Rogen wanted to be a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle. “I grew up with them. And I grew up loving them,” Rogen tells Den of Geek. “I could not have absorbed it more thoroughly.”

Decades after yelling “Cowabunga!” in his family’s living room, Rogen is now a Hollywood mainstay involved in cult classics and mega-hits alike. You may know him best from R-rated comedies like Superbad, Pineapple Express, and This Is the End. But Rogen can be seen – and heard – in family movies too, like Kung Fu Panda and Disney’s The Lion King, and adult dramas like Steven Spielberg’s The Fabelmans.

In Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem, which includes Rogen as writer, producer, and one of its stars, Bebop and Rocksteady (voiced by John Cena) appear as the muscle for ambitious crime lord Superfly (Ice Cube). Den of Geek spoke to Rogen to get the rundown on his warthog.

Seth said “I grew up watching Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. The animated series came out in 1987 when I was five years old. And then the live action movie came out in 1990. I was eight. So it was perfectly geared towards someone my age, and I loved it. They were funny; they made a lot of references I honestly didn’t understand, and in retrospect were even outdated by the time they were making them. I started taking karate [classes] probably because of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. My dad bought me nunchucks because of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. I was just kind of obsessed with them.”

Why are you playing Bebop?

I only play warthog-type creatures. I had this funny idea of Bebop and Rocksteady being two angry, New York bros. I love John Cena and so yeah…. Whether I was Bebop or Rocksteady was ultimately, you know, somewhat interchangeable in my head. But the idea of being a part of the Bebop and Rocksteady team with John was something I knew that I wanted.

What else can you tell us about him?

I mean, honestly, [Bebop and Rocksteady] are just kind of angry New Yorkers. Part of the joke is that Superfly has kind of dysfunctionally raised this family of mutants, and throughout the movie, you’re seeing them realize that all these issues they have in their lives are maybe due to their bad upbringing, which is also kind of a theme in the film. But yeah, this idea that Bebop and Rocksteady are kind of best friends and a little co-dependent but also both incredible rageaholics that are slowly realizing that they’ve been raised poorly was a very funny idea. Just to see them be like angry New York bros was really funny to me, as well.

How do you voice a character like that?

I watched every season of Jersey Shore. I love it. So, yeah, kind of like an angry, aggressive Jersey Shore guy was where I started.

Did you record in the same way that all the turtles kids recorded together? Did you record with John Cena as Rocksteady?

Yes. We weren’t always in the same city, but we recorded over Zoom together. I think we did one that had me, all the turtles, Ice Cube [Superfly], Rose Byrne [Leatherhead], and Natasia Demetriou [Wingnut] all at the same time. Any time we did a recording session I would just be like, “Get whoever is available who is in these scenes and have them try to participate,” because it just adds so much to it.

Was there any contrast with the dynamic of the kids playing the Ninja Turtles in them interacting in the same space when you got all the mutants together? What was the vibe?

It was fun! It was silly and goofy and I remember Rose Byrne screaming like a maniac in this Australian accent. Everyone is just so funny and we really had fun with it. I think part of the spirit that we were trying to capture honestly was to make the movie fun and to give it this wild energy. That was something that we talked about: how do we make it feel fun and silly and obviously have a good story and good plot and all the things that the movie needs to have, but also have this kind of reckless weirdness that’s almost like a kid playing with their toys.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem hits theaters on Aug. 2.

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Stevie Flavio
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