William Fichtner: ‘Production Value Is Unbelievable’

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William Fichtner (Credit: ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images)

William Fichtner (Credit: ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images)

You might not recognize William Fichtner’s name, but odds are you’ll recognize his face. The 57-year-old actor has numerous credits to his name, including West Wing, The Dark Knight, Armageddon, The Longest Yard, Blackhawk Down, Pearl Harbor and Blades of Glory.

Well, Fichtner can add another movie to his incredibly impressive and varied repertoire. He got a call last year from his manager who asked if he could be in New York in the next 24 to 48 hours. Fichtner asked why. His manager said there might be a role for him in an upcoming version of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

Fichtner, who was immediately intrigued, called his nephew – an ‘80s baby who grew up on the Turtles – and asked if he thought he should do the movie.

No, the nephew replied, you are going to do it.

So Fichtner did. The movie opens in theaters this Friday.

“I can’t give away too much because there’s been a few changes in the story – some surprises,” Fichtner, who plays the Shredder, said on The Morning Show. “I saw the film for the first time at the premier this past Sunday, and I normally don’t take my little guy, who’s 12, to anything because they do a lot of films that are rated R (with) a little more adult content. But I had a chance to take my son and I liked it as much as he did – and he loved it. It’s really good.”

“We’ve seen versions of the Turtles before and it’s more cartoon in nature, but not this,” Fichtner said. “This is fun. It’s got a really splashy sort of cartoon feel to it, but it’s live action. Michael Bay produced this, and you can only imagine (how good it is given that he’s) the guy who (did) Armageddon and the Transformer films and (other action movies). It has a production value that is unbelievable. It’s visually stunning.”

“And the turtles, they’re real and they’re freaky and they’re cool. And they’re mutant.”

They’re also human. Well, sort of.

“Here’s the trick,” Fichtner said. “We had four guys – Alan Ritchson, Noah Fisher, Jeremy Howard and Pete Ploszek – (who are) all really interesting, great actors (with) all different body types. The guy that plays Raphael (Ritchson), he’s bigger. Everybody kind of had their thing.

“Then they wear motion-capture suits, which are basically tights that have little triangles and everything (on them) so special effects folks can (track their movements), and they wore shells. But the tricky thing is, they have these headpieces where, on the ends of these springs, are a couple of eyes – because these big turtle eyes wouldn’t be where our eyes are. So I’d walk up to a turtle to say something and you hear somebody in the background go, ‘Look at the eyes.’ I’m like, ‘I am looking at the eyes!’”

Unlike previous TMNJ movies, these turtles are not short; in fact, they’re really tall.

“Yeah, they’re big and they’re tough,” Fichtner said. “That’s the really cool thing about them. With the CGI that they do today, it’s unbelievable. And you’ll see it. When you see the turtles, (you’ll be in awe).”

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