Tag Archive | "TMNT"

‘Batman Vs. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ Swings Into Action This Spring!

‘Batman Vs. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ Swings Into Action This Spring!

It’ll take the unlikely unification of the Dark Knight and the Heroes in a Half-shell to overcome combined villainous forces afoot in Gotham City in the all-new, feature-length animated thriller, Batman vs. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Produced by Warner Bros. Animation, Nickelodeon and DC, the film arrives from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment on Digital starting May 14, 2019, and on 4K Ultra HD Combo Pack and Blu-ray Combo Pack on June 4, 2019.

Batman vs. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles will be available on 4K Ultra HD Combo Pack ($39.99 SRP) and Blu-ray Combo Pack ($24.98 SRP), as well as on Digital ($19.99 HD, $14.99 SD). The 4K Ultra HD Combo Pack features an Ultra HD Blu-ray disc in 4K with HDR and a Blu-ray disc featuring the film; the Blu-ray Combo Pack features the film in hi-definition. The 4K Ultra HD and Blu-ray Combo Pack include a digital version of the film.

Batman vs. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles finds Gotham City reaching new levels of danger whenShredder joins forces with Ra’s al Ghul to enact a nefarious plan – leading to the team-up of the Dark Knight and the Turtles to combat the combined might of the Foot Clan and League of Assassins!

The Batman vs. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles all-star cast is led by Troy Baker (Batman: Arkham Origins, The Last of Us) as the voice of both Batman and the Joker – making Baker the first actor to ever play both roles in the same film. Opposite Baker are the Ninja Turtles themselves – Emmy Award/Golden Globe Award/SAG Award winner Darren Criss (American Crime Story: The Assassination of Gianni Versace, Glee) as Raphael, Kyle Mooney (Saturday Night Live) as Michelangelo, Baron Vaughn (Grace and Frankie) as Donatello, and Eric Bauza (Looney Tunes Cartoons, The Woody Woodpecker Show) as Leonardo.

Other key members of the voice cast include Rachel Bloom (Crazy Ex-Girlfriend) as Batgirl, John DiMaggio (Adventure Time, Futurama) as Mr. Freeze, Tara Strong (Batman: The Animated Series,Teen Titans, Teen Titans Go!) as Harley Quinn & Poison Ivy, Tom Kenny (SpongeBob SquarePants) as Penguin, Carlos Alazraqui (Reno 911!) as Bane, Cas Anvar (The Expanse) as Ra’s al Ghul, Keith Ferguson (Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends) as Baxter Stockman & Two-Face, Brian George (Seinfeld) as Alfred, Ben Giroux (Hart of Dixie) as Robin, Andrew Kishino (The Lion Guard) as Shredder, and Jim Meskimen (Parks and Recreation) as Commissioner Gordon & Scarecrow.

Jake Castorena (The Death of Superman) directs Batman vs. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles from a script by Marly Halpern-Graser (Mad, Batman Unlimited, Be Cool, Scooby-Doo). The film is inspired by the comic book series “Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” by James Tynion IV and Freddie Williams II (published by DC Comics and IDW Publishing) and is based on characters from DC and Nickelodeon. Ben Jones (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Batman: The Brave and the Bold) is producer. Executive producers are Benjamin Melniker and Michael Uslan. Sam Register and Chris Viscardi are executive producers.

Batman vs. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Enhanced Content

Ultra HD Blu-ray Combo Pack, Blu-ray Combo Pack and Digital

Cowabunga, Batman! When Comic Worlds Collide (Featurette)– Super hero crossovers have inspired some of the most unique comics of all time. Explore the concept of the crossover, and see the creativity that ensues when the worlds of Batman and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles meet.

Fight Night in Gotham (Featurette) – DC animated movies have continued to push the realism of hand-to-hand combat on-screen. Take an exciting look at both Batman’s and the Ninja Turtles’ fighting styles, and how the creators make it feel like you’re in the fight!

A Sneak Peek at the next DC Universe Movie, Batman: Hush – An advance look at the next animated film in the popular DC Universe Movies collection.

 The 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray disc of Batman vs. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles will feature Dolby VisionTM HDR that dramatically expands the color palette and contrast range and uses dynamic metadata to automatically optimize the picture for every screen, frame by frame. The 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray disc of Batman vs. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles will also feature a Dolby Atmos® soundtrack remixed specifically for the home theater environment to place and move audio anywhere in the room, including overhead. To experience Dolby Atmos at home, a Dolby Atmos enabled AV receiver and additional speakers are required, or a Dolby Atmos enabled sound bar. Dolby Atmos soundtracks are also fully backward compatible with traditional audio configurations and legacy home entertainment equipment.

Batman vs. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles will also be available on Movies Anywhere. Using the free Movies Anywhere app and website, consumers can access all their eligible movies by connecting their Movies Anywhere account with their participating digital retailer accounts.

Fans can also own Batman vs. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles via purchase from digital retailers beginning May 14, 2019.


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OUT OF THE SHADOWS: Brittany Ishibashi Talks Life, Career and TMNT!

OUT OF THE SHADOWS: Brittany Ishibashi Talks Life, Career and TMNT!

Brittany Ishibashi - Photo By: Riker Brothers

Brittany Ishibashi – Photo By: Riker Brothers

Brittany Ishibashi has quietly spent the past several years building an impressive resume of roles in some of this decade’s most memorable television series. As on of the hardest working actors in the business, she has held recurring and guest star roles on more than three dozen series including: “The Office,” “Grey’s Anatomy,” “House M.D.,” “The Mentalist,” “Emily Owens M.D.,” “Bones,” “Castle,” “Major Crimes,” “Grace and Frankie,” “Young & Hungry” and “Supernatural.” After an exciting debut at Comic-Con, Brittany reprised her role as Maggie Zeddmore in the “Supernatural” spinoff “Ghostfacers,” which developed a worldwide fan base.

However, Brittany might be best known for her role as Anne Ogami on USA Network’s Golden Globe and Emmy nominated series “Political Animals.” She was a scene stealer as the bright, beautiful interior designer whose distress quietly mounts as the pressures of life in a family of political animals takes its toll. On the film and multimedia front, Brittany worked on nearly two dozen projects, some of which were under the direction of Joan Scheckel, Robert Redford and Danny DeVito. Her amazing body of work has continued to turn the heads of showrunners, critics and fans alike.

This summer Brittany is taking on her biggest challenge to date as she co-stars in Paramount’s “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows,” a sequel to the summer 2014 blockbuster. Set to premiere nationwide June 3, 2016, the film, which also stars Megan Fox, Stephen Amell, Laura Linney, Tyler Perry and Will Arnett, follows the turtles once again as they are at odds with T.C.R.I. scientist Dr. Baxter Stockman [Perry], The Foot Clan, and the return of their enemy, The Shredder. Brittany shines as Karai, a highly trained ninja assassin and leader of the notorious Foot Clan. She is Shredder’s right hand woman and is determined to carry out his plan. Jason Price of Icon Vs. Icon recently caught up with this star on the rise to discuss her journey as an actress, the challenges she has faced along the way, the making of “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows” and much more!

Brittany Ishibashi - Photo By: Riker Brothers

Brittany Ishibashi – Photo By: Riker Brothers

Let’s go back to your early years. When did you know a career in entertainment was for you?

I was born into a performing arts family and I grew up backstage. My father is a concert promoter and my mother is a singer. My sisters and I kind of had no choice but to pursue careers in the arts! [laughs] All we knew was that energy and the performance lifestyle. It became addictive, that live audience vibe. In the moments before an artist is about to take the stage and the audience quiets down, you can feel that very tangible buzz. I got into musical theater and classes when I was younger for fun and as an extension of what my parents had raised us on. It was probably in high school when I first realized grownups do this for real! Then I started thinking about it as more of a career and my parents were very supportive because they are artists themselves, so I felt very lucky that way.

Did you have reservations about taking the plunge and becoming an actor?

I didn’t have any reservations at all, I think that was because I didn’t know any better! [laughs] There is that wonderful thing you have when you are younger and you just feel invincible and you haven’t really been hit by any failures on a large scale. My parents, even though they were artists, were very good at showing us the positive side of things. There were constant affirmations! It wasn’t until I got into working professionally where I started to have some reservations. There were definitely a few times where I had to step back from the business a bit and figure out why I had lost the joy. It really made me question why I was doing it in the first place. It always came back to getting back into a class, finding a great teacher, watching a great play or a movie again to find that spark, the magic of it and how important it is to be an artist. It is really a noble profession.

That leads me to my next question. Who was behind the scenes giving you the push when you needed it as a mentor?

I had a couple great mentors along the way. I also have to acknowledge having two younger sisters and parents who were both in the arts. It was like having a built-in support system where everyone understood what was happening and had my back. Richard Green is a teacher I found, or he found me, when I was around 20 years old. That was when I was really questioning why I was doing all of this in the first place. He helped me rediscover that spark again. He told me, “If you are living the life of an artist and having this fire burning inside of you, it is incumbent upon you to keep that flame alive, whether that is coming to class, listening to a great piece of music or taking the time to watch a street performer.” He was the one who really helped me to get out of my head. I have a tendency to go back to the rules. I don’t know if that is an older sibling thing, a Japanese thing or just a me thing! If I start feeling insecure or lost, I feel like, “Oh, I better go back to the books or the law and figure out what is written because that must be right!” He was the one who helped me to start to let go of all of that and trust more in myself.

Where do you look for inspiration these days?

I am really behind on “Game of Thrones,” so no spoilers! [laughs] I have to stay away from the Internet! I am a full season behind, so I just started the previous season last night when season six premiered. It is amazing how a great program like that can lead to binge watching an entire season over the course of a weekend! Also, it can make you so inspired and happy to see all of these characters that you love and what happens to them through this masterful storytelling. It is all so beautiful, so “Game of Thrones” is definitely one thing I always turn to for inspiration. I am a huge fan of exploring a new hole in the wall music venue or exploring a city when I am working. I love walking around and discovering a new theater or performer. I like surprising myself and I am always open to recommendations from my friends and they are always turning me on to new things as well.

Hitting Theaters on June 3rd!

Hitting Theaters on June 3rd!

You have a big project on the way in the new few weeks — “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows!”

I am so excited about this movie!

TMNT has been a huge phenomena for decades. When were you first introduced?

When I was a kid, in the early ‘90s, that was my childhood! I had all of the action figures, the lunchbox and watched all of the original movies until the VHS tapes wore out! [laughs] When I got the audition for this film, they were keeping everything top secret. They wouldn’t send a script or sides or even really name the character. They just had it written as female soldier. I was like, “I really hope that is Karai! I had a feeling it’s Karai but I don’t know!” [laughs] That is who it ended up being and I think I am still geeking out over the whole thing! Being on set really took my breath away. The world they created is unbelievable and to physically step into that world just had me breathless. It was so beautifully done!

What can you tell us about the character and how you relate to her?

I have always loved Karai. First of all, I loved that she was a total badass but, at the same time, she was so loyal. I can really relate to that. Family, whether it was her own personal family or The Foot Clan, always came first. She was very resourceful, really clever and would stop at nothing to get the job done. In this movie, our plan is very big! We have an incredible group of villains and I think everyone is going to be really excited to see them! When we recruit Beebop and Rocksteady and they mutate — let’s just say they were a lot of fun to work with! They are also hilarious and they bring a lot to this movie! They also kind of hold us up a little bit! [laughs] They are so good!


Brittany Ishibashi – Photo By: Riker Brothers

What did you bring to this character that wasn’t on the written page?

My version of the character is definitely a soldier first. She is intelligent and very militant when it comes to carrying out Shredder’s plan. It is all about respect for her and honoring the ninja code and way of life. It was really hard to keep that soldier persona up when you are dealing with people like Gary Anthony WIlliams and Stephen Farrelly! They kind of let them have free reign on takes and improv! They had some great one liners! We had to go back and reshoot a lot of stuff because people were cracking up the whole time! They were really, really funny! For me, my version of Karai definitely was more of the soldier and the warrior. That was great when it came to the fight scenes which were really exciting!

What did you get to do with this role that you may not have been able to do on past projects?

I had never played a villain before, so this was a lot of fun! There was something so liberating and exciting about playing a bad guy! I got to have a lot of fun with knowing how good I am at being bad and how good Karai is at being bad! I grew up in the martial arts and it was family bonding, which is a whole other terrifying story! [laughs] I was able to use a lot of that with our fight sequences in this film! I will say I was a little too enthusiastic and hurt myself on the very first run at it. I was like, “Put me in coach! Put me in coach!” They were like, “We haven’t done too much stunt training with you.” I was like, “I can do it!” I launched myself into this crazy cartwheel flip and I am supposed to land and do this big back kick! I twisted my wrist and was out for the next couple of days and couldn’t do any fighting at all! Luckily, that all happened very early on! [laughs] The action in this movie is going to really blow everybody away. There are some really cool action sequences!

I want to talk about working with director Dave Green. What did he bring to the table for this project?

I actually knew Dave Green from a short he had done a long time ago, that I loved, called “Zombie Roadkill.” What I love about him is that he brings such a wonderful artistic sensibility to this movie. A lot of people know him from the world of music videos and he does a lot of commercial music video directing. The way he can compose a shot and watching how he breaks it down in his mind and is able to communicate that to the actors was a gift. Sometimes when you work with a director you kind of feel like a prop. It was nice to have him tell us the whole thing through color and music. You really felt like you were a part of his process, almost as if he was making a moving painting. I really had to see his work on the big screen to see how it all came together. Going back to my youth, I grew up as a dancer. I think that helped too. I always love it when a director can communicate with you in ways that are more than just words and give you something to move off of with color or through music. It is just a different language in your body that works for me really well. I, along with all the other actors on the set, really responded well to it.

What was the biggest challenge on this project?

My initial response to that question is that my son turned one year old over the course of us filming the movie last year! We were filming in New York and I was in Los Angeles. Trying to negotiate a baby was a challenge! [laughs] Going back and forth from West Coast to East Coast, be up with him all night and then show up on set at 5 o’clock in the morning to work a 16-hour day and then come home and do it all again was incredibly challenging! It was also really cool to be in New York and he took his first steps on the streets of New York City! That time management was a big challenge and it was really my first experience with trying to be a working mom and figuring out what that looked like. There were also times when he was able to come to set and he thought it was the coolest thing! There were big trucks on set, really creepy costumes and all sorts of colors! I can’t even imagine what it looked like through his eyes! [laughs]


Brittany Ishibashi – Photo By: Riker Brothers

Looking back on your career, how have you evolved as an artist? Is there a lesson we can take from your journey so far?

That is a really good question. I have learned to be more patient and forgiving of myself. There was a huge part of me, and it still comes up a lot, with this idea of finding perfection or constantly one-upping myself. Once I kind of let go of that and relaxed, I found I was a lot happier. I found I would book more and I was doing better work because I was free of these weird restrictions that I had and kept the blinders off. I think motherhood has added an element to that as well. As an artist, there is a sort of innate chaos and I think you are always looking for some type of system. I think all of that together, being more forgiving of myself, taking a breath, knowing that it is all very fluid and accept everything as it comes, that is the most noble thing that I can do!

Are you involved with any charitable organizations we could help shine a light on?

I am a big fan and supporter of Working Wardrobes (www.www.workingwardrobes.org). They are a fantastic non-profit based out of my hometown in Orange County that helps people who are overcoming difficult challenges get back on their feet and achieve self-sufficiency. They offer career training and mentoring programs, job placement assistance and professional wardrobe services. I had the honor of speaking at a recent event, and hearing the success stories from those that they’ve helped, and seeing the heart and passion of all of those involved was truly inspiring.

Thank you for your time today, I really appreciate it and can’t wait to see what the future holds for you!

Thank you so much, Jason! It was a pleasure!

Follow the continuing adventures of Brittany Ishibashi on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Also, be sure to check out her official website at www.brittanyishibashi.com. Catch her as Karai in ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of The Shadows’ when it hits theaters on June 3rd, 2016!

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Judith Hoag Discusses Her Career, Role On ABC’s ‘Nashville’ And Much More!

Judith Hoag Discusses Her Career, Role On ABC’s ‘Nashville’ And Much More!


Judith Hoag is more than just a familiar face in the world of entertainment. A chameleon-like actor, she delivers inspired performances time and time again in roles ranging from television to the silver screen. It is her incredible range and strong work ethic, which have earned her the reputation for being one of the most respected, versatile and captivating actors in the industry. She will be forever known to an entire generation as April O’Neil in the original ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ movie but she is far from one dimensional. She has spent the last twenty five years creating a body of work that continues to turn the heads of critics and industry insiders alike. Her most recent gig finds her as a key player in ABC’s addictive new series “Nashville,” which is about to debut it’s second season. Created by Academy Award winner Callie Khouri, the series was just picked up for its second season and is a favorite of both fans and critics. “Nashville” features Connie Britton and Hayden Panettiere as dueling country stars thrown together in a tumultuous yet increasingly poignant relationship. “Nashville” isn’t just a story about music (brilliantly produced by Academy Award winner T-Bone Burnett) it’s also about intense family bonds and complicated relationships. Judith Hoag co-stars as “Tandy Hampton” the sister and confident of Rayna Jaymes (Connie Britton). Under the often strangling tutelage of her mentor and father Lamar Wyatt (Powers Boothe) Tandy has been groomed to become the successor to the family’s billion dollar corporate dynasty, Wyatt Industries. It is a tense relationship that explodes as the first season concludes. Hoag also co-stars in the film “Bad Words” a soon-to-be-released Aggregate Films feature directed by and starring Jason Bateman. “Bad Words” is an adult comedy, featuring comedic heavyweights Kathryn Hahn, Allison Janney and Ben Falcone. The film revolves around a grown man’s misguided attempt to hi-jack and win the National Spelling Bee. As you can clearly see, Judith Hoag is showing no signs of slowing down as she continues to put out amazing work and land highly sough after projects, each more dynamic than the next! Jason Price of Icon Vs. icon recently sat down with Judith hoag to discuss her inspirations as an actor, her process for bringing a character to life, her time on the set of “Nashville,” the impact of ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ film and much more!

Let’s go all the way back to the beginning of your journey as an actor. What got you started on the journey and made you chose acting as a career?

Judith Hoag

Judith Hoag

To be honest, I feel like it chose me. I really didn’t have a say in it. I think I came out this little character who just loved to make pretend. Once I found out you could do that and earn a living, that actors actually do that, I just thought it was a great idea and I have never strayed from it! It is really something I have wanted to do since I was about four years old. I was really lucky because my family never disagreed with me! [laughs] They never said, “Oh, come on! You don’t want to do that! You are better than that. Nobody does well doing that!” It really chose me.

Who would you cite as some of your biggest influences along the way?

I would have to say that was the biggest mentor to me was my mother. She always told me I could do whatever I wanted and she never belittled my dream or told me they were out of reach. In fact, she found them exciting and told me to go for it. She always supported me, whether it was when I was first starting out and she gave me the encouragement or later when she would float me some cash when I was getting started in New York. My Dad was also helpful but particularly it was my Mom who always said “If that is what you believe, you have to go follow it.” I think that is a great gift to give to a kid.

When it comes to actors, who did you look to for inspiration?

I think the people I admire most are some of the people I have worked with, who along the way have been really inspiration. They are not necessarily the most well-known actors, but they were really generous actors. Years ago, Tyne Daily did a show called “Judging Amy” with Amy Madigan. Tyne was one of the most generous actors I have ever worked with. When you work with Tyne, it is kind of like working with this beautiful bird who threw her wing out to gather you and bring you in. She sorta showed me how to behave on a set and how to treat other people. She treated everybody so well, with such consideration, so professionally and really loved to play. She really made a mark with me. Robin Williams really made a mark with me in terms of how he always gave 150%, even when he was off camera. I just worked with Helen Mirren last year and I love her! I loved being around her and working with her! There are so many other people I want to work with as well.

Did you ever have that “ah-ha” moment in your career where you felt like you finally made it?

No, I am still waiting for it! [laughs] Honestly, I felt like climbed a rung or maybe was successful at achieving something I had set out to do but in terms of really making it, I still don’t feel like I have really made it. I feel like I have a long way to go.

You have been at this for a long time and have been very successful. To what do you attribute your longevity in this cutthroat industry?

Judith Hoag

Judith Hoag

You know what; I think part of it is that I don’t see it as a cutthroat industry. I know it can certainly be perceived as that and there are certainly aspects of our industry that I abhor. I can tell you it is excruciatingly hard. However, the way I approach it, and I think I have been quoted saying this before and I stand by it — I am pathologically positive. I am pathologically positive and optimistic about my experience, so I am not willing to give that away to somebody else. I know it is my day and my career, so it is up to me how I am going to make it. When I am faced with super challenges, which you can be an actor and not run into those, I am always looking for what is right in the situation, not what is wrong. I think when you are looking at it from the perspective of “What can I make out of this? How can I transform this into something that works for me?” then that is exactly what you do. You transform it into something that works; even a flipping horror show of an experience and Lord knows I have had them! I have had train wrecks left and right! It is not easy! Sometimes you think “I’ve got nothing! I don’t know how to fix this one! It is so screwed up there is nothing I can say but we are all going down in flames!” [laughs] Then you just laugh and put things in perspective. I also don’t lose track of the idea that what I do for a living is pretty fun! I mean, come on! You get to be an actor; they dress you in nice clothes and are thrown into pretend situations! Over the course of your day, things could royally screw up but I realize I am not sitting in a cubicle, not that there is anything wrong with that. I am just not designed to do it! Some people do it brilliantly but I would go postal if I had to do that! [laughs] I get to work in an industry that I love that is an imperfect industry and I really do try to get the joke of it all. Some days it is like “I know we have just gone into crazy town! Full speed ahead! We have to find something to laugh at!” My default mechanism is, when things get really bad, I get really silly! I will either get really upset or then apologize to everybody that I was really upset or I get really silly! I prefer it when I get really silly.

Your latest project is the television series, “Nashville.” The show is headed into its second season! What initially attracted you to the role?

'Nashville' Returns On 9/26!

‘Nashville’ Returns 9/25!

I loved the writing. First of all, it is written by Callie Khouri, who is a wonderful writer. She won the Oscar for writing “Thelma & Louise.” She knows how to write women. She wrote this really beautiful story and when I read it I knew I had to do this job. I had to jump through so many hoops and it was a very challenging experience to get there. The first season was really a challenge because it took awhile to get the writers invested in my character and to really write for me because they had a whole lot of other concerns to take care of first. When you are crafting the first season of a show, it is very challenging. I had to be really patient and stay really positive. I loved the story, the characters, there was music involved and T-Bone Burnett was in charge of the music. I loved it being a southern story which is so much fun. I loved the actors that were involved with the show. I love working with Connie Britton, she is like a sister to me. She is such a wonderful actress and we have such fun playing together. Working with Powers Booth, as my dad, we just have a blast! Hayden [Panettiere] and I only had one scene together but I love her. I love playing with her and going out with her. Sam Palladio and I have never had a scene together but are still friends. It is a really good group and I was attracted from the get go. I fought my way in, let me tell ya!

What have the challenges of this role been for you?

Sometimes what is challenging, especially at the beginning, my character wasn’t necessarily given a lot to do but I had a lot I wanted to communicate about who I was as the character. The challenge was communicating what you needed to communicate with very little screen time to do it in and to smartly and honestly. That can be challenging. You just do your best, throw it against the wall and hope it sticks! It seemed to. Tandy became a slow burn during the course of the season and the character just kept growing toward the light and as she continues to grow, she is a delight to play. I love playing this character! I love my family there. I love the little girls who play my nieces, Lennon and Maisy Stella, who are musical geniuses! I love the family we have in the show and then on the show. It is very special.


What have you taken away from your time working with this talented group of actors?

One of the things I have learned is that everyone works differently. Everybody has a different process and no process is better or worse than another. It is really about respecting everybody’s path. You may not agree with the road to get there but it is a collaborative art. There are times I have to step back and allow. Then there are other times I need to step ahead and really fight for something or defend a point of view or how I am going to get to where I am getting. The actors I work with are so talented, so it is such fun to be there! We all have a lot of respect for each other’s work. Everybody has a mutual admiration and since we are so close there is such respect for each other. There are times when we just sit back and watch each other’s work and applaud at the end of a scene. We don’t have any divas or bad behavior on our show, so we are really lucky. We have a really healthy, functional cast! I am telling you, it makes your life a whole lot easier! [laughs]

Whether it is “Nashville” or one of your previous parts, is there a particular way you go about preparing for a role?

Judith Hoag

Judith Hoag

The way I do it, everything is through my imagination. I can sit with a story and I sort of tell myself what the story is. When you asked what inspires me, it isn’t always actors that inspire me; it can be people in the world who inspire me. Yo-Yo Ma, the cellist, totally inspires me! Listening to his music inspires me but the way he talks about when he gets a new piece of music and how he approaches it is very interesting. He listens to it and then he sits with it. As an artist, some people have a vocabulary for what that means, it is like letting a piece of meat marinate. You become infused with the story and like a kid, you dip into your imagination and start telling yourself the deeper story beneath it. As an actor, it is your responsibility to be able to answer the questions left unsaid. They handed me the role of Tandy but I have to make up the whole story that happened before that point, everything I am not saying in the scene, her hopes, aspirations and dreams. I think as an actor, you need to know what that back-story is. I have done work with actors who don’t do that at all and that is fine. I just don’t think you get a very complicated or dimensional character otherwise. I don’t think it is fun for the actor to play or for the audience to watch. It is always fun when you get a sense of wholeness to a character. It might even be something you can’t describe what it is but they resonate with you because they are deeply telling the truth. You are telling the truth because you have investigated the story. I tend to really sit with it and make it real. I make up stories in my head and then I tell other people! [laughs] I do that when we are having our script meetings and a lot of times you have to discuss your point of view within the story with the writers. We really do talk about those thing and make changes as we go along. If you are going to come in and ask for a change on something, you better be able to defend your pitch! If you can’t defend it, then it is not going to happen! Sometimes, if someone does not understand quite what you are doing, if you explain it to them, suddenly it all becomes clear. A lot of times, the director might just come in for a few episodes per season, so they might not be up to speed with where you have been. You may have to explain to them what has happened with season because it hasn’t aired. If you have done your homework, you are good to go!

You have another exciting project on the horizon, which is Jason Bateman’s directorial debut. What can you tell us about ‘Bad Words’ and what Jason Bateman brings to the project as a director?

Judith Hoag

Judith Hoag

It is such a fun script! It is an adult comedy, completely! It is not for children, even though it is about a children’s spelling bee! I love it! If you like Judd Apatow movies, you will most likely love this movie! It is a funny and unusual script. Jason Bateman stars in it and it is also his feature directorial debut. Jason is a great actor and I have always loved him. He is so talented and professional. He has been doing it since he was a little boy! As a director, he knows what he wants and has such confidence on the set. The crew adores him because he is a kind, funny, smart man with a good point of view about what he wants. I adored working with him. He made me look like hell! [laughs] I have the worst hair, makeup and clothes! I just look awful, which was the point! Everyone in the entire movie is made to look awful; it is part of his vision. It is really hilarious. I can’t wait to see what it looks like. I don’t have a lot of vanity. I mean, I do because I am an actress but I don’t. I don’t care! I will look like an idiot! [laughs] Make my hair look ridiculous. I am pretty comfortable with all of that! I wouldn’t do it for just anybody but for him, it is “How bad do you want me to look, babe?” [laughs] I will do it! We just had so much fun playing! I hope it is a big movie for him. It is not a huge movie because it is not a studio film, it’s an independent feature. I think it will find its audience and it would be a delight to have it do well for him so that he can direct more because I think great things could come out of him!

Did you get a chance to do a lot of improv on the set of this film?

You do get to do some! Yes! It is something I love to do! Don’t get me started!

You seem pretty quick on your feet, so I thought you might enjoy that aspect!

[laughs] Yes! All of my scenes are with Allison Janney and she is a hoot! She is such a great actress and I admired her so much before I got there. We have mutual friends and I had heard she was lovely. She was just a lovely as everyone said! We played all day and laughed so hard! There were times when you had to look away or you would crack up just by looking at each other. Just the visual of what we looked like was enough to crack anyone up! It was really fun and I have high hopes for the movie. I hope it does really well!

I obviously can’t interview you and not touch on one of the most notable roles from your past. You played April O’Neil in the original ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ film. Did you have any idea that film would be the sensation it became and how big of an impact has it had on you personally?

A blast from the past!

A blast from the past!

I didn’t have a clue! I had never ever heard of them. The first time I heard “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles,” I thought “Is this a horror movie? What are we talking about here?” [laughs] I read the script and I thought “Oh my gosh! This is a wonderful script and I love it!” I knew Jim Henson’s Creature Shop was going to be doing all of the animatronics for it. I was really onboard with all that was happening; I just didn’t know what I was getting myself into! Actually, one of the people who clued me in on the cult status the comic book had was Robin Williams. I was doing a movie with him at the time and he said “Oh God! They are making the movie! That is so exciting!” That gave it a lot of street cred and he made it a lot better than I made I sound! [laughs] The impact it has had on me is that it will probably be one of the first things you read in my obituary! [laughs] It will definitely be a part of that! It has changed my life in that people remember it so fondly. I am the type of actor who does my job and then leaves, I don’t really hold on to things for a long time. I love that people loved it but I haven’t done the conventions, sold my autograph or lived off of it because I had this whole body of work that followed it. That was just one of the many roles, I have probably done 120, and that was just one of them. It was really cool that people responded to it. What is fun about it now is that people love it so much, so many years later and they are introducing it to their kids! I had someone just offer me a part, that I would love to do but I am not sure it will fit into my schedule, where they wrote the part for me because they grew up with that movie. It was the thing that made them want to be a filmmaker. He is an up-and-coming filmmaker and it would be fun to work with him, if we can work it out. It is really nice to see the impact it has had on so many people, all these years later! It just seemed to touch a nerve with a certain generation that still goes back and watches the movie. So many people tell me “When I am feeling bad, I just pop that movie in and I feel better!” Right on! It’s a great compliment and I will take it!

How do you feel you have evolved as an actor through the years?

I definitely have grown. When I look at my early work, I just cringe. In fact, when I look at ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles,’ I love that people appreciate the role but when I look at the work I think, “Ok, you were just starting out. You were such a newbie and there was so much you didn’t know.” I would totally play the role a little differently now. I have learned how to trust myself, still myself down and to use my imagination in deeper and greater ways than I did when I was younger. I have kinda gotten to the point where I don’t really give a crap what anybody else thinks in terms of my work. I find that very freeing. It’s not like “I am so great. Who cares what you think?” It is that it is too difficult as an artist to care what other people think about you. It is too wounding. If you give that away to other people, you are dead in the water. You can say “I am doing this for me because I love it and I am not going to pay attention to how people respond to it. I am just going to do it because I love it and then I will move on.” it keeps you in a healthier place. I think as I have gotten older, I have really come into that place where I am grateful to still be in the game. I have seen so many people fall by the wayside. I am grateful to be doing what I love, feeling much more balanced in it and happy people still want to hire me! I am thrilled that I am still working!

Is there a particular role or project you are still anxious to tackle?

I know this is a lame answer and I apologize but I really love a well written character. It would be fun to play a super badass! I have done it only once before where I had a sawed-off shotgun and leather guns. I set a house on fire and I sped off in a car! [laughs] That was really fun! Although, I am not particularly into heavy violence but I am interested in telling the story of a crazy, twisted badass! I am not really interested in always having to be the nice person or the sane person! It is really fun to do twisted and evil! [laughs] It really is!

Judith Hoag

Judith Hoag

What is the best piece of advice you can pass along to those who might look to you as an inspiration?

I think the thing I would tell anybody is that this is your life. This is your shot at living your life. It is up to you every single day on how you are going to approach it. Make it a good day. If you have a choice between getting pissed off and angry about something or trying to find a way to make that thing work for you, chose the positive way that supports you and helps you move forward. You can make it a great day or a shitty day. It is your choice. I personal am always going to go for the great day. The shitty day is going to show up from time to time, it is just part of life but don’t go looking for it. That would be my advice.

Being in the spotlight puts you in a great position to give back. Are there any charities you are currently involved with that we can help spread the word on?

There is thing here in Nashville that I took part in last year called Nashville Cares. It is an organization in Nashville that helps people with HIV/AIDS because it is still a problem. All over the country there are people struggling. They still need education and resources. It is a terrific charity. Another program I am getting more involved with is called The Fragile X Society, which is a chromosomal disorder that runs in my family. It is something that not a lot of people know about but definitely can us more research and finances to help families dealing with kids who have it. It is a chromosomal disorder that shows up as mild to major mental retardation. It is has been identified in the last 15 years and is a cause I plan on putting more of my time into as well. Those are my top two. I think the best thing we can do is care about each other and support things that make the world better.

Thank you so much for your time today, Judith. You have been terrific and we can’t wait to spread the word on all of your projects!

Thank you so much, Jason! It has been so nice talking to you. You are such a sweetheart! Talk to you again soon!

Be sure to connect with Judith Hoag on Twitter and Facebook! “Nashville” returns for it’s second season Wednesday, Spetember 25th at 10 p.m. EST on ABC!

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Shout! Factory And Saban Brands Team Up For Home Entertainment Alliance

Shout! Factory And Saban Brands Team Up For Home Entertainment Alliance

Shout! Factory and Saban Brands announced a multi-year, multi-property alliance to bring Saban’s iconic live-action pop culture series, including Power Rangers, to the home entertainment marketplace in the U.S and Canada. The announcement was made today by Shout! Factory’s founding partners Richard Foos, Bob Emmer and Garson Foos; and Elie Dekel, President of Saban Brands.

The multi-year alliance provides Shout! Factory with exclusive home entertainment packaged media (DVD/Blu-ray) and select digital rights to Saban Brands’ extensive catalog of properties including more than 700 episodes of Power Rangers(1993- 2009), 92 episodes of VR Troopers, 26 episodes of Ninja Turtles: The Next Mutation, and 88 episodes ofBeetleborgs for home entertainment releases and digital distribution across select entertainment platforms in North America.

“We are incredibly excited about this new relationship with Saban Brands. Power Rangers continues to stand as a global pop culture phenomenon to this day. We look forward to bringing these highly entertaining series with great packaging and extras to fans and on family home entertainment shelves,” state Shout! Factory’s founding partners in a joint statement.

“Our partnership with Shout! Factory is important and exciting news for our fans. Shout! Factory will provide unequaled access to archived content from Saban Brands,” said Elie Dekel, President of Saban Brands. “Fans can enjoy past episodes they haven’t seen, relive some of the exciting entertainment in these episodes, or even share them with a new generation of fans.”

Shout! Factory plans an aggressive rollout of Saban Brands television properties beginning this summer 2012, including from individual programs as well as complete series. As excitement builds for these upcoming home entertainment product-lines, Shout! Factory and Saban Brands will announce additional news and activities in forthcoming months.

Following its introduction in 1993, Saban’s Power Rangers quickly became the most watched children’s television program in the United States. Emphasizing the importance of teamwork, responsibility and helping others by following the adventures of a group of ordinary young people who “morphed” into superheroes, the series was seen in more than 60 countries, translated into numerous languages, and was a mainstay in the most prominent international children’s programming blocks.

When VR Troopers premiered in 1994, it was the first children’s series to take viewers into a world of virtual reality. In this exciting action-packed live-action series, three seemingly ordinary teens face the challenge of saving the world from total domination by a powerful ruthless industrialist and his evil alter-ego. With the gift of “inter-reality travel” the teens utilize the power to transform into crime-fighting superheroes and enter the high-tech sphere of Virtual Reality. They employ their strengths, explosive martial arts skills and newfound superpowers to prevent the evil Grimlord and his mutant armies from escaping the virtual plane and entering the real world.

Memorable live-action adventure series Ninja Turtles: The Next Mutation debuted in 1997 on popular kids network. The series continued the fun-filled saga of Leonardo, Raphael, Donatello and Michelangelo, four genetically mutated turtles who have transformed into human sized, ninja-powered crime fighters living in the sewers of New York City. Soon the Ninja Turtles’ world that they have come to know and love will change. If you thought Shredder was bad, wait until you meet the newest NT foe–Dragon Skull! It will take all the power of our four reptile heroes to combat this new villain, including the help from a new ninja turtle named Venus De Milo!

Premiered in 1996, popular weekly kids series Beetleborgs follows the exciting adventures of three ordinary kids Drew, Jo and Roland as they enter the supposedly haunted mansion after accepting a dare. Their lives changed forever when a magical spirit grants them their biggest wish – they get to find out what life is like as their favorite super heroes the Beetleborgs!

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Elias Koteas Discusses Matt Reeves ‘Let Me In’ And Much More!

Elias Koteas Discusses Matt Reeves ‘Let Me In’ And Much More!

Elias Koteas is part of a rare breed. It seems that he is one of the few actors in Hollywood today who is fearless when it comes to taking risks and seeking out challenging roles, all for the love of his craft. A veteran of stage, television and film, he is well into his third decade in his creative journey. In his latest film, Matt Reeves’ ‘Let Me In,’ Koteas plays an unnamed policeman who slowly discovers that he may be investigating a string of murders by no less than a vampire. Alongside newcomers Chloe Moretz and Kodi Smit-McPhee, Koteas breathes life in a character that could come across as two dimensional in less than capable hands.  Icon Vs. Icon’s Jason Price recently sat down with Koteas to discuss his career, his experiences while working on ‘Let Me In’, the process of bringing a character to life and his upcoming projects!

Tackling a career in the entertainment industry is not for the faint of heart. When did you decide to pursue a career as an entertainer as opposed to going in a different direction?

I used to watch a lot of TV and I was a huge horror movie buff growing up. It wasn’t like I excelled in school, so it was either that or end up as some kind of thief somewhere! [laughs] I don’t know, man. I was just lucky that God bestowed upon me the gift that he has. It was kind of like, “Here is what you should go do.” So I just followed that path. I don’t know if there was a moment that it all sparked but I just feel so blessed that I have had the opportunities that I have had and that I found that path early enough, ya know.

Growing up, and even today, who are some of your influences?

As far as in the movie business, I was, and still am, a huge Nick Nolte fan. Watching him on ‘Rich Man, Poor Man’ was probably the reason I wanted to become an actor. As a young acting student, you would see all of the guys from the ‘70s and I love Laurence Olivier and Montgomery Clift.

What was it about the script or the character in particular that drew you to your role in ‘Let Me In’?

Well, I could really relate to Owen’s character, being bullied at school and trying to cope with that and his dysfunctional home life. I think that is universal for a lot of us. I just really feel in love with that journey. I thought that Matt Reeves captured it beautifully in that script and I just really wanted to be a part of it.

You mentioned that you are a horror fan. Were you familiar with the book and the original film before filming?

No, I was not. I am going to try and catch it at some point. I hear that they are great and equally great in their own way. I hope that the fans of the original film are open enough to receive a different version that is equally as soulful.

For someone not familiar with the other incarnations, what can you tell us about your character?

I play a sort of broad strokes police officer who is investigating some very bizarre murders that begin to happen in his town suddenly. He is a little bit over his head perhaps. He has never seen anything like it. Metaphorically, he could be anything — perhaps a moral conscience of it slowly coming towards these to kids and what is happening to them.

With a role like this, what is your process for bringing a character that could have much less dimension in someone elses hands and make it jump from the page to the screen incorporating some of your own essence along the way?

That is a good question. What started occurring to me because the character, for all intents and purposes, could be taken out of the movie in some way, except for the last scene of the movie, and the narrative still happens. Over time, he very much started feeling like a ghost to me. This just has to do with my personalizing of things. In a lot of ways, I feel like he has gone back in time and is trying to retrace his steps to discover where he went wrong and is somehow baring witness in a very compassionate way, not only to the people around him but to himself as a soul. I started thinking of it in those terms and it started making sense to me and added relevance to me being in the room. You may or may not see that in the script, but it added a certain sort of weight to being there for me.

You mentioned the director, Matt Reeves. There is quite a buzz about him and the film itself. What was it like working with him and what do you think he brought to the project?

I have known Matt for a while. We worked together on a pilot years back. He is such a lovely soul. He is very inclusive. He has his ideas and is completely open to yours. He makes you feel that you can keep trying different things and the more the better. He created an environment that his actors could feel safe in and try a lot of different things. As an actor, that is all that you can ask for. He loved the project so much and believed in it. I think that he related the the journey of this boy as well and you knew you were in the hands of someone who had the right sensitivity for the story. It doesn’t get better than that. He is just a lovely human being.

You are also surrounded by some great young talent who play some dark roles in this film. How would you describe your experience performing with Chloe Moretz and Kodi Smit-McPhee?

You know what, I feel like kids have a real “bullshit barometer”. You can’t fool them, ya know. The kids were great. All I can do is learn from them because they are just so present. It is not like they are doing any acting because they are so young and they are so soulful that they can really imitate what they see and play. As an actor, with my so-called experience, that is really the state that I want to be in at all times. So, I had a lot to learn from them. At the end of the day, when I felt accepted by them, I felt like I had accomplished something. It was me who was humbled by them. They were effortless. Working with them, you can’t help feeling very protective of them because you are watching them at a time in their lives where they are going to change, in the film they will be forever 12 years old and it captures their essence that way. It is really something profound.

As an actor, what was the biggest challenge in making this film?

It may sound simplistic but to me sometimes just being present. I am a bit of a helium balloon and I tend to just kind of fly off, so to be in a room and be grounded and to look at things and observe them in a non-judgemental way with a passionate eye, all of those things were a challenge to me.

You have been in several films in recent years that have supernatural overtones. Being a fan of the horror genre, what has it been like for you as an actor exploring that genre?

Listen, man … I grew up watching all sorts of horror films! I could not get enough of them. I would be in front of the television as a little kid with the TV Guide in hand, just waiting for something to come on! ‘King Kong’ was my favorite. ‘Dracula,’ ‘The Hunchback of Notre Dame,’ ‘Frankenstein,’ ‘The Wolfman,’ ‘Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde,’ you name it! Vincent Price, Peter Cushing, Christopher Lee, Boris Karloff, Lon Chaney, he was amazing in ‘Phantom of The Opera.’ All of these guys, what they have in common is that they have so much soul that you can see their soulful struggle and somehow be part of their world. I love it! If I could fill Vincent Price’s shoes I would be a happy camper! Or more likely Lon Chaney and what he had to endure with the character he created, I love it. Not just for the sake of just slasher and horror films, you want these films to have soul. That is what I think these films have had and that is what I think ‘Let Me In’ has — a timeless soul, the need to just belong and to be a part of this world and somehow make sense of your life or why you are here. If I could carve my own little niche that way, I would be very lucky! [laughs]

You have played so many different roles throughout your career. Is there a particular type of film or genre that you are anxious to tackle in the future?

I don’t know how to answer that, man. That is a really good question. I don’t know. Just recently I just spent some time in South Africa playing in a movie called ‘Winnie’ which is based on Winnie Mandela’s life. I never in my wildest dreams thought that someone would wake up and say, “Ya know who we need to play the South African leader of the apartheid army? We need Elias!” The fact that somebody thought that is a good sign because I never thought someone would have cast me in that. It was a great time and a huge learning experience that challenged me, ya know? If more people think of me for parts like that, parts that you wouldn’t expect to see me in, that would be a blessing! I am open to anything, comedy, horror, drama, as long I feel that the character is something that I could help contribute to the storyline.

What is the best piece of advice that you have for anyone who would like to get involved in the film industry?

That is a great question. I just think that, not to be simplistic about it, you should live your life as fully as you can. Absorb and observe what is going on around you. Read voraciously. Learn an instrument. Learn as many different things as you can because the more you know about what is going on around you, the more you know about what is going on inside your heart, the fuller your instrument will be to draw from if acting and sharing a part of yourself with people is what you want to do. In retrospect, that is the biggest thing that I could say. Live your life with an open mind and a curiosity. The more the better!

I wanted to ask you about one of your early roles. You played Casey Jones in the ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ movie which is celebrating it’s 20th anniversary this year. Can you share any thoughts on your experiences with that franchise and was it as much fun as it looked?

It was a lot of fun, man! You know, you show up and you put on this outfit and you become a superhero that is talking to these Turtles! The people behind it, the creature shop, it was such a great experience. The people were so talented and friendly! At the end of the day you had to pinch yourself because you were working with these brilliant artists that were bringing these phenomenal beings to life! Seeing them brought to life was an amazing experience! I can’t believe it has been 20 years!

Well happy anniversary!

Thank you! It’s amazing!

What other projects do you have coming up that we should be on the look out for in the near future?

In addition to ‘Winnie’, there is a picture called ‘Dream House’ which is directed by Jim Sheridan and stars Daniel Craig. It is a great film that we just finished up. I will also be in ‘Harold and Kumar 3’. That was a lot of fun and it will be in 3D.

It seems you continue to have a full plate, which is great! Thanks for talking with us, Elias. We really look forward to seeing what you have in store for us in the future!

Thank you, man. It has been a pleasure talking to you!

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‘Iron Man’ Writers To Script New ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ Flick!

‘Iron Man’ Writers To Script New ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ Flick!

tmntArt Marcum and Matt Holloway have signed on to write the script for the new feature film installment of “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles,” which Platinum Dunes is producing for Paramount.

Paramount and Nickelodeon picked up the rights to the comic book characters for around $60 million last year. The companies plan to push out the characters not only in movie form but via a TV show and other mediums.

Marcum and Holloway gained notoriety with their script for the first “Iron Man” film. They also worked on 2008’s “Punisher: War Zone.” and recently penned scripts for “Buck Rogers” and “Highlander”.

Considered one of the most popular kids’ television programs of the 1980s, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is a classic, global property created in 1984 by Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird. It first debuted as a successful comic book series and then became a hit animated TV show, a live-action television series, and later spawned four blockbuster theatrical releases. The property also has translated into a significant consumer products business–with DVDs, video games, toys and more–that has generated billions of dollars at retail.

Source: THR

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Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Back In Action With New Writer

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Back In Action With New Writer


"Turtle Power" is alive and well!

John Fusco has been hired to write the new live-action version of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. The film scheduled for a 2011 release. Fusco wrote last year’s The Forbidden Kingdom, starring Jackie Chan and Jet Li. Most notably, his other writing credits include Hidalgo and Young Guns. He also wrote a redo of The Seven Samurai for the Weinstein Co.

“It is always exciting when you can come aboard a project that bridges the worlds of what you do with what you love,” Fusco said. Variety reports that casting for stunt performers commenced in Hollywood over the weekend.

Fusco will incorporate elements of the Teenage mutant Ninja Turtles comics, created by Peter Laird and Kevin Eastman in 1983, for the new adventure, which is being planned as an origins story. No studio or director are yet attached to the project.

The characters first appeared in a May 1984 comicbook before spawning a lucrative line of toys, cartoons and three films released in the early 1990s. In 2003, the Turtles were reintroduced to a new generation via a TV series, the “TMNT” film and a revamped merchandising program.

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