While resurrecting those old emails to Lloyd I mentioned a little while ago, I also found two interesting short documents on that computer. They were things I had written back in 1990, if the dates on the files are accurate, and it seems likely that they are.
Apparently, I had -- either by myself or in collaboration with Kevin Eastman, though I think it is probably the former -- been thinking about possible directions to take in a second live-action TMNT movie, and typed up these thoughts on my old (well, it was new then) Atari ST computer. I then must have, at some point in the more recent past, transferred the files from the Atari to my Macintosh.
Unfortunately, something happened in the transfer which screwed up the formatting of the files -- when I opened them on my Mac laptop last night, I discovered that all of the spaces in the documents had disappeared, leaving the entire text in each file as one long unbroken word. I tried to fix this mess with various reformatting options in several word processing programs, but nothing worked. Then I decided I would just go in and insert spaces between each word, and after a couple of hours of that, realized to my dismay that the formatting was STILL wacky.
So, I took the brute force approach that I guess I should have taken to begin with -- I just retyped both documents. I corrected two misspellings, but other than that, these two documents are as they were originally written.
I am not sure, exactly, for what, or to whom, they were intended. They kind of read as if we'd intended to send them to Steve Barron or whoever was chosen to direct the second TNT movie. I can't recall if they were ever sent to anyone.
Anyway, technical snafus aside, these are kind of interesting. As I re-read them, I could see a lot of the excitement we'd had about doing a second movie, as well as a number of naive assumptions about what might be possible. And there's at least one thing that I was surprised to read -- a scene which I believe actually ended up in an episode of the 4Kids TMNT TV series. -- PL
Here's the first file:
"thoughts on a sequel for the TMNT movie
How's this for an opening (or closing) scene for the second TMNT movie (maybe run under the credits): A garbage truck rumbles past the camera, heading for the landfill. It stops at the edge of a hill of refuse. The two sanitation engineers get out of the truck, and go around back to make sure the truck makes its dump properly. As the trash spills out, one of the guys sees something metallic glinting in the mess, and pulls it out. He holds it up, and in a medium closeup we see that it's the Shredder's helmet, crushed and twisted.
We both feel that the Shredder should not appear in the second TNT movie, but this might be a subtle enough way to refer to his ambiguous fate and set the scene for his appearance in a third TMNT movie (if that happens).
Anyway… one main concern is that the second (and any subsequent) movie stay as much away from the cartoon show, and as close to the original black and white comics, as the first movie did. We don't want to see Bebop and Rocksteady, or Krang, or any of the other goofy characters. We feel that there is plenty of material in the black and white books to form the basis for another good movie.
One possible approach would be to use some of the elements in TMNT book #2 (the Baxter Stockman/mousers story), or issues 3, 4 and 7. The Stockman/mousers tale is pretty straightforward, and could be lifted from the book with little alterations (have to find another assistant for Stockman, as in the movie April already has a different job). A conceivable addition would be the Rat King character that Jim Lawson created in issue #4 of "Tales of the TMNT", who was also used in the animated series, but not in the best of fashions. The Rat King could be a really neat, visually arresting character on film, and there could be some interesting interactions with him, Splinter, and the mousers.
Going the other way, using TMNT's 3, 4, and 7, would require more alterations, but also would offer some neat possibilities for action and story, not to mention some bitchin' special effects… and a set up for the next film. Before getting int o this, you should probably re-read the aforementioned issues.
Okay… this story wold involve revealing part of the mystery behind the Turtles' origin, that being where the mysterious canister of ooze came from, namely, the Techno-Cosmic Research Institute (T.C.R.I.). The story could follow fairly closely to the story in book four -- the Turtles are jumped by the Foot, there's a big fight, Mike gets hurt. they see the T.C.R.I. building, they try to find out more about it (but can't), they decide to surreptitiously enter it to find out more, they encounter the weird T.C.R.I. aliens (the Utroms -- they are little squishy brain-like creatures about the size of a basketball, and ride around in the stomach cavity of their humanoid robot vehicles), there's another fight, the transmat machine the Utroms have been building is accidentally switched on and goes wild, and in the ensuing melee three Triceratons are beamed in. This makes for an even more intense fight, ending with one of the Triceratons being stunned and the other two killed. Somehow, the Utroms ad the Turtles reach an understanding, and Donatello helps them repair their transmat, while Leo and the other Turtles help hold off the forces of the New York City police and the National Guard, who are trying to force their way into the building (the power surge from the accidentally activated transmat blacked out ten city blocks). In the end, the aliens are able to beam themselves back to their home planet, the Turtles escape, the building collapses, and all is well in the world.
(Note that this sets up a scenario in which the "Return to New York" story [as told by us in issues 19, 20 and 21 of TMNT] could be the basis of a third movie, involving the return and ultimate fate of the Shredder, and the mutated Triceraton's team-up with the Turtles to invade the Shredder's domain.)
I think that there are a number of new elements from the first movie that could be easily integrated into this plot. There could be an extension of the developing relationship between Casey and April, possibly with Charles Pennington as a third party in a kind of romantic triangle (some potentially interesting contrast of Casey's and Charles' personalities here). Danny could be brought back, and possibly he could try to help the Turtles by infiltrating the T.C.R.I. building -- but he gets caught by the Utroms, and ends up in one of their suspended animation tanks, to be discovered by the Turtles… in fact, his disappearance could be one of the reasons they enter the building. Actually, for that matter it could be April who does it, doing her nosey reporter thing… except she gets too nosey, and the aliens take her captive. That might even be a good reason for Casey to go with the Turtles, getting him in on the action (and providing a good opportunity for a rescue/reunion clinch with April).
The T.C.R.I. aliens could be a really neat effect, relatively easily done by the Henson shop. Envision a robot body similar to the Terminator's metal skeleton, with a squishy alien brain in its midriff. As we drew them in the comics, they would be pretty workable as a combination bodysuit/radio-controlled puppet (for the alien part). Major facial movements for the aliens could be done in medium closeups, without the need for the stunt person or actor to be inside the robot suit.
Similarly, the Triceratons could be accomplished by the geniuses at the Henson group without much of a problem.
Another element that we feel should be in the second movie is the spiritual nature of the Turtles' martial arts training, and the fact that Splinter has taught them the ways of the ninja with a twist: they follow the pacifist/warrior ways of the Shaolin monks of China, who advised that, when confronted with aggression, one should "avoid rather than check, check rather than hurt, hurt rather than maim, maim rather than kill." This could be well done in a scene where the Turtles are trying to teach Casey some of their moves, and his temper gets the best of him until Splinter intervenes.
more thoughts -- 5-8-1990
We could use the whole mouser scenario that is in book 2… only tie the mousers in with the T.C.R.I. guys -- they created the mousers. Baxter Stockman is actually a T.C.R.I. alien, fronting his mouser idea as a way of making money for the company, to aid their efforts to get off the planet.
(This sets up a scene where Casey confronts Baxter (in the T.C.R.I. building, where he and April have gone to investigate further, with Casey posing as April's cameraman), socking him in the jaw… with the result that Casey almost breaks his hand, and Baxter pulls open his shirt to reveal the T.C.R.I. alien in his robotic belly."
Here's the second file:
"Teenage Mutant NInja Turtles #2: The Sequel
A Proposed Outline
We open on April O'Neil doing a remote spot covering the test of a new anti-rodent device, called the MOUSER, at the laboratory of Dr. Baxter Stockman, a 30-ish, bespectacled and mustachioed black man. Stockman runs the MOUSER through its paces -- the little robot with the savage gaping jaws chases a large rat through a maze and devours it in less than twenty second -- and, in response to a question from an unnerved April about what he plans to do with his device, Stockman replies that the city of New York has already given him funds to develop an initial force of a dozen mousers, to, in his words, "begin to take care of the city's rat problem -- once and for all!" Closeup on April's face, as she reacts to this statement…
… and dissolve to a closeup of Splinter's hairy face, and pull back to show him sitting cross-legged in front of a TV set, looking very thoughtful as we hear the tail end of April's report. Nearby, Donatello works on a circuit board, soldering small pieces of wire to it… tool and miscellaneous supplies are strewn around the floor. Across from him, Leonardo sits next to Splinter, carefully polishing one of his katana blades. We hear the background noise of sparring going on.
Suddenly, Raphael flies into view, crashing down on a coffee table and smashing it into pieces. Michaelangelo, who has worked a masterful judo move on Raphael, calls out affectionate jibes from the sidelines.
But Raphael doesn't see them as affectionate. He's well on his way to losing his temper, and as he loses it, her gets more careless, allowing Mike to continually get the upper hand on him. Gradually, though, Mike starts to see that Raph is getting vicious. Splinter and the two Turtles notice it too, but not before Raph grabs one of Leo's swords and goes after a shocked Michaelangelo, who stumbles and loses his footing, leaving him defenseless against Raph's berserker rage. It looks bad…
… but just then Leo and Don grab Raph's arms, holding him back Leo yells at Raph "Are you nuts??! What are you trying to do, lill Mike??!! It's just sparring, for Gods sake… just practice!"
With a start, Raphael realizes what he's doing. He drops the sword like it's suddenly red hot, and begins to stammer out a halting apology. Splinter comes over to try to calm Raph down, but Raph's anger and shame overcome him -- he tears away and goes bounding off. Leo starts to follow, but Splinter stops him, saying "Raphael will return… let him deal with his anger first."
(Note: All this takes place in the Turtles' and Splinter's new home in the sewers, a new lair that they have fixed up since the battle with the Foot in the first movie.)
Later… Casey arrives at the TV station to pick April up for their date. April, who's been waiting outside for the last half hour, is quietly fuming… and not at all amused with Casey's half-hearted excuses for his lateness -- or by his car, a real rattletrap. They get in, and Casey tries to start the car -- it won't start. As Casey tries again, and April rolls her eyes, Charles Pennington comes out of the building. His eyes narrow a bit when he sees Casey with April, and then he smirks at Casey's malfunctioning wreck of a vehicle. "Need a lift, April?" he asks, gesturing at his brand new BMW. She hesitates… until Casey, with his usual thing layer of tact frayed even further by the bad start this date with April has gotten off to, says something like :Yeah, why don't you go ridin' with the four-eyed wonder." At this, April gets pissed, and she does just that, leaving Casey sitting in his car, giving it an occasional kick and curse.
A week or so later: April is doing a news story about a strange series of robberies, in which bank vaults were tunneled into and valuables extracted, with no trace of the culprits.
That's where the second file ends. I am not sure why I never finished it. -- PL