Turtles continued Where the costumed characters actually martial artists? The costumed characters were a mix of the actors and stunt performers. The actors did the voice work and physical action in the dialogue scenes, while the stuntmen did all the big action sequences and fight pieces. How much did you have to teach the actors? Did any of them have previous training? We started training the actors a month or so before shooting and throughout the movie shoot. I don’t think any of them had previous martial art training but they were good athletes and picked things up quickly. We didn’t train them so much to do the fight scenes but get them comfortable with each of their signature weapons. This way they looked liked they handled those weapons naturally in any of those dialogue scenes where they had to do certain fight movements. What about the sword and weapons work? How did that differ from the usual punch and kick fight scenes? Dealing with weapons, like anything else takes practice. Besides hand eye coordination there are many factors involved with handling weapons. You have to deal with the range of the weapon, the shape of the weapon, the weight of the weapon, where the danger points on the weapon are located, etc. These parameters have to be taken in account because the person handling the weapon has more of a chance in injuring another person but also runs a great risk in hurting themselves. I think with the popularity of boxing and MMA most people can adapt to kicking and punching. In a fight scene most people are familiar with kicking and punching so there is an easier understanding of targets and understanding why you do certain movements. Weapons, depending on what they are , aren’t as commonplace and people need more training and practice in how to handle them. Is there anything that is going to set this film apart from the other super hero movies out there? I think what sets this movie apart from other superhero movies currently out there is it is going to be fun. There is going to be hardcore action but the bottom line is the turtles are going to be the same guys everyone has grown up with. They have the same
OFFICIAL KARATE MAGAZINE Summer, 2014
humor and comradeship that endears them to people of all ages. Anything unique or humorous that happened on the set? One moment that sticks out in my mind is the guys bought these nice replicas of star wars light sabers and everyone started swinging them all over the place. It was just funny to see guys with turtle shells on the backs swinging these light sabers. I thought even ninja turtles want to be jedi knights. What is your own fitness and training regimen? I try to train 5 or 6 days week depending on my work schedule. I try to come in the morning and do a circuit that usually involves a core workout. Then afterwards do a martial art workout. Depending on the show I am preparing for, I will focus on a specific martial art. I like to do kicking and punching on one day and grappling and throws on another day. Another other films you are working on that you can tell us about? I just finished a show called Agent 47, a reboot of the movie Hitman, which is based on a popular video game of the same name.
Official Karate Magazine asked “StuntTurtles” Jackson Spidell (Stunts for Donatello) and Jon Calera (Stunts for Leonardo) about the film and about themselves. Are you guys martial artists as well? Jackson—My personal martial arts background is that of a Japanese mix of Shorin Ryu and Goju Ryu know as Isshin Ryu, which I started when i was 10. Thru competing I also transferred to a mixture of different styles like capoeria and learned many acrobatic moves from gymnast friends. I also excelled in many sports such as football, track and field, and basketball to name a few. My family was very sports oriented to say the least. Jon—I’ve been a stuntman for 14 years now and my martial arts training began when I was 8 years old ... started training w/a freestyle blend of tae kwon do and shotokan but also trained in various martial arts growing up. I traveled all over the world for martial arts competitions and shows where I met the people who introduced me to the film industry.
Official Karate Magazine featuring the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles