9 Things I Learned at the Power Rangers Press Conference
Power Rangers. You bet your teenage tush we covered this goddamn thing. Hoards of boys and girls of all ages have been internally screaming with every new development in the production of this movie, a reboot of the classic franchise. Many of us at We Live Entertainment count ourselves amongst that hoard, except me. I’ve never been too invested in Power Rangers, so when I was given a chance to cover the film’s press conference, I felt like I was getting a forensic look at the anatomy of other people’s nostalgia.
Here are nine things I learned at the press conference for Saban’s Power Rangers.
The press conference participants included: Dacre Montgomery (Jason Scott/Red Ranger), Naomi Scott (Kimberly Hart/Pink Ranger), RJ Cyler (Billy Cranston/Blue Ranger), Becky G (Trini/Yellow Ranger), Ludi Lin (Zack/Black Ranger), Elizabeth Banks (Rita Repulsa), Bill Hader (Alpha 5), Dean Israelite (Director) and John Gatins (Screenwriter).
- The cast made a conscious effort not to revisit the old TV shows in finding inspiration for their character. According to Dacre Montgomery, the most rewarding part of bringing the characters to life was how much the studio encouraged the actors to add their touches to the roles rather than militantly adhering to the series’ legacy.
- Bill Hader had a much harder time learning the alien language of the Rangers than [Elizabeth Banks] did, saying that while he had to learn it phonetically, Elizabeth Banks was a complete natural. Banks added that she Skyped with a woman who’s sole job was to create the fake language, and that she only learned the language rigorously after hearing Bryan Cranston had done the same. Bill, sadly, did not Skype with this expert.
- According to RJ Cyler, learning to play a character on the autism spectrum allowed him to understand and reconnect with a high school friend, Andre, who is also on the spectrum. It provided insight into living with the syndrome. RJ described Andre as “one of the most brilliant minds I’ve ever come into contact with.” Andre is also on the spectrum, and he provided RJ with a great deal of insight into living with the syndrome.”
- Becky G said that as a new actress, she wants to be very aware of the messages she’s taking on and carrying to audiences. She added that while the movie is very much about diversity, none of the character’s backgrounds or skin colors is explicitly mentioned in the film because to her, none of that mattered.
- When asked about any best/worst high school memories, Ludi Lin told a story about when he finally built up the courage to ask his crush, Jessica, out on a date. He planned it step-by-step: he bought movie tickets and a rose, a plastic one that dug into his butt during the entire movie. They met at a party where he noticed she wasn’t talking to him. He decided to play up his inner lonely philosopher and disappear upstairs, where he gave her a rose, and she gave him a kiss on the cheek, “so for all you kids out there,” he said with a smirk, “for a $5 fake rose, you can get a kiss on the cheek.” Unfortunately for Ludi, Jessica eventually turned him down for his best friend. Tough break.
- Bill Hader explained that he found the voice of his character, the robot Alpha 5, by just running out of voices until the only voice left was his normal one, which he settled on.
- When asked how he found a balance between references for the older fans and keeping things fresh for a new generation, director Dean Israelite and screenwriter John Gatins explained that things needed a dual-purpose: “It was all about, conceptually, did it fit into the movie?” Dean said, “If there was a reason for it, if there’s a philosophy behind it, I think we felt like (then) it would be germane to the movie, and for all of those fans who would get those references, it would mean a lot. For everyone else, it would still feel organic to what’s going on, so it won’t bump you out of the movie.”
- After having the flamboyance of Rita compared to that of Effy from Hunger Games, Elizabeth Banks confirmed that playing characters with such loud costumes and prosthetics helps her sink into character. She says, “I like the sleep in the makeup chair because I’m there for 4 hours,” she explains, “and when I wake up and look in the mirror, it’s like there’s a totally different person sitting there.”
- When asked about diversifying their characters and avoiding stereotypes, Becky G and Naomi Scott stressed that the two of them worked in tandem in building their characters to make sure the female characters didn’t seem like they were competing with each other.
Are you excited about seeing Power Rangers? Are you a die-hard fan glowing with nostalgia, or are you a newcomer intrigued by the idea of watching Zords beat the stuffing out of each other? Leave us a comment below and let us know what you’re looking forward to most. Of course, if you’re dying to know if the movie crushes your childhood memories or places them on a pedestal, stay tuned for our review coverage.