The long-gestating cinematic reboot of Power Rangers made waves last week when it was announced that Bryan Cranston (The Infiltrator) would be joining the cast as Zordon, the disembodied head who serves as the de facto leader and mentor for the ragtag group of high schoolers in their fight against evil. The news of his casting added weight to the rumors that the new incarnation of the campy '90s series would take a more serious tone, serving as something of a deconstruction of the original idea that updates both the look and feel of the series.
Cranston is just the latest in a series of heavy casting announcements, which includes the likes of Elizabeth Banks (The Hunger Games) as the Power Rangers' most recognizable Big Bad, Rita Repulsa. As exciting as it will be to see Cranston on the big screen once more, many were left wondering what it was that drew the actor to the project in the first place. After all, in a post-Breaking Bad world, Cranston more or less has his pick of roles at this point, and something like this may seem a little lightweight for someone of his capabilities. According to the man himself, however, that may not necessarily be the case.
In a new interview with ET, Cranston spoke briefly about the role and why he signed on for the part. While his inclusion marks a bit of a homecoming, of sorts -- the actor did some voiceover work for the original '90s series -- Cranston spoke about this incarnation of the series, and of Zordon especially. Speaking on the nature of the performance, Cranston stated the obvious, saying: “It's motion capture, and it's a lot of CGI-work.”
That makes sense, considering Zordon is depicted (in the series at least) as a disembodied floating head. There’s no other way for the character to come to life, but that does represent a new challenge for Cranston as an actor. Despite his voiceover work, this will be the first time that the act gives a motion captured performance.
Cranston also spoke about the nature of the character, providing some insight into what makes Zordon tick and why the actor came back to the franchise in the first place"
“The... storyline is that this a real person who is trapped in this etherworld and it becomes this in-the-wall so to speak of [the command center]. He still has a heart and mind, but an agenda that he's got to get these five Power Rangers to defend the earth or else everyone they know will be killed.”
While that more or less jives with the character of Zordon known from the Saban series, it’s interesting to hear someone speak of the character in such humanistic terms. While it’s true the series has offered some of Zordon’s backstory in previous iterations, it certainly seems as though they’re going to be taking a somewhat deeper perspective this go-round, adding credence to the rumors about the movie’s overall tone and direction.
The original series may be loved by fans for the camp and silliness, but it hasn’t aged well overall, even with its diehard fans singing its praises. Still, as dated as it is by today’s standards, the core of the Power Rangers was always the real draw, and having a cast of heavy hitters in addition to a solid update of the original idea can only be a plus for those turned off by the cheesy tone of the series.
Overall, it seems like things are looking good for Power Rangers, and each new reveal seems only to add to the exciting possibilities for the movie. With just about 9 months to go until it hits the screen, there’s certain to be much more information coming through soon, and we’ll keep you posted on all news as it develops.
Power Rangers opens in theaters on March 24, 2017.