In recent years, popular kids toys and TV series of the ’80s and ’90s have found new life on the big screen, including the Transformers and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Of course, another cherished children’s series set to reach theaters in the coming years is Lionsgate and Saban’s Power Rangers, to be directed by Dean Israelite (Project Almanac). Based on the ongoing Power Rangers show, the film will be a “mature but playful” update on the story of a group of teenagers who morph into superheroes and team up to fight villains of the universe.
Throughout its 22 television seasons, two feature films and various reboots within its continuity, the main Power Rangers cast has generally been composed of young, unknown actors. Now, it seems the movie reboot will stay true to its source by at least casting relative unknowns as its lead characters.
Umberto Gonzalez (now of Heroic Hollywood) is reporting that his sources claim the studio is looking for newcomers to fill the shoes – or suits, rather – of the Power Rangers in the upcoming movie. Casting appears to have just begun, as Israelite teased recently, and Gonzalez says “it’s expected to be all unknown actors for the actual Power Rangers as the studio wants them all to play late teens.”
Zack Stentz and Ashley Miller (X-Men: First Class) penned the upcoming Power Rangers film, which will introduce a new group of high school students who gain morphing abilities. Though the core Rangers may be played by newcomers, they may be joined by Power Rangers star Jason David Frank, who has worked with the Saban brand for many years.
In terms of young unknowns being cast in the major roles of Power Rangers, this report should be taken with a grain of salt as it is far from confirmed. Furthermore, although the studio is looking for actors in the late teens to play the Rangers, that isn’t necessarily synonymous with performers who are unknown – there are plenty of actors who fit that bill and have longer resumes than their Hollywood elders (see, for example, certain candidates on the shortlist of teen actors for Marvel Studios’ Spider-Man reboot).
That being said, Israelite does have experience working with relatively unknown performers in their late teens due to Project Almanac, and may be looking for a similar group to bring the Power Rangers to life. Plus, a younger cast would be true to classic Power Rangers, which banks more on its brand than named talent. Additionally lending credence to this rumor is the recently announced shift in the Power Rangers release date, which was pushed from July 2016 to January 2017. The studio said the decision was made to give Power Rangers more opportunity at the box office.
If the reboot doesn’t have any well-known stars that could draw in crowds (particularly in the starring roles of the Rangers), then a January release date would be the safer choice, eliminating the blockbuster competition that the Power Rangers feature would have had in July. Of course, if the report of Israelite and Lionsgate targeting newcomers for the starring roles is correct, Power Rangers could still cast more well-known stars for other parts, perhaps the villain.
According to Israelite, it won’t be long before the Power Rangers cast is revealed, so we may start to get more answers than questions for this film soon enough.
Power Rangers hits theaters January 13th, 2017.
Source: Heroic Hollywood