Fri
Feb 22 2013 12:15pm

Megan Fox Cast as April O’Neil in Michael Bay’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Megan Fox April O'Neil Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Michael Bay pros cons

Once Michael Bay kicked Megan Fox out of the Transformers franchise in 2011, it seemed as if the sultry actress had learned to safely keep her distance from genre movies. But now comes the news that not only has she joined Bay’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles reboot, but she’s playing beloved reporter April O’Neil! And will probably be wearing a much more shredded version of April’s signature yellow jumpsuit.

Oh Jesus, no. Maybe it’s all a mistake and Fox was actually cast as April O’Neil the adult film star? Sadly, unlike that time we were all hyperventilating over the possibility of Fox playing Catwoman, this is very true. Yesterday Bay posted a simple yet damning update to his blog:

TMNT: we are bringing Megan Fox back into the family!

I hate to be the person to say this, but she’s not even a redhead! Still, I’m a longtime Megan Fox apologist, so maybe there’s a silver lining to this sewer cover.

Con: There are so many other good actresses who missed out on the role! According to Variety, Fox beat out Anna Kendrick (who would’ve been freaking adorable acting opposite the Turtles), Jane Levy (a dead ringer for O’Neil), and Elizabeth Olsen (who would’ve provided a touch of class). Seriously, the movie would be 50% better if any of these actresses had gotten the part.

Pro: Bay invited plenty of backlash last year when he announced that in his version, Leonardo, Michelangelo, Donatello, and Raphael would be aliens, not regular turtles exposed to a mutagen in New York City’s sewers. This movie will probably never match thematically to the comics or animated series we grew up on, so maybe it’s better that we’re throwing all logical choices out the window.

Con: Fox and Bay had a really ugly falling-out in 2011, when she compared him to Hitler while describing his on-set work ethic. His response was basically “Fuck you very much, I’m Michael Bay” and he gave her the boot. Shoving these two back together is only going to lead to him firing her or her actually leaving, which will just give the movie more bad press.

Pro: The one redeeming factor in all this is that Fox isn’t an awful actress! She was fantastic in Jennifer’s Body because she managed to play this weird ambivalence where she was the dumb beauty, but she was incredibly nuanced, yet still an idiot. She’s incredibly savvy with her public image—honestly, she came out looking the best of everyone after Bay fired her—and knows where her comedic sweet spot is.

Con: The problem is, no one will give her that chance. Producers still automatically pigeonhole Fox as one-note sexpot characters. Tor.com’s production manager Chris had this knee-jerk reaction to the casting news, summing up what we can probably expect from a Michael Bay TMNT:

Megan Fox as April O’Neil! I can’t wait for her introductory scene where she’s a stripper at a strip club but it turns out she’s just a really good undercover reporter who’s reporting on some mob boss connected to the Foot Clan who goes to that strip club all the time and then she’s found out and confronted in an alleyway and OH NOES this movie is maybe too adult to be a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie because look out they’re going to slash her but LO, suddenly some turtle-shaped shadows in the night make a bunch of beating-people-up sounds while April O’Neil closes her eyes and suddenly she is alone in an alleyway!

But then she later has to use those same feminine wiles to seduce Shredder... nope nope nope. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comes out May 16, 2014.


Natalie Zutter is a playwright, foodie, and the co-creator of Leftovers, a webcomic about food trucks in the zombie apocalypse. Her writing has appeared on BlackBook, Ology, and Crushable, where she discusses celebrity culture alongside internet memes (or vice versa). Weekly you can find her calling in to the Hunger Games Fireside Chat podcast, reviewing new releases at Movie Mezzanine, and on Twitter.

13 comments
Steve Hussey
1. deihbhussey
The casting choice doesn't bother me near as much as the fact that this article reminded me that, not only is Michael Bay still alive, he's still getting paid to make atrocious movies. Along that same vein, people are still shelling out gobs of cash at the box office for the guy that made Pearl Harbor and attrociously murdered Transformers! Arggg. Ok, I'm done, sorry just had to get that negativity out. I'm better now.
Improbable Joe
2. Improbable Joe
Count me in as a fan of Megan Fox. Blaming her for being terrible in a Michael Bay movie is like blaming Ewan McGregor for being wooden in the Star Wars prequels. She WAS really good in Jennifer's Body, she has a healthy contempt for celebrity journalism, and I'm kind of always rooting for her. Especially compared to Amanda Seyfried, who is way more successful and has all the personality of a boiled potato sandwich.
Natalie Zutter
3. nataliezutter
@ImprobableJoe - Hah! I just imagined Megan Fox stealing the role of Cosette from Amanda Seyfried in Les Mis.

Also, the Ewan McGregor comment brought to mind this great interview he did a few years ago where he talks acting opposite green screens. (The Star Wars stuff starts around eight minutes in.)

@deihbhussey - No, let it out! I was about to say that the only good Michael Bay movie was Battleship, then I remembered he didn't have a thing to do with it. But really he should be doing mindless stuff like that instead of attempting anything vaguely intelligent.

Although the ultimate question is... will Megan Fox as April O'Neil be more or less cringeworthy than Vanilla Ice changing "Go Ninja Go Ninja GO"?
Chris Nelly
4. Aeryl
I like Fox too, but as I've said elsewhere, nothing could make me go so this movie. I'm just thankful Del Toro is redeeming fightin' giant robots for me, after the mess that was Transformers.
Liz J
5. Ellisande
I'm so terribly curious about how this even went down. Even assuming they weren't truly as acrimonious as it seemed in the press, it seems like bad choices all the way around, and her casting doesn't help her or the movie much. I hope she gets a good payday out of it, because that's probably the only good thing that'll come out of this.
Philip Gonzales
6. BatmanJesus
It's important to note that April O'Neil is not a redhead in the comics. Or, maybe it's not important, but she isn't. Fox actually looks more like the original April than the cartoon version ever did.
Natalie Zutter
7. nataliezutter
@BatmanJesus - Good point! And one I meant to mention. I grew up with the cartoon, which is why I automatically went to the redheaded April.
Other Alias
8. ghostcrab311
So, Michael Bay is going to destroy another hit from my childhood. Will someone please stop this whole debacle from coming to fruition? Please?
Joseph Newton
9. crzydroid
Why does Michael Bay get to keep on making movies? Now he can ruin yet another beloved cartoon from my youth.
Improbable Joe
10. jere7my
It's times like this that I take comfort in a little ballad from Team America: World Police:

http://youtu.be/_pM8PrqY5Rg
Ian Johnson
11. IanPJohnson
Eventually pornographic actress April O'Neil will play Megan Fox playing April O'Neil in the X-rated parody of Michael Bay's TMNT.

And then the universe will explode.
Improbable Joe
12. KennethG
This dosen't surprise me in the least. From the start of TFI, it was obvious that Bay could care less about the fan-base. He's making big budget summertime action movies, then adding the "trappings" of whatever liscense the Hollywood Gods drop to him from the heavens. It's all about the opening week, these days.

Remember that even back with the Batman franchise in the 90s, netiher Burton or Schumacher got called to the carpet until the profits dropped. (Hell they gave Shumacher a second shot at it after Batman and Robin gave us... gasp... Bat-Nipples). As long as Bay's "visions" keep making 900 quatrillion bucks a shot, it's not going to stop.

But luckly, it's the 21st century, so we can always look toward the (inevitiable) reboot with hope... in about 5 years :)
Steve Hussey
13. deihbhussey
@10. jere7my - Love love love that song so much. Now of course I'm singing it in my head even before watching the video. "I miss you more than Michael Bay missed the mark, when he made Pearl Harbor.."

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