The three of them are still fairly new to the movie business and we had the opportunity to sit down with them to discuss this fresh take on the Power Rangers franchise to bring it to a modern film audience. Our conversation covers the responsibility and pressure of playing well-known characters in a long-running franchise to scripted versus ad-libbed scenes, and a little advice from an ex-Ranger.
Joseph Deckelmeier: First of all, I am a huge fan, like the Phantom Ranger is like my phone case legitimately.
Naomi Scott [Pointing to Ludi]: Black
Ludi Lin: That’s cool.
Dacre Montgomery: Phantom?
Yeah, he’s in Turbo, Power Rangers Turbo, see?
Naomi Scott: Oh yeah!
I followed the series for the last 25 years, you have no idea what a huge fan I am.
Ludi Lin: Yeah, I saw turbo, I dropped off right around Turbo.
Ludi Lin: Yeah.
Yeah, his identity never revealed or anything. But, let’s talk about this one real quick. You guys killed it. You guys did a great job.
Naomi Scott: Thank you!
Ludi Lin: Ahh, thanks man.
Amazing and thank you for, for putting this out there because this is something us fans have wanted for a long time.
Naomi Scott: Long time.
To bring Power Rangers back to the prestige that it was when I was a kid. With that being said, you have a big responsibility now as superheroes, to be looked up, how has been that reaction and how have you guys taken that responsibility on?
Ludi Lin: Well, with that said, that means a lot to us, how the fans think of the series, right? Because um, I think a lot of fans were anxious before they saw any of the footage from any of the trailers or anything like that. But now that they’ve seen the trailers, each time we get a lot of support, a lot of positive feedback, but for us, I think, um, speaking personally I felt excited about taking on this role rather than, any type of burden . . .
Ludi Lin: Or being dragged down by responsibility on that, because, uh, we get to go back and deepen these characters, right? we get to explore aspects of these characters that haven’t been told before through the episodes in the TV show.
Ludi Lin: Right, because you have to learn about these characters before through each episodic TV show, but now, we get to tell it in this complete arc, in this complete piece of art, um, and it’s something new, and something reimagined.
Very cool. How much of your initial character from when you read the initial script or even got a Character Breakdown, or whatever it may be, actually ended up in the final draft, like how much improvisation was given to you guys?
Dacre Montgomery: We improvised a lot, but a lot the improvisational work and the scripted work didn’t make it in.
Dacre Montgomery: And a lot of scripted work and improvisational work also made it in.
Naomi Scott: I mean, it would have been a four-hour movie if it did.
Dacre Montgomery: Yeah, totally, so it was a bit of both, like some of the improv, some of the scripted stuff made it in, some of the scripted, some of the improv didn’t, you know what I mean?
Naomi Scott: One in particular, the, that’s in the trailer, when we fall into the cave and Ludi goes “I’m black!” and RJ goes “No you’re not!” and “Yes I am” That was, that was RJ’s little – them two, you too’s, little adlib.
Ludi Lin: Yeah, that was all adlib, yeah.
Ludi Lin: It’s really cool, the director really gave us a lot of creative room to do this.
That’s awesome. I know you’re coming out on Stranger Things Season 2 (to Dacre) I’m a huge fan.
Naomi Scott: Woop Woop! So am I.
Dacre Montgomery: Me too. I was a huge fan of the first season.
Jason isn’t necessarily what we see in the television series, and this Jason has a lot of layers, not saying the other one didn’t, but this one has a lot of layers. How much of Jason’s character do you relate to at all?
Dacre Montgomery: A lot.
Dacre Montgomery: I think he’ sort of perceived to be this stereotypical jock character but, that wasn’t my, that wasn’t my High School years you know? I wasn’t ‘that guy’ so I tried to couple my experience with what people perceive him to be, to make him more multi-layered, multi-dimensional, and hopefully more relatable, and I was given a lot of room, by Dean (Israelite), the Director, to put myself into him, and I think we all were, you know? To make it different from the original series like you said. To make it a new product, you know, these Zords and Rangers are what you’ve seen before, updated, but the characters are completely brand new.
Which I love by the way, so thank you.
Dacre Montgomery: Oh great, I’m glad you liked it.
Another question I had is, Power Rangers has a huge history, 25 years consecutively . . .
Naomi Scott: Yeah.
…on the air. Did any of the past Rangers have any advice for you and if so, who were they?
Naomi Scott: I just heard them say ‘Have fun.’
Ludi Lin: Yeah.
Naomi Scott: Amy, like Amy said just have fun and I think that’s really . . .
Ludi Lin: I think it’s their support that means more than anything, yeah.
Naomi Scott: Yeah, but yeah, I guess they see it, for us, we’re, and as you said, about the responsibility is such, for me, my responsibility is just as an actress to do the character of Kimberly justice, you know?
Naomi Scott: And everything that’s iconic about the Power Rangers is built into the script, all the fun, the action, um, but for me, ya know, I focus on Kimberly. like ok she’s, who is Kimberly and I as an actress, I just sent from there, that’s how I view it.
Absolutely, that’s awesome. You know what, you guys are the Teenagers with Attitudes that Zordon recruits. Kimberly is a lot different as well, there’s a lot of things that are happening, kind of like, socially, as youngsters have to deal with nowadays, like the text message kind of stuff . . .
Naomi Scott: Yeah, yeah.
Cyber-Bullying, how was that, like was that originally in the script, was that always a part of Kimberly’s thing or is that . . .
Naomi Scott: That was, I think, I’m trying to think of the first draft, goodness, I’m pretty sure that was, I think that was a very purposeful thing that they put it, maybe John Gatens, our writer, maybe he added it a bit later, and you know, John has kids, right? and we, I remember us having a conversation about it and you know these things that are happening in school, even, even probably different than when I was in school, and I wasn’t in school THAT long ago, you know, and I think it’s just so important, to make it relevant to what kids are going through and you know, what Kimberly does, she is, you know, the perpetrator, she does something that she regrets and I think that’s also very important to touch upon, because there are probably boy, girls, that have done stuff that they regret, that they feel really bad about and it’s just, it’s how you learn from that mistake and the fact that everyone’s either said something mean or had something mean said about them at school, and I think that, especially for girls, it’s kind of that thing of, you know what, that girl that’s being mean to you is probably going through something themselves and I think once girls realize that and realize ‘I don’t usually speak to her, but I’m gonna give it a go” and they might, and you might end up being best friends and Trini and Kimberly, wouldn’t usually hang out . . .
Naomi Scott: They end up being really close friends, so hopefully kids take that away.
SABAN’S POWER RANGERS follows five ordinary high school kids who must become something extraordinary when they learn that their small town of Angel Grove – and the world – is on the verge of being obliterated by an alien threat. Chosen by destiny, our heroes quickly discover that they are the only ones who can save the planet. But to do so they will have to overcome their real-life issues and band together as the Power Rangers before it is too late.
Power Rangers movie cast features singer Becky G as Yellow Ranger Trini, Ludi Lin as Black Ranger Zack, Dacre Montgomery as Red Ranger Jason, Naomi Scott as Pink Ranger Kimberly, and RJ Cyler as Blue Ranger Billy, Elizabeth Banks as the villainous Rita Repulsa, Bryan Cranston as Zordon, and Bill Hader as the voice of Alpha 5.