Director Dean Israelite Bringing A Different Vibe For ‘Power Rangers’
The movie “Power Rangers” is almost in theaters this month. There is so much speculation on how this version is different than the 90s. People living in that decade love those characters against the forces of evil, and might find this one odd. Well, director Dean Israelite speaks upon the direction of the movie, the casting process and what fans should expect.
How excited were you on directing the movie?
I was very excited. When I got the script and read it and I really felt like I knew what I wanted the movie to be, and what I wanted to bring to the film. I grew up on the show so to me it was very exciting to reimagine and reinvent something I loved as a childhood, and bringing it to a contemporary style for 2017.
How was the casting like as far as finding the right kids for the Power Rangers?
The casting process was very long and very intense. We saw hundreds, if not thousands of kids from all around the world and brought them to LA. Put them with each other (chemistry reads) and it took us a really long time to find the kids that retain the spirit, and embody the spirit of the original characters from the show. But also work well with each other and had a complexity that they were gonna bring to those characters.
When it came to the color of the Power Rangers, in the 90s it was pretty much set and corresponding to the kid’s race. Did you do it on purpose as far as changing it around?
The brand was always a diverse brand, which I think is what made it interesting. We always wanted to bring that diversity into the movie. The brand is so international and part of our philosophy was always to represented a diverse ray of people that represents the world we live in today. Not just race but in terms of the issues that the kids were dealing with and give voices to those characters. We always knew we were gonna mix around the actual races from what were in the original show. But we knew that we wanted an incredible diverse cost and what were lucky to have is a cost that’s international.
How did you get Bryan Cranston and Elizabeth Banks to be part of the movie as Zordon and Rita?
Well it was different for each of them. Elizabeth came on when we were in pre-production and I wrote her a letter. We sent her the script and I sent her a bunch of artwork, and I describe what I wanted to do with the movie. She like the script a lot and the artwork on what we were going for. Her and I and the writer John Gatins hopped on the skycall together and we had a really long conversation. She felt really good about what we were doing and thought it was exciting and thought she could bring something really interesting to the character. Really liked how the character was gonna be both terrifying but also sort of absurd and outlandish and hilarious. I think felt excited about flexing all of those muscles and so she came on board after we had that conversation.
But Bryan Cranston we got him after we had finished shooting the movie. We knew we needed to sort of show who’s playing Zordon more than the script because it’s hard to tell someone that they are just gonna be a face on the wall for two hours. We show him the script, we cut together a bunch of scenes. I show him some stuff and we talked about it. Just like Elizabeth he really was intrigue with what we are doing and love the kids and their performances. He felt like he can add something to the movie and bring a humanity to Zordon, and he was excited about and decided to come on board.
(Spoiler Alert) One of the best features that wasn’t in the original was the Rangers training. How was that process like?
Well that was sort of my take on the material from the very first time I read the script is that them becoming Power Rangers it had to be earned. The original show was called “Mighty Morphin Power Rangers,” which was a metamorphosis. These kids need to transform and become worthy of who they are and finally accept themselves, feel like they belong. Feel ownership of who they are just as characters and that gives them the power to become superheroes. So the idea of earning it was my take from the beginning.
How would fans look at it from that approach? Do you think they will be excited that you guys took it on that approach more so than like giving these kids powers and just fighting right away?
I hope so. I hope what it does is bring an importance and a power to the idea of morphing. That morphing becomes a spiritual philosophical idea and I think it give that thing that you love as a child real importance. So I’m hoping they like it. I spoke to some fans and super fans and so far the reaction has been really good. They appreciate the thought and philosophy that we put into it.
What should fans expect from this movie?
I think fans should expect something that really pays respect and is a love letter, I think, to something that we loved as kids. And tries to put a lot of effort in concept and philosophy into what we grew up on. I think it’s gonna take you back, I think it’s gonna be really nostalgia, I think it’s gonna surprise you and be something that they can be really proud of. For non-fans it’s gonna be a journey with characters that they are really into and it’s gonna be really fun and entertaining. I just hope that fans come away with a piece of their childhood.