Surprisingly, for a guy whose CW series “Arrow” has been a hit for years, Stephen Amell is only now making his feature film debut with “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows” (opening Friday).
“My schedule for ‘Arrow’ and the hiatus I have is so brief,” said Amell, 35. “The biggest miracle is this film fit into my schedule. Three days after I finished ‘Arrow,’ I was in New York for the movie, and we wrapped four days before the next season.”
The Turtles have long been fan favorites: The comics popped in 1984. A 1990 film version spawned two sequels, a live-action TV series and three animated series. The 2014 reboot prompted this sequel.
As Casey Jones, a corrections officer turned hockey-masked vigilante, Amell becomes an ally and love interest of reporter April O’Neil (Megan Fox).
“We don’t get the five-alarm Casey Jones the Turtle fans are used to,” Amell acknowledged. “We get glimpses of that. But I (understand Casey) wanting to be a police detective, which hasn’t worked out – and that allowed me to make Casey my own.”
Going from television, where “Arrow” recently aired its fourth season finale, to feature films, Amell “worried it would be rigid. I had no idea if all we wanted to do was what was on the page. But it was, ‘Let’s do the best scene possible.’ We’d put a scene on its feet, and if it didn’t work, the director and writers were there to say, ‘Let’s try this.’ And we did and you’d be amazed, a ton of that stuff ended up in the movie.”
As for stunts, “I ended up doing every one except when I get ratcheted into a car, which I didn’t want to do and they wouldn’t let me do.
“They let me develop a fighting style for Casey Jones. At the end” – when Casey is up against goons Rocksteady and Bebop, who have been transformed into a rhino and a warthog – “the producers said, ‘The last fight needs to be bigger,’ and we were out at Pier 92 for five days just going wall to wall.
“That week of filming is probably what I’m most proud of in my entire career. It was very cool for Casey Jones.”
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows
Cast: Will Arnett, Laura Linney, Stephen Amell, Megan Fox, Tyler Perry, Tony Shalhoub, Brad Garrett, Noel Fisher
Director: Dave Green
Length: 111 minutes
Rating: PG-13 for sci-fi action violence
Theaters: Raleigh: Brier Creek, Carmike, Grande, Mission Valley, North Hills, Six Forks, Wakefield. Apex: Beaver Creek. Cary: CineBowl, Crossroads. Chapel Hill: Lumina, Silverspot, Timberlyne. Durham: Southpoint, Wynnsong. Morrisville: Park Place, Park West. Smithfield: Smithfield.
See nando.com/movies for review.