At a time when people thought that superhero movies were hot garbage (which might as well be somewhere in the BCs from our current perspective), Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles wasn't exactly wooing the studios. With no major funding, the producers decided they would go indie, which fortunately did not mean they were going to make a movie about Raphael and Leonardo moving to a small New England town to reconnect with their long estranged mother while also owning and operating a stationery store.
New Line Cinema
"A free katana with every journal purchased."
But with indie movies comes indie problems. In particular, the costuming. No actor wanted to wear a turtle costume that weighed more than a suit made out of actual turtle shells. Fortunately, the producers realized that the action scenes with the costumes could be just as easily duplicated by stunt doubles in Hong Kong for way less money -- a process they repeated with TMNT action figures. But even with professional badasses, the shells slowed everything down. The first thing they set out to shoot was a simple scene where the turtles walk into the sewer where they live. Easy, right? Well, the latex turtle suits didn't exactly agree with the slippery floor of a wet sewer and the actors kept wiping out in non-bodacious fashion. A simple walking sequence took like eight hours to shoot.
New Line Cinema
"Don't worry, the giant hands and feet of the suits can double as casts."
But that didn't solve all of their money problems. The turtles still looked like crap without some amazing animatronics, so they couldn't just hand that over to the lowest bidder. Instead, they tried to convince the highest bidder not to bid too high. The producers decided to try and convince legendary puppeteer and imagination machine Jim Henson to handle the turtles, but for lower than his normal fee. Henson, his heart as soft as felt, would only do it after the producers showed him a whole bunch of source material just to prove that it wasn't going to be too violent. And while the finished film was still considerably more violent than the cartoon (not a single child in the 1980s was a Turtles fan because of the comics), the lack of any onscreen decapitations was a small price to pay for the genius of Jim Henson.
Sadly, Jim Henson was too dead to consult on the most recent TMNT movies. We assume he would have objected to the dick jokes.
Isaac needs money, or at least some more Twitter followers.
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