Last night, I had the pleasure of talking with TMNT director Kevin Munroe while he was halfway around the world gearing up for the film's Hong Kong premiere. Though it was crazy early in the morning (for Kevin), the guy still managed to unload a mouthful of goodies; we talked everything from working with two production teams (one in the States and one in Hong Kong), to creating a tone and story for TMNT that remains faithful to the comics, but still manages to reach out to people of all ages. During our talk, Kevin opened up about whether or not he'll be involved in a TMNT sequel, what we should expect from Gatchaman, and what he thinks about the Justice League movie. Could it be done? Would he direct it? Read on to find out ...
Cinematical: So, what's the vibe over there in Hong Kong? Are they big Turtles fans there?
Kevin Munroe: You know it's funny, I think the property is much bigger now. I sat down for dinner the first night we got here, and this bus stopped in front of this window behind me, and my wife pointed out that there was this huge TMNT poster plastered across the side of the bus. There's a lot of posters everywhere, it's pretty cool. Tonight is the premiere, so we're gonna go to that. And then there's a crew screening after that, because it was Hong Kong based production, and we'll go to that too.
Cinematical: Talk about working with the crew in Hong Kong. I know there was a 300-person creative team assigned to this film -- some based in California and some in Hong Kong. What was that experience like? Was it hard keeping everyone on the same page, what with the language barrier and everything?
KM: Yeah, you hit the nail right on the head there. It's like an exaggerated, very expensive TV animation model. You have the Los Angeles-based production crew -- that's me, my production designer, storyboard artists, editor -- all the front end kind of stuff. And that was about thirty people or so; that's where we worked with the DP and created all this really specific camera stuff. Then we ship everything over here [Hong Kong], and there was about 350-400 people over here. In the beginning, it was this insane communication challenge. For example, during the monster hunt montage, we wanted to decorate it with wooden pallets in the background. So I told them I wanted pallets, and they kept sending me reference photos of people with open mouths. I didn't understand what they were doing. And then I realized they were thinking the palate of your mouth.