The Oral History of Steve Barron’s TMNT

March 30, 2015 marked the 25th anniversary of the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles film. In commemoration, The Hollywood Reporter rounded up several cast and crew members to recount the making of the highest grossing independent film at the time.

The Hollywood Reporter:

Gray: I always thought it would be interesting to have someone who was coming out of MTV videos to amp this up visually. To make it a little bit younger. Director Steve Barron was suggested to us. We looked at his reel. He had done all this great stuff with A-ha. He had done “Billie Jean” with Michael Jackson. He had a very good visual style.

Steve Barron, director: I didn’t want to do something that was bloody. I didn’t want to watch that film. Funnily enough, Batman came out at the same time. It was that sort of tone I was already aiming for. The films that I loved, there was a sense of humor but a sense of peril as well. Of real peril, of grounded peril. Like something that had repercussions for what you did but had a wonderful sense of fun with it. I was a big fan of Ghostbusters.

[…]

Eastman: For an independent film, it was beyond our wildest hopes. We liked the final movie and we hoped people would like it, and [the fact] it did as well as it did was fantastic. Of all the versions of Turtles that have been optioned over the past 30 years now — and certainly in the entertainment arena — the first movie stands out as our hands-down favorite version.

If Barron’s TMNT is not my favorite movie, it easily slides into my top 5. I just wish Street Fighter would have been as successful.

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