Editor’s Note: Some parts of this interview were shortened and edited for clarity.
As a member of the press, I was invited to attend the Power Rangers media suite on the fourth floor of the Omni Hotel across the street from the convention center. Inside a small lounge were displays of several current and upcoming Power Rangers products and the cast of the current show, Power Rangers Super Megaforce, whom The Tech got to interview.
I found the Power Rangers cast members to be very friendly and personable. Throughout the interview, they played off each other’s answers to questions and poked fun at one another, showing how close they had come together as a cast while filming the show. One thing that surprised me — although it shouldn’t have — is how seriously they take their jobs and how much respect they have for the franchise. They talked about the legacy of the show and how they looked up to Jason David Frank, one of the original Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. As goofy as the show can be, it is a career to the actors and a role they deeply care about (and enjoy immensely).
The cast members of Power Rangers Super Megaforce are: Andrew Gray as the Red Ranger, John Mark Loudermilk as the Blue Ranger, Christina Masterson as the Pink Ranger, Ciara Hanna as the Yellow Ranger, Azim Rizk as the Green Ranger, and Cameron Jebo as the Silver Ranger.
The Tech: So I guess I’ll start with a real general question — how does it feel to be a Power Ranger?
Red: It’s pretty psychedelic.
Silver: It’s … it’s wild. I mean, there’s 21 seasons of this show in the states. There are (a huge number of) rangers, so we’re not just part of a TV show. We’re part of this giant legacy, you know, so it’s an honor.
Red: I feel like it was, uh … What’s that show that you love? Ninja? Ninja warrior? To get to the final end?
Silver: Oh yeah!
Red: We made it. Like that auditioning process, that was like …
TT: Was the process physical at all in the way American Ninja Warrior is, or was it mostly just acting?
Pink: It was a little physical, not that much.
Green: Maybe it was more Jedi training.
Pink: And it really wasn’t that brutal, guys. Come on. It could have been worse.
Green: They ask you to display some kind of martial arts skill in the audition. Then, if you make it in, you go to a two-week training course, like boot camp. They send all these professional stunt teams that are going to be working as your doubles the whole season, to train you in the kind of stage combat that they do.
Green: And so we became compatible with each other. We could fight with each other, or with the other stunties, and that allowed us to do a lot of civilian fights.
Red: See, I really didn’t go through that — I’ve just been really close with (show producer) Saban. We’re like this.
[Red Ranger makes an intertwined finger gesture, causing everyone to laugh.]
Pink: We’re related to him, so we just got the part.
Green: No, he got a text.
Red: I sent him an emoji.
Green: “What up, want Red?”
TT: He’s like, “You’re in.” Yeah, I actually thought that was interesting. One of the things I think is most fascinating about Power Rangers is that it sort of borrows a lot of footage from the Japanese show, the Super Sentai show. So I didn’t know how much of the fighting, and things like that was you guys, or the other footage.
Silver: It would vary. The episodes would go between like 15 minutes of extra footage and maybe 5 minutes of extra footage. And any time the helmets are on, those are stunt doubles. Most of the time, those fight scenes are all from Japan. Our stunt doubles do have to reshoot some of those fights, just to match footage with … the American versions. American scenes and stuff.
Red: There’s a lot of purpose behind that. If we did a double backflip and landed on our neck and broke it, we can’t film.
Silver: Oh yeah. Big liability.
Red: Huge liability.
TT: Oh yeah, for sure. Have you guys ever met the Japanese version of you — have you met like the Red Ranger who does that show?
Pink: No, that’d be so cool, though!
Silver: It’s completely different! In fact the producer of Sentai was here today …
Green: The owner.
Silver: The guy who’s been producing it for 38 years, owning and producing for like 38 years.
Green: Along with Kamen Rider.
Silver: And they were like, “Please come to Japan! Please come to Japan!” So we’re trying to go there and meet them and see the production in Japan. It’d be very cool.
Green: Those actors out there, they … I gotta say, I think it’s so cool. Those actors out there, they get their hair and makeup done, maybe once, twice, three times. Once they get used to it…then they do their own hair and makeup.
Green: Yeah. They just come in the morning and they do their own everything.
Green: Which is … totally foreign to us.
Yellow: Well yeah, it is a foreign country, so …
Silver [behind hand]: Especially to the girls.
Green: Well, you guys have quite a face.
Pink: Well, there are times when we’re just like, we wish we could do it ourselves, ‘cause … you get tired of somebody poking at your face … every second.
[Green Ranger pokes Pink Ranger in the face.]
Green: She’s biting, but you can’t see it on there.
TT: So I think it’s funny, that you guys seem like a really tight bunch after working on this show together. Would you say that the Power Rangers are closer on or off screen? Are you guys a tighter group than the Power Rangers are?
Yellow: Well, we lived, worked, and hung out with each other when we were filming in New Zealand. Which, I don’t know if any other Rangers did that …
Pink: No, not all of them.
Green: I know Samurai — they had two houses.
Silver: We became like a family because of it. Of course, in any family, you have your ups and downs.
Red: We also would have functions, like Halloween parties if you missed it or afterwards.
Yellow [laughs]: Functions.
Silver: That might not have all happened if they hadn’t all lived together. I lived separately, but kind of with them.
Pink: You lived with us! You were over a lot.
Red: People would come over and be like, we’re going to rage at the ranger’s house, you know? It was a ranger good time, yeah.
Yellow: I loved it.
Green: The relationships we formed in real life spread on to screen.
Green: Hard to compare, right? They bleed a little.
Blue: But there’s been moments we would spend … you know we had to become a family. We spent Thanksgiving together. We spent people’s birthdays together.
TT: Cool. Another thing I was wondering about was that it seems that ever since Saban took over the brand again, the franchise has sort of been reinvigorated, and got some of its charm back that wasn’t there before.
Green: Yeah, fresh breath.
Yellow: Originality back.
TT: Have you seen any of that change in your show, and have you seen that change in the more recent shows? Has the philosophy of the show changed?
Green: Yeah, I thought when it was with Disney, they added a sense of … for lack of a better term, realism.
Silver: It was very goofy.
Green: The part of the show that really appeals to me, and I think it appeals to a lot of kids, is that the show’s removed. It’s not real. You know, the monsters’ mouths don’t move. They’re in rubber suits. We want there to be an element of, you know, I don’t need to be afraid. I can just enjoy this and learn about good and evil. And that, I think you get from Saban’s years, more than anything. That’s how it was with Mighty Morphin and that’s how it was with all the other seasons that he had before Disney … We love Disney too, it’s fine.
Red: But there doesn’t need to be a Lion King #5.
TT: Awesome. So I guess the last thing I should ask you guys is, how was it to hang out with Jason David Frank (original 1993 Green Ranger, later White Ranger) and shoot that episode together?
Green [to the tune of the theme song from the Lego Movie]: It was really awesomeeeee.
Yellow: It was really cool.
Pink: I mean, who gets to say that?
Blue: It was really surreal. I remember the first thing he said to me. He came on set, and he hugged me. And he says, “One piece of advice. Make sure you go to the bathroom before you put on the suit — see you later.”
Red: And just to see him walking around, like, “I haven’t worn these spandex in a while. Sucking it in there.”
Blue: It was really crazy. It was surreal.
Green: He was funny, man.
Yellow: He was hilarious.
Silver: He’s a sweet role model too. He’s a family man. He brings his family everywhere with him. He’s got an adorable daughter, and a great wife. He’s really encouraging. He is kind of like the picture of Power Rangers, you know. He’s the quintessential Power Ranger, and so everybody kind of looks up to him, and he fills those shoes very well. He was encouraging to us. He was like, “You guys are incredible. You guys are doing a great job.” Just to hear that was like, a breath of fresh air. We’re like, “Thank you so much.”
Red: And then we’re like, “DON’T YOU LIE TO ME.”