With “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out Of The Shadows” having made $35.5 million this past weekend with it’s opening weekend numbers topping the box office, we thought that we would unleash our exclusive extended AllHipHop interview with it’s star Gary Anthony Williams, aka Bebop. As we’ve been knowing Williams for some time, he was more than happy to give it to us. However, while TMNT2 did do the best of all of the rest this weekend, it still has some serious work to do in the eyes of the studio and movie folk as well seeing as it’s predecessor “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” made a cool $65.6 million in it’s opening weekend in 2o14. Will TMNT2 be able to do enough business in the interim to justify a TMNT3? Hard to say. “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out Of The Shadows” also stars Megan Fox, Tyler Perry, Stephen Amell, Will Arnett, Brittany Ishibashi, Brian Tee, Sheamus, Tony Shaloub and Laura Linney. Here is what Gary Anthony Williams had to say to us specifically for you on the eve of TMNT2’s opening last Friday:
What kind of music sums up Bebop and Rocksteady’s style?
G: Ok, listen, I’m not trying to suck up to you because it’s All Hip Hop, (but) there’s two different things. One, in the movie we were actually driving a tank in Brazil, Bebop and Rocksteady, and they are listening to that whole “ War! Huh! Good God, y’all!” So I’m going to have to go with some old school soul and of course you gotta go hip hop! Come on! These boys are out to do some damage. And it ain’t gonna be no ‘kind’ hip hop. It’s gonna be some gangsta stuff going down. And I said ‘stuff’ just to be nice. Trying to use some nice terms here.
Any particular artists?
G: Well, if I was going to go with Gary Anthony’s personal situation, I might go – you gonna hate me if I say I like Lil Wayne? You gonna be mad at me?
No. No judgement. Not at all. I like Lil Wayne. He’s cool.
G: A little bit of Lil Wayne, (and I) might – just because I’ve been listening to a lot of Kendrick Lamar. But listen, the two of them (Bebop and Rocksteady), they would go a little bit old school. NWA probably. If I was going to modernize it, I personally would be listening to some Lil Wayne. There. I’ve admitted everything. You can get mad at me for this too – and some Eminem.
I can’t get mad at you at all. For one thing, I can’t be mad at the person who voiced Uncle Ruckus.
G: (In Uncle Ruckus’ voice) ‘Hold on – I knew you was going to bring that up. Kylie, Kylie, Kylie!’ (Regular voice) I loved that character. (Uncle Ruckus voice) ‘Uncle Ruckus ain’t gonna appreciate no hip hop. I tell you that right now. You betta hip hop your way to a job somewhere.’ (Regular voice) That’s what Uncle Ruckus would tell you.
The characters that you play that are villains like Uncle Ruckus and Bebop, you love to root against them, but at the same time, they are really endearing. How do you do that? Make us like them at the same time that we don’t want them to get what they want?
G: I think okay, if I go from this movie right here, Bebop and Rocksteady, they are two dudes who really like each other and just want to do good at being bad. Like that’s their whole thing. We want to be the baddest dudes that we can be, but they want to be good at it. So there’s a charm in just like, hey, all we want to do is build the short stuff. There’s a charm in that. With Ruckus, I think there was a charm in just his absolute ignorance of reality. Whether it was what color his own skin was, how important no matter what it was, it was just absolute ignorance of reality. If he was just by himself, you would absolutely hate him. But when you’ve got other people bouncing off of him to remind you how stupid he is, then you kinda gotta love that.
In some alternate universe, if Bebop and Uncle Ruckus met, what kind of meeting do you think that would be? And do you think Ruckus would be for or against the Turtles?
G: Okay. First of all, Ruckus is going to be (Ruckus’ voice) ‘I don’t trust no turtle. I don’t trust no – now if you had a all white turtle, that’s another story.’ (Regular voice) Ruckus is never going to trust those guys. He’s not going to trust no ninja, and he’s not trusting some black guy who just morphed into a stronger guy than he already was. So that’s a bad combination. Bad combination.
So Uncle Ruckus is basically always team lily white – irrespective of species or the possible end of the world?
G: I think he would not call them Teenage Mutant “Ninja” Turtles, if you know what I’m saying. He’d probably substitute the n. He’s Ruckus! Come on! I think I just probably discovered a new comic book, by the way (laughs).
You’ve said many times that you and WWE star Sheamus really connected working together on this film. As such, do you see yourself doing anything with him or making an appearance in the WWE world?
G: You know, we were joking around about that the other day. I would never wrestle, because I watch him like bruise an arm, hurt this hurt that. Like, he’s a big dude and people go, wrestling is staged or whatever, twirling each other around up there. I would not. I could be one of those oily kind of manager dudes, like Big Acting Gary Big Hat: ‘get way from the Irish man!’ I could go in as a character like that. I’m not about go in there and trade punches. Think of this – these guys get paid money to wear underwear and beat other men up. I’m not about that. I don’t want to put on any underwear, and I don’t want to get beat up.
So you’ll basically be a hype man or a manager?
G: Yeah I’ll be the manager on the outside of the ring smoking a big cigar. Yeah. Wearing a really big hat. Why? I don’t know. Why do they call him Big Hat? I don’t know. Because he hides stuff under his hat? He might. It might be a contract, it might be a pamper. We don’t know.
Do you think Bebop and Rocksteady could ever be turned away from the dark side?
G: No. No because Bebop and Rocksteady, in the movie we started out as human. Like these kind of street thug guys in the first one. So all they ever wanted to be is really tough. We want to be really bad. Then they meet the single baddest dude of all which is Shredder. And now they got somebody to look up to. Like Shredder is their… I don’t know, who do people look up to now? Let’s just say Oprah. Shredder is their Oprah. Oh, we got tutelage now under the baddest guy of all. They never gonna go to the good side. No. Now they got everything they want. They got immense power and still able to be as bad as they want to be you cannot draw them. They will not go to the good side. They will not.
For young fans of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, do you think that there is anything that they can learn from Bebop and Rocksteady?
G: Well, here’s a cool thing for the younger fans and the older fans. If you want to take it down to the kid level, it’s that loyalty. You know, the ninja turtles love each other as brothers, these guys are like brothers from another mother. And as bad as they are, you cant have those big superheroes the turtles without some super villains for them to fight. So I think you can root for them on those levels. Like they’re brothers, they have a real nice bond to each other, yes, they are going to tear down the city and try to destroy the turtles but at least there’s a nice friendly family bond. They are family among themselves. They listen to authority. They listen to Mr. Shredder, and all children should do that – listen to authority.
So It’s kind of like honor among thieves?
G: It is. Yes. Yes it is. Among big goofy thieves who happen to be a rhino and a warthog.
What did you enjoy most about working on this movie?
G: Honestly it was meeting, first of all bringing those two characters to life, I mean that really is like an honor. When I was a young man, I watched the Turtles from the beginning. So, being able to bring those two characters to life, number 1. And number 2 was working with those people. I mean, it was so much fun Brian Tee who plays Shredder, Brittany Ishibashi who plays Karai, and Sheamus who plays Rocksteady, we hung out all the time together. It was so much fun and like meeting those guys and working with them, and now that the movie is over whenever Sheamus is in LA we hangs out at my place. Me Brittany and Brian we will get together and all four of us will get together when we are all in one place, like in the same area. It was really cool working with those guys and there’s like that Hollywood thing where it’s like (affected voice) ‘everybody is so great!’ (Regular voice) But for real, everybody was really cool on this movie. Like everybody from the people who put the food out every day to the people who made the weapons that we were using and like everybody was so excited about check out the knife I made or check out this cool thing I made or look at the glasses that were specially made for the character. Like everybody was so excited about every element of it that it made it exciting to be there and it really did turn into a family situation.
So then how would you rate your experience on this film with the other films and franchises that you have been a part of?
G: What it did was it makes you realize the projects that really mean something to you. Like when I did “Undercover Brother” with (Dave) Chappelle, that was another case where we were all together for like three months and just having the time of our lives because you are around people that you enjoy. And it was that kind of feeling. I put it right up there at the top. I’ve never been on a big summer blockbuster-y film before. This is the biggest film that I’ve been in as far as outreach goes and who’s going to be checking it out young and old. And at the same time that whole family thing – as big as it was, it really was a comfortable place to work and play every day. They let us improvise as much as stay on script. So it made it a really big comfortable place. So I gotta put it up there at the op with my favorite ones.
Was there anything that you were worried about with this project being the biggest blockbuster film that you’ve ever been a part of?
G: I didn’t think of worry until it was already over and people started coming up to me and saying you know how big the Turtle fan base is, right? You realize how many people have been waiting to see these characters come to life” You realize that people are depending on these characters being the goofy fun destructive ridiculous guys that they were in the comic and on the cartoons. Then it was like, oh, I got something to live up to now but luckily nobody mentioned that stuff to me until we already filmed it. So my only job was go in there and have as much fun as I possibly could. Make sure that translates over to the big screen.
I heard that you have a son. Is that correct?
G: Yeah. I’ve got a thirteen year old boy.
And is he into the turtles?
G: He came up in the computer age so we never watched much of the Turtles. We watched the last movie together – the one that preceeded this one. And then we watched he watched the premiere the big big premiere in New York last week. And he loved it. He really had a good time. So that gave me all kinds of hope because he’s like a serious science minded kind of kid and he really bought into just the craziness of it and the fun of it. That’s the beauty of this one. They kept the action and the really added the fun of the original back in. So yeah, he definitely dug it.
You don’t hear as much about Splinter.
G: Splinter is played by Tony Shaloub.
Did you send a lot of time with Tony Shaloub or Tyler Perry’s character Baxter Stockman?
G: definitely I was around Tyler. He’s the guy who ends up fixing the ooze. Tyler was saying that this was the first time, I mean, this is one of those rare times that he’s coming as just an actor where he can watch and do and learn as opposed to having to direct this or tell people what to do or write this. So that was really cool, seeing that side of Tyler. I thing he’s like for real 6’5, 6’7 or something. He’s a big huge tall dude. So it was actually cool hanging about him because I had never seen him in that capacity at all. And Tony Shaloub I did a pilot with years ago. We didn’t get to do anything on this movie together but I hung out with Tony Shaloub a couple of years ago. Brilliant dude and just a funny funny guy. We got to hang out after this movie was over last week in New York two weeks ago in New York. We just hung out. And Megan Fox and Stephen Amell were just really great because he is all about action. He’s a action guy so he was having a great time. He did a lot of his own stunts. It really was a big family. It turned into a big family. It was seriously just a big family kind of a fun thing where there was not a day that you regret that you had to get up at 7 o’clock or 6 o’clock or 5. I never heard anybody complaining once you were on that set cause it really was fun.
For someone who isn’t familiar with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, what would you say the draw is for them? What are they really going to enjoy with this movie?
G: Well, if you aren’t familiar at all, one you have the whole Teenage Mutant Ninja turtle-ness you have this family of brothers that really like each other and who are heroes who protect the city. So its that kind of bonding kind of family kind of story. If you want to look at it that way. Other than that it is crazy fun action. Whether you are familiar or not if you like action movies and comedy it is a good combination of comedy and action – brought by some dudes that are turtles.
“Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out Of The Shadows” opens nationwide in theaters on June 3, 2016.