May 8, 2014 6:36 AM EDT

Aug. 8 From Arrested Development to The Lego Movie, comedy is Will Arnett’s strong suit. So it’s safe to say that Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, a $125 million action film featuring more than enough CGI explosions to level the Bluth banana stand a thousand times over, was a bit of a departure for the 44-year-old actor.

Arnett pins the unlikely career shift on his sons, Archie, 5, and Abel, 3. “What piqued my interest was the fact that my kids were so into the Nickelodeon show–they were so passionate,” he says.

Hopefully his toddlers will be impressed by his take on Vernon Fenwick in this Michael Bay–produced reboot of the 1980s comic-book franchise that has spawned numerous Saturday-morning cartoon series and live-action movies. Fenwick, a minor character in previous iterations of the TMNT universe, plays a more prominent role as the cameraman for the Turtles’ longtime reporter ally April O’Neil (Megan Fox).

Despite the change of pace, Arnett’s choice for his favorite Turtle reveals he hasn’t abandoned his comedic roots. “It always comes up because I feel like people use it as a sign of what kind of person you are,” he says. “Having said that, and without wanting to reveal my true persona, I am a big fan of Mikey. He’s certainly the goofiest.”

This appears in the May 19, 2014 issue of TIME.

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