If you really want to get to a person’s core, there’s only one question to ask. It’s not about their hobbies, their spiritual beliefs, or what they’d do in a life-or-death situation. It’s a simple, five-word method for finding out everything you need to know about anyone worth knowing: “Who’s your favorite Ninja Turtle?”
Your subjects’ answers will tell you so much more about them than just their tastes in reptilian superheroes. It will tell you what kind of person they are. It will tell you about their philosophies, and how they lead their lives. As diplomats? Warriors? Intellectuals? Free spirits? Well, those are the only options.
So, it’s somewhat surprising to hear who Sean Astin—most recognizable to the TMNT generation as the impish Mikey from The Goonies and as Samwise Gamgee from Lord of the Rings to the rest of us—chose as his favorite. In an upcoming Nickelodeon animated series, Astin is set to voice Raphael, the shortest in temper, strongest in will, and biggest in badassery of the turtles, whom Astin also claims has always been his favorite.
The series will also star American Pie star Jason Biggs as Leonardo, the leader of the turtles. Behind the remaining Donatello and Michelangelo are veteran voice actors Greg Cipes and Rob Paulsen, respectively. The latter will be familiar to Turtles fans as the voice of Raphael from the 1980s TV series, as well as countless voices on WB and Nickelodeon cartoons of the 1990s and 2000s.
Astin stressed a decreased use of the “surfer vernacular” in the upcoming series. Turtles’ executive producers are Ciro Nieli, who directed The Avengers and Transformers animated series, and Joshua Sternin and Jeffrey Ventimilia, who produced That 70s Show together.
Though no recent adaptations have lived up to the original cartoon and film trilogy, there has yet to be an incarnation of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles that I won’t watch. Let’s hope the nerd from Encino Man and the kid who made love to a pie hold this dynasty in as much reverence as the rest of us do.