It’s hard to imagine any 22-yea-old that didn’t grow up with a version of ‘Power Rangers’ as a part of their childhood, but one such individual is Australian actor Dacre Montgomery who embodies Jason the Red Ranger in ‘Saban’s Power Rangers’, which opens this weekend. But somehow he missed out.
“It’s 100 percent true. I kind of missed it. I’d love to blame that I was on the west coast, in the most isolated city on the planet, but I think Power Rangers really had reached every corner of the earth, so I don’t know, I just missed it! I had to find something to latch on to, which very easily became, “What does it mean to be a superhero? What does it mean to people in society to have a super hero that kids look up to?” I thought, who do I look up to in my life? And for me it was people like my mom.
I watched [some super hero] stuff growing up. But for me it was about people in my life. At the end of the day, Jason is still a person, so how can I instill this character with a certain level of believability and organic nature or quality that makes him believable both out of the suit and inside of the suit. So much of this film is an origin story. It’s about how did we become the Power Rangers? It’s about real humans, real teenagers, going through real problems.”
Montgomery says that while he watched some footage from the campy original show to get a feel for the material, he says that producers actually encouraged him not to, in order to craft his own original character.
And what did he (and the creators) come up with?
“When you meet Jason in the film, you think he’s just this high school jock, but he’s not. It’s so much more than just, “Here’s the white guy. Here’s the white leading man.” I want to show people that it’s not just the popular kid. He’s fundamentally flawed, he’s endearing, [and] he’s charming. He is multidimensional. He’s struggling with his own stuff and that was so nice for me to layer a character like that with my own experience, because I was really overweight in high school. I didn’t play sports, I didn’t have many friends. I was trying to bring my experience into a character.
There is [also] this big struggle in the film with his dad and the relationship with his father and that was really an interesting dynamic to explore, because it’s really real. I was sitting there and [saying], “Shit, this is a real problem.” He and his father are having real problems, and it’s tough to watch at some points. I’m a high school football star when you meet me and that’s all my dad wants me to be, and then I have an accident and that my life is altered because of that physical damage I do to myself. And my dad disowns me. And then I basically go, “F— you. I’m going to go off and do my own thing and be my own person.
It’s the same when I meet Zordon [Cranston], he’s like, “I want you to be this person for your team.” And I say, “No. F— you.” Because I’m not just going to be what everybody wants me to be. A lot of teenagers have that growing up. They’re like, “F—- the man.” There’s a lot of learning from that, and I’m a big fan of learning through failure. I think that’s a lot of what growing up was and being in university and giving you that space to learn through failure. And in the film that’s definitely what happens.”
What’s next for Montgomery? Possibly ‘Power Rangers 2’?
“I would love to think there will be more films. I guess we’re going to see how we do at the box office and play it from there. But I think everybody else is definitely treating this as an origins film, the first of a few.
…There is definitely a story arc that I think Jason is on, and it’s definitely not complete yet.
…I may potentially be alluding to the fact that there may potentially or may not potentially be or might have been a cliffhanger at the end of our film, yes”. (Laughs.)
Yes, we will certainly have to wait and see how this film does. Lionsgate has expressed that they hope ‘Power Rangers’ goes on to span several movies, which the studio needs, quite frankly. It’s other big money-making franchises, ‘Twilight’ and ‘The Hunger Games’ have ended. ‘Divergent’ petered out, forcing the studio to scrap its final theatrical movie and revise it as a TV movie.
Things aren’t looking great. It’s sitting at a less-than-average 45% on Rotten Tomatoes, but c’mon. Did anyone think critics were actually going to like this one? The real test will come when the film opens this weekend and the fans who have grown up with the franchise see for themselves whether director Dean Israelite and the cast have managed to balance the lighthearted fun of the original with a modern, grounded sensibility.
So far, does Montgomery’s description of his version of Jason pique your interest?
Source: The Hollywood Reporter