Sean Astin ("The Lord of the Rings") has joined the cast of Nickelodeon's all-new CG-animated "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" as Raphael, one of four teenage brothers dedicated to a life battling evil denizens. Rounding out the cast are Jason Biggs ("American Pie") as Leonardo, Greg Cipes ("Teen Titans") as Michelangelo and Rob Paulsen ("Planet Sheen") as Donatello. Paulsen also voiced the original Raphael from 1987-1996 in the first series. Currently in production at the Nick Animation Studio in Burbank, Calif., the show is set to premiere in fall 2012. Executive produced by Ciro Nieli, Joshua Sternin and J.R. Ventimilia, this half-hour action-comedy series breathes new life into the wildly popular band of reptile brothers.
"I'm excited to be joining the ranks of the newest 'Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles' team," said Astin. "This franchise and these characters are beloved around the world, and I'm proud to be the next Raphael. I plan to bring the kind of passion and dedication to the role that TMNT fans have the right to expect."
"We're thrilled to have such a talented group of actors to voice the 'Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles' in this new series," said Brown Johnson, President, Animation, Nickelodeon Kids and Family Group. "This cast will bring great humor and intensity to our new action comedy take on the band of turtle brothers."
Raphael (Astin) is the biggest and toughest of the brothers, and has little patience for stealth operations, hiding in the shadows or keeping his voice down. Leonardo (Biggs), considered to be the leader of the turtles, aspires to be the perfect hero around his three smart-aleck brothers. Donatello (Paulsen) is the reclusive, yet utterly brilliant team inventor who is able to cobble together fantastic weapons from things scrounged from a trash heap. And Michelangelo (Cipes) is enthusiastic, easily distracted, loves pop culture and is always trying to get in on the latest fad.
Nickelodeon's "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" begins as the turtles emerge from their hidden lair in the sewers for the very first time, ready to confront the wondrous and hostile world of New York City and face enemies more dangerous and pizza more delicious than anything they could have imagined. Funnier and with more Ninjitsu than ever before, the show will explore the camaraderie of four teenage brothers learning to rely on themselves and one another as they unravel the mystery of their existence and grow to become the heroes in a half-shell that they are destined to be.
Considered one of the most popular kids' television programs of the 1980s, "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" is a classic, global property created in 1984 by Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird. It first debuted as a successful comic book series and then became a hit animated TV show, a live-action television series and later spawned four blockbuster theatrical releases. The property also has translated into a significant consumer products business – with DVDs, video games, toys and more – that has generated billions of dollars at retail.
Nickelodeon Consumer Products will continue to work with its original and long-standing toy partner, Playmates Toys, which has been the creative force behind the successful TMNT master toy program over the last two decades. Playmates is already developing a product line based on the new "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" series which will cater to kids and consumers all around the world.
Next up for TMNT, this coming July at Comic-Con in San Diego, Calif., select fans will get an exclusive sneak peek at the re-imagination of "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles," preview all-new never-before-seen content, and meet special guests who are working on the new property.