The upcoming Michael Bay-produced live-action reboot of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles has cast the first of its famous foursome. According to Deadline, actor, Alan Ritchson will jump on board this proverbial Party Wagon of a production as the sai-stabbing, wise-cracking red-bandana-rocking Ninja Turtle, Raphael.
Seen in sporadic episodes of Smallville, Ritchson is probably best known for his starring role in Spike TV's college football romp comedy series, Blue Mountain State. However, another claim to fame may soon come when he stars as lethal reaping alum, Gloss in this fall's The Hunger Games: Catching Fire. Yet, as far as the importance of characters go, this role in the TMNT reboot could actually be the one that becomes career-altering.
While this opportunity to play Raphael, the Turtle who's "cool, but rude" (gimme a break!) will likely confine Ritchson to a studio for motion-capture work in front of a blue screen, it nevertheless yields plenty of room to bust out some acting chops. This is especially important, considering that Thad Castle, the over-the-top, hazing-obsessed, dim-witted college football star he played in Blue Mountain State remains his most prominent role. With Raphael, he gets to work with arguably the deepest, most emotionally-complex of the reptilian foursome (who, according to Bay, may be aliens this time around) and there's plenty of room for a memorable performance. (Which, I assume Bay and director, Jonathan Liebesman must believe he can provide.)
As of now, Ritchson joins the first confirmed cast member, Megan Fox, who presumably plays signature damsel, April O'Neil for this $125 million tent-pole that will be supported by the current Nickelodeon animated series and a vast rebooted line of toys and nicknacks.
Ninja Turtles (title not yet confirmed) will do its best to revive "cowabunga" as a cool catch phrase when it hits theaters on its newly-assigned release date of June 6, 2014.