(Photo Credit: Paramount Pictures)

How TMNT: Mutant Mayhem Is Embracing the ‘Teenage’ Aspect of Series

Paramount Animation and Nickelodeon Animation president Ramsey Naito has explained why Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem will focus more on the “teenage” side of the titular Heroes in a Half Shell.

Why are the titular turtles teenagers in Mutant Mayhem?

Deadline sat down with Naito to discuss Paramount and Nickelodeon’s upcoming slate of animated features, which includes Mutant Mayhem. During the interview, the president of Paramount and Nickelodeon’s animation divisions revealed that Seth Rogen and Jeff Rowe were behind Mutant Mayhem’s heavy focus on the “teenage” side of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

“[Seth and Jeff] really wanted to tell a story that embraced the teenage part — and to our surprise there hadn’t been any stories told about the teenage part which was weird,” Naito said. “Jeff in particular gravitated towards teenage doodles, high school doodles that kids start doing in their notebooks… Those doodles are infused and inspired and embraced by raw budding hormones and dreams of empowerment and the desire of being accepted.”

She continued, “All of those things combined really inspired the look of the film which is so tactile, and ended up also then along the way of being infused with the spirit of New York — the smells of the subway, grit, grime, energy. It has so much energy look-wise. The development was born out of the teenage part of TMNT that was really organic. And because of the coming-of-age part of it, Seth being the comic genius that he is through these unique characters brought voice and comedy and heart.”

Brady Noon, Micah Abbey, Shamon Brown Jr., and Nicolas Canto lead the voice cast as the titular Heroes in a Half Shell — Raphael, Donatello, Michelangelo, and Leonardo, respectively. Ayo Edebiri, Giancarlo Esposito, Jackie Chan, John Cena, Hannibal Buress, Rose Byrne, Ice Cube, Maya Rudolph, and Paul Rudd, among others, also lend their voices to the film.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem is scheduled to open in theaters on August 2.