Ever since it premiered this past weekend like a ninja in the night with little more than this mysterious micro-site and a YouTube link, Fight the Foot has been making the rounds and racking up a groundswell of TMNT fan support across the internet. As soon as I laid eyes on it myself I knew that I had to find out more about it: was it a teaser trailer for something more? Who directed it? Where can I get one of those awesome Turtle suits?
Well, I’m happy to say that my snooping paid off and I was able to find out the answers to all those questions and more thanks to the mastermind behind the project, Director Richard Krause. Krause, whose background in motion graphics no doubt contributed to the slick presentation of the short, was kind enough to indulge our inner TMNT nerd and provide a bit of backstory on how the film came into being and what the chances are of there being a sequel.
Surprise attack: Casey Jones versus Raphael, street rules…who would win? Go!
Using “street rules,“ Raphael would win. Once he gets into his berserker-like rage, there’s no stopping that monster!
Can you tell us a little about your background? How did you get started in filmmaking?
I was 10 years old when I started making films with my friends. It was incredible—really fun. Then later, when I was in high school, I realized that I wanted to do this for a living, and that I could. Now I do all kinds of work, from motion graphic design to directing.
You just released a short entitled Fight the Foot based on the TMNT franchise. What’s the short about and what state is the TMNT universe in?
The short is a tease for what I picture a feature-length TMNT movie could be. I don’t want to go into too many details, but in the short film’s time period, Shredder is an unknown, Splinter is still training
the Turtles, and the Turtles are not known about. However, the street gang The Foot starts causing problems for April, and Raphael feels it’s necessary to step forward to protect April, whether or not the Turtles will be understood.
How long ago did this project get started?
This project has been in the back of my mind for a long time, but I couldn’t figure out how to portray the Turtles in the way I was thinking of moving the storyline. Then it started to come together, and I started the concept art development in April 2010.
What kind of tools and techniques did you use while shooting?
Overall we had very little equipment. Originally we talked about shooting with RED but two days’ rental would have blown our limited budget. Instead, we used my Canon 5D MKII with a borrowed handheld rig and a set of Zeiss primes. Essentially, we used whatever we could get our hands on, which thankfully worked for the realistic approach to the story.
How did you assemble your cast/crew?
People were shown one image (see above) and asked if they wanted to help out. We were lucky with the cast and crew—people were genuinely excited to be a part of it, in whatever way we needed.
The design you came up with for Raphael is pretty cool, sorta blends the original film with the Mirage comic. How did that look come about and who’s the man behind the mask?
That’s exactly what I wanted to do with the design, keep what people were used to from the original film yet add the aggressive nature of the Mirage comic. It had to be something that had an emotional weight with it, so it wasn’t just a costume. I asked my friend Adam to take on the role of Raphael, and he was more than willing. It brought more challenges than people might expect, working through the suit, and Adam stepped up.
Who did the special effects for the short? Did you work with a specific studio or team?
There were only a few effects shots and I handled those myself. A big part of making this film was to keep it feeling real, and the best way to do that here was to handle most shots in camera.
Are there any plans to try and get this licensed? My thoughts go to the recent news of Kevin Tancharoen’s Mortal Kombat: Rebirth short getting greenlit as a web series.
I would be open to that, for sure. It would be a dream come true to have an opportunity to work with a real budget and to have the rights.
The Turtles have been around for over 20 years now. What do you think it is about them that has kept them interesting all this time?
Their personalities. People can relate to at least one of them in some way. They’re really likable heroes.
What’s your favorite character from the cartoons that has never made it to the screen yet?
Bebop and Rocksteady. I think a lot of us really felt their absence on the big screen.
I couldn’t agree with you more! I was so upset when they cast Tokka and Rahzar in the second film instead of them. What’s your stance on trend in Hollywood to remake, or reboot, all of these 80s franchises and if given the chance how would you put your own personal spin on the upcoming Turtles reboot?
It’s a business and it seems to be working well for the studios. I’m not against it, especially when we’re talking about a remake from someone like Christopher Nolan, someone who puts the time and respect and research into the project, into developing the characters and the material of the franchise. If I had a chance to work on the Turtles reboot, I’d want the characters to make the movie. Fight scenes can be fantastic, of course, but character development takes it to the next level in people’s minds.
How can people learn more about Fight the Foot?
IMAGES CREDIT: Richard Krause