Brittany Ishibashi will be seen as Karai, right, in “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows,” opening nationwide Friday.

By MIKEY HIRANO CULROSS, Rafu Arts & Entertainment

When “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows” hits theaters nationwide on Friday, there will be a familiar, local face in one of the film’s key roles.

Brittany Ishibashi, known for the TV shows “Emily Owens M.D.” and “Political Animals,” among several other roles, will portray Karai, the daughter of the Turtles’ sworn enemy, Shredder. The character made a brief appearance in the 2014 TMNT film, and was played by Minae Noji.

“When I was growing up, I loved the Turtles. They were my heroes,” Ishibashi told The Rafu on Wednes­day, as she was on her way to the Chinese Theatre in Hollywood for the L.A. premiere of “Out of the Shadows.”

“Being able to wake up every day and go to work, in their world that was created for this film, it was like a dream,” she said.

Ishibashi has earned a black belt in tae kwon do. Still, she said, the training for fight sequences was fairly rigorous.

“My dad thought martial arts and self-defense training would be good for us three girls [with sisters Brianna and Brooke], so we all have black belts, she explained. “I was excited to use whatever training I already had for this movie. We trained with a stunt team called 87Eleven. They made sure we all stayed safe and knew what we were doing. Still, I went home super sore everyday.”

She said that the script provides a re-imagining of the story of Karai, and that she hopes the character sur­vives if there is to be a third film in the franchise.

“The fans have been absolutely great, so loyal and dedicated,” she said. “The Turtles have followers all over the world, and I’ve received a lot of supportive tweets and emails. The villains are easy to love and root for. The fans love the bad guys, and I love them too, taking up the daily noble cause of taking over the universe.”

In addition to her busy acting schedule, Ishibashi is putting her own pen to paper, collaborating with her sisters on a show about growing up in an Asian American show business family.

“Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows” opens in wide release this Friday, rated PG-13. Visit the film’s website:

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