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TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES Recasts Leonardo and Splinter with Johnny Knoxville and Tony Shalhoub

The radioactive ooze that transformed ordinary turtles into Italian cuisine-loving, sewer-dwelling Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is evidently transforming some of the actors behind Paramount’s forthcoming Michael Bay-produced, Jonathan Liebesman-directed Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles film, too. Deadline reports that the studio has recast Leonardo with Jackass alum Johnny Knoxville and Master Splinter with Monk‘s Tony Shalhoub, which may come as a shock to some considering the film comes out on August 8th.

tmnt-recast

During the filming process, Pete Ploszek (Shameless) played the role of Leonardo and Danny Woodburn (Seinfeld) portrayed Splinter, but evidently, sources had hinted that the studio was always open to recasting the voice component of the film and the actors were only guaranteed that they would physically perform the roles in costume. It isn’t a move without precedent either by Paramount, who added 100% more Channing Tatum to G.I. Joe: Retaliation and a new ending to World War Z, or other films like Hellboy, which featured Doug Jones as the physical version of Abe Sapien and David Hyde Pierce providing the voice. The question remains: will they recast the pizza with flatbread panini sandwiches? Panera was not available for comment.

What do you think of the recasting? Let us know in the comments below.

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20 comments

  • My guess is that it didn’t test well, so they went with more recognizable voices, which is kind of silly. I don’t know. I guess Johnny Knoxville with put more butts in seats? The Ninja Turtle name alone will do this, so why overthink it?

  • Typically I’d roll my eyes at anything involving Knoxville..but he does honestly have a fun, joking, and recognizable voice. Could be just fine..

  • I dig Shaloub as Splinter. i can see/hear that, but Knoxville as the leader? it goes against the obvious choice which, i believe, would be Michelangelo.. but i’m game for going against stereotypes.

    i kinda wanna hear Nathan Fillion as Leo, Knoxville as Mike.. maybe Mark Wahlberg as Raph and… oh…. Neil deGrasse Tyson as Donatello.

  • I for one have been opposed to the idea of this movie since the horrible casting of Megan Fox as April O’Neil. Changing some voices probably won’t sway that anymore either. The first ones were classics (at least the 1st two). They should have never been rebooted. Being the cinephile I am I’ll most likely still watch…. hell, I still watched Man of Steel even though that was garbage. So I’ll wait to reserve the rest of my judgement until August.

  • I agree with Ben on the Meghan Fox comment, honestly I had no desire to watch this movie until I read the part about Tony Shalhoub. I think he’s a great choice because he’s an excellent actor! Also, heck yes to Nathan Fillion in any role, he could play April for all I care.

  • This movie is seriously going to make me lose what little sanity I have left. Megan Fox–NO. Where is Casey Jones? WHY IS SPLINTER A WHITE DUDE?!? I’m officially done with this planet.

  • Seems weird to me, but will have to judge it when i see it. Like someone else said, I think of Johnny Knoxville as more of a smart-ass, comedy relief type of character too, and that doesn’t really fit Leo. But who knows, hopefully this isn’t a case of type-casting and he just did a good job of voicing a character that does fit Leonardo. Shalhoub is solid, no worries there.

  • @joe human

    I wish I never read your comment because now I wish so much that was the casting!! NDT might be a little tough- the voice feels too deep if you grew up with the earlier versions, plus his voice is so distinct all you can see is him when you hear that voice, haha. Conceptually a great choice though. Wahlberg as Raph- if we are still at a point of being able to recast voices- this needs to happen!

  • QUIT TRYING TO RUIN PEOPLE’S CHILDHOODS WITH THIS CRAP! Michael Bay should just never be hired again. That’s all. In before Hollywood ‘politics’ and someone does the Nerdist Podcast to promote this piece of garbage. I can already Chris praising it with his “I don’t actually care about your thing,but you did my podcast so I’m gonna suck up” voice.

  • I read the headline and immediately assumed knoxville was playing mike, brain didnt put it together that they actually said leo… seems like a strang choice to me, but I also havent heard any of his voice acting that I can remember, so maybe he will suprise us. Shaloub as splinter is just rocking my world right now though, im sure he’ll nail it. Im confused though, I never saw splinter in the trailer, and kind of assumed they had switched it to a llive action role based on one guy I kept seeing. Is that the case? How do you do a voiceover for a live action character? Cant imagine theyd be able to re shoot all the scenes hes probably in…

  • This is good news! I think any progression with this movie is great. I did not even realize that it came out this year, woot! Any person deserves a fair chance at working with the awesome Turtles franchise and fanbase. I am really looking forward to seeing the film further promoted! It is to be a fresh slate with the Turtles for this feature, I understand, so why not fresh voices or other talent? A mix of different people with different talents could really give our heroes an extraterrestrial blend of extra awesome! Turtle power.

  • I’m not going to wade into this “YOU”RE RUINING MY CHILDHOOD” stuff- it’s the same for every remake, and some people will just never realize that your childhood was never at risk…

    But seriously, let’s take the nostalgia goggles off about one thing… the TMNT movies have NEVER BEEN about good acting, lol. Who here when they were 8 years old was sitting around on the playground like “OMG did you see that terrible/amazing acting by April’s character!! That’s what I really hated/loved about this movie!”. or “WTF Cory Feldman? His career is clearly declining, why does he think he’s so edgy blah blah blah”. We weren’t over-analyzing everyone’s acting skills or plot holes or any of that.. we were just enjoying watching some giant mutant turtles kick ass. Worried about michael bay ruining your childhood… sounds like what you should be worried about is ruining your own adulthood, ffs….

    • Man, I don’t know if I agree. There is a whole section of the original movie where one of the turtles is super bummed out and sitting in a bathtub, and all the other turtles are bummed out. I can’t imagine this one will have any emotional weight like that. It’s not ruining my childhood, it’s just ruining recent children’s.