By now, you may have already heard about or read the news in "Variety" about the writer chosen for the new TMNT movie project, John Fusco. Here's the official release:
"JOHN FUSCO TO WRITE SCREENPLAY FOR
“TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES” MOTION PICTURE
Veteran Hollywood Scribe to Write Screenplay for Film Scheduled for 2011 Release
Los Angeles, CA (July 21, 2009) — TMNT Productions, in association with Mirage Studios, has signed veteran screenwriter John Fusco to create the script for the upcoming live-action Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles theatrical film targeted for release in 2011. Fusco joins the creative team with producers Scott Mednick (“300,” “Superman Returns”) and Galen Walker (“TMNT”) to re-tell the origin story of the legendary foursome of the characters co-created by Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird.
Fusco brings a unique perspective to the classic property, with credits ranging from the original “Young Guns” and its sequel to "Hidalgo" and last year's "The Forbidden Kingdom" starring Jet Li and Jackie Chan. He also recently completed the script for a contemporary version of the classic "Seven Samurai" for The Weinstein Company.
In addition to his film industry credits, Fusco brings years of martial arts training and inspiration to the new screenplay. His interest in Korean martial arts began at age 12, and his passion continues today through ongoing study of Shaolin Kung Fu as well as the history and culture behind these ancient practices.
"It is always exciting when you can come aboard a project that bridges the worlds of what you do with what you love,” said Fusco. “I have always been a fan of the Turtles and the world of martial arts is my lifelong passion. I look forward to this great opportunity."
“John brings to our team the perfect blend of talent, expertise and enthusiasm for the property and the genre,” said Mednick. "We are committed to bringing to the screen a vital, vibrant and contemporary effort that is the next chapter in this venerable franchise."
“Working with the original comics created by Peter Laird and Kevin Eastman will allow both the new and first generations of fans to experience the Turtles in a whole new light,” said Walker. “Tapping into the rich of history of these heroic and loved brethren should prove to be a phenomenal collaborative adventure for us all.”
“From the first stages of planning this movie, we were committed to finding a group of the most passionate, creative and experienced individuals, who appreciated the history and myth of the TMNT, to craft a new vision of the Turtles for Mirage to share with current fans and to captivate a whole new generation,” said Gary Richardson CEO, Mirage Studios.
Announcement of Fusco’s role comes as the Turtles’ 25th Anniversary “Shell-ebration” culminates its cross-country tour at San Diego Comic-Con where Fusco, Mednick and Walker will join Turtles co-creator Kevin Eastman and Steve Barron (director of the original 1990's film) and others on a panel to discuss the project and the history of the property on Friday, July 24.
Peter Laird, Gary Richardson, Frederick Fierst, Eric Crown and Napoleon Smith III will serve as executive producers of the film. The project is being funded through Lightbox Productions, LLC.
4Kids Entertainment, master licensing agency for the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles property, will handle all licensing activity on TMNT movie-related merchandise.
Additional information is available on the www.tmnt25.com and www.4kids.tv Websites.
About Mirage Studios
Mirage Studios, Inc. is part of The Mirage Group, a group of companies located in Northampton, Massachusetts that owns, manages, nurtures and protects the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles property.
About 4Kids Entertainment
Master licensing agent for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, 4Kids Entertainment, Inc. (NYSE: KDE), is a global organization devoted to the creation, development, production, broadcasting, distribution, licensing and manufacturing of children’s entertainment products, with U.S. headquarters in New York City, regional offices for its trading card business in San Diego, California and international offices in London and Hong Kong.
Additional information is available on the www.4kidsentertainment.com corporate Website and at the www.4kids.tv game station site."
I'm happy that we can finally, officially release this information. I met John for the first time around the middle of last month -- he drove down to Northampton, and Galen Walker and Scott Mednick flew out from California, to meet with me and Gary at the Mirage offices. I was impressed with John -- he's a cool guy with a lot of intelligence and energy... and he has good kung-fu! I'm looking forward to getting into story discussions with him.
Here's a small panorama built from a few photos I snapped at that first meeting, in the Mirage Studios conference room. I wonder what point Galen is making so energetically...? -- PL
(From left to right: Galen, Scott, John, Gary.)