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‘TMNT: Mutant Mayhem’ Helmers Jeff Rowe & Kyler Spears Re-Introduce Us to the Green Dudes

20 July 2023

2023 marks the 40th anniversary of those pizza-loving heroes in a half shell, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and in a happy accident of cowabungaian proportions, a new animated film from Nickelodeon Movies and Paramount Pictures is slicing its way out of the Big Apple’s Ooze-infested sewers and onto the silver screen.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem arrives this month as a late-summer smackdown from director Jeff Rowe, co-director Kyler Spears and executive producers Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg and James Weaver. Its raw urban environment and kinetic tone was created to capture a gritty cityscape where more youthful versions of Raphael, Donatello, Leonardo and Michelangelo could carve out a new home within the $15 billion Turtles empire created in 1983 by Peter Laird and Kevin Eastman for Mirage Comics.

All pre-production on Mutant Mayhem took place on the Nickelodeon side and began during the pandemic period, then shifted over to Mikros Animation and Cinesite for the actual CG animation process.

It became this wonderful opportunity because it completely changed the boundaries of who we could hire,” says Rowe. “For example, we were able to use amazing artist, Sean Sylvester, who did so many of the color keys and character paints. He took a lot of our character designer Woodrow White’s designs, and translated them into something that could exist in 3D and receive light. Sean lived in Scotland, and we found him on Twitter. In a traditional studio world where people are required to be in the office, there’s no world where we could have hired him. He’s a key part of why the movie looks the way it does. We were able to assemble this great team, generate targets here, and give them to Mikros and later Cinesite. We wanted it to feel like we’re all filmmakers co-creating this movie.”

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