Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows Star Brittany Ishibashi Reveals What's Really Under Those Costumes

Brittany Ishibashi InStyle - Lead 2016
Photo: Kyleen James

They're ba-ack!

This Friday, June 3, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows hits theaters. Following the success of 2014’s hit feature film, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Megan Fox and Will Arnett will reprise their roles as news reporter April O’Neil and cameraman Vernon Fenwick, respectively, in this summer’s sequel. But there are fresh faces to look out for, too. Newcomer Stephen Amell takes on the part of hockey-playing vigilante Casey Jones, while two characters that were featured in the 2014 film have been recast entirely: Brian Tee will now play the Turtles’ nemesis, The Shredder, and Brittany Ishibashi will star as warrior Karai.

InStyle recently caught up with Ishibashi when she stopped by our New York City offices to discuss all things TMNT, and she revealed that things will be a bit different this time around—even though there’s still plenty of “really cool ninja action,” as expected. “As with any retelling of an origin story, this one is slightly different,” said Ishibashi. “They have a new Karai, a new Shredder, and the Foot Clan are more like ninjas than mercenaries.”

And thanks to some impressive special effects, the characters look cooler than ever. “Working with CGI was fun,” said Ishibashi. “You’re acting opposite people who have foam balls on their head, and they’re going to look 14-feet tall onscreen.” The film’s set was equally out-of-this-world—especially the design of one area in particular. “They recreated the Turtle Lair, and it was huge,” said Ishibashi. “There was also a giant water slide that looked like a big sewer tube for everyone to use.”

Brittany Ishibashi Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows Still - Embed 2016
Paramount/Everett Collection

Sewer or not, any and all water activities were welcome while shooting the film last summer in New York City’s stifling heat. In fact, water even ran through the stars’ costumes. “We had these really neat custom-made cooling suits underneath, which have tubing that runs through the whole thing,” said Ishibashi. “You look like a little robot with plugs sticking out of your back, and in between takes, they plug you in and a little duffel bag shoots freezing cold water through the tubes. Your body temperature drops immediately!”

The cooling system was especially important for the stars who were required to wear more elaborate getups. “I know it was really helpful for Brian Tee who plays Shredder, because his costume is so involved,” said Ishibashi. As for her own wardrobe on set, “it definitely was hard to wear,” she said. While she had a stretchier costume for doing stunts, Ishibashi’s outfit for close-up dialogue was more challenging to wear. “That one kept me very upright like a modern samurai,” she said.

But playing a samurai was a natural role for Ishibashi. “I grew up studying martial arts and I’m a black-belt,” she said. “But it had been a few years since I’d actually been in practice, so I threw myself into it just because I was so excited.” The result? “On the very first day of filming, I overshot where I was supposed to land in a flip and jammed my wrist on a training mat,” she said. “I was completely out of commission for the whole day.” Despite the mishap, Ishibashi recovered in time to get back to kicking ass onscreen. See her—and her beloved reptilian co-stars, the Turtles—in action when the film hits theaters tomorrow.

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