She voices a teenager who dreams of being a reporter and like the Turtles, she feels like an outcast and just wants to be accepted. Ayo Edebiri, who has won considerable acclaim for her role on “The Bear” is one of several actors who led their voices to this latest installment of “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” an animated series of crime-fighting turtles that has thrilled generations of fans for decades.
This adventures of four turtle siblings – Leonardo, Michelangelo, Raphael and Donatello – who were turned into wisecracking mutants after contact with a strange neon ‘ooze,’ has inspired a long-running comic book series, hit cartoon shows, a huge toy line, multiple video games, and six theatrical releases that have collectively made over $1.7 billion at the global box office.
Featuring the voices of Hannibal Buress, Rose Byrne, John Cena, Jackie Chan, Giancarlo Esposito, Maya Rudolph and Ice Cube, Edebiri voices April, the Turtles’ closest human ally. A would-be journalist known by her peers as “Puke Girl” for throwing up the first time she was on air, she wants to become a credible journalist. When she learns that a mutant called Superfly (Ice Cube) plans to destroy the human race, she joins forces with the Turtles to expose him and earn some credibility as a reporter in the process.
“April and the Turtles really help each other and find each other in spaces where they really need friendship,” says Edebiri. “It starts out as a bit more of a transaction. The boys are, ‘We wanna be cool and know a human.’ And she’s like, ‘I wanna win a Pulitzer.’ The thing that actually made me the most excited is that my mom works in public schools, and she’s overheard the kids talking about seeing the trailer [for this],” she explains. “And some of our younger cousins and nieces and nephews are wanting to go to the movie. Knowing that there are people in my life who are really excited to see this is very cool.”
Misfits striving for acceptance, everyone is seeking to fit in somewhere somehow and that’s the beauty of the message. Each of the Turtles have distinct personalities, Edebiri is lovable as April, Cube brings in the heart and humor as Superfly, a giant fly who believes the world would be better off without humanity. The character is inspired by Baxter Stockman, a character from the original comics who sometimes mutates into a fly, and the soundtrack features a catchy collection of hip-hop songs, including hits from DMX and A Tribe Called Quest.
Directed by Jeff Rowe, produced and written by Seth Rogen, this is one smartly made family drama.
By Samantha Ofole-Prince / stills courtesy of Paramount Pictures