Just over two decades ago, ‘Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie’ graced the silver screen and brought a generation of kids to their knees with excitement for what can only be described as ‘The must see movie of 1996’. While there was plenty to love about ‘Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie’, like the new Zords, new costumes, and even super fancy outfits for characters like Alpha 5 and Goldar; the true standout from the film was the villainous Ivan Ooze, as played by the legendary Paul Freeman (who you probably also remember as the villainous Belloq in ‘Raiders Of The Lost Ark’)!
Paul Freeman is one of the most prolific actors of our era, with a career spanning five decades and roles in a number of unforgettable films. This past week we were able to catch up with Paul at The Great Philadelphia Comic Con to talk about his time with the Power Rangers, what life is like as Ivan Ooze, and just what was inside The Ark Of The Covenant! Check out our exclusive interview below!
Science Fiction: Last year marked the twentieth anniversary of your time working on ‘Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie‘! Looking back two decades on, did you ever think the series would remain as popular as it has?
Paul Freeman: No! (laughing) I had never heard of it before, and I thought it would disappear afterwards. And in a sense is sort of did, there was no other film for a while, and then the series itself sort of stopped, but then here we are twenty years later and it’s all off again!
SF: How did you find yourself in this villainous role of Ivan Ooze, and where did you go inside yourself to find this character?
PF: Well I was asked to audition for it in London, which meant taping an audition and just sending it in. The script was very different then! At that time, at first he was a shape-shifter, so he became black in one scene, and he was a woman in another scene, and so he was never the same character! That’s what I took in to the revised script, I would change things. I would change the voice all the time and never spoke with the same voice throughout the whole movie or really did the same .
PF: It was seven hours the first time we put that on! It was a day! But that was experimenting with it, because we weren’t quite sure it worked. This mask was in seven pieces! We eventually got it down to four hours, but it was four hours every day so when filming started at 8 o’clock in the morning I was in the chair at 4 o’clock at night.
SF: That sounds like a long day!
PF: It’s a very long day! So you have to sort of start getting into a meditative state of mind, a trance like state really. And it’s another hour and a half to take it off at the end of the day!
SF: With a new generation of ‘Power Rangers’ having launched this year in the recently released reboot, would you ever consider making a big return to the franchise to show these new kids who is boss?
PF: Only for an enormous amount of money! (laughing)
SF: That’s fair! One question I have outside of the ‘Power Rangers’ universe that our readers would kill me for not asking, you are the one of the few to have actually seen it, so can you tell us just what actually WAS in the Ark Of The Covenant?
PF: It was an old sock! A gym sock. It was rather stained, it’s better not to ask.
PF: I will tell you what, I have been really pleased with this new program I worked on that’s on Netflix at the moment called ‘Tokyo Trial’! It’s actually doing quite well, but it’s a very serious look at the Japanese war crimes trail from World War II. Definitely check it out!
SF: Are there any writers, actors, or directors that you haven’t gotten a chance to work with yet but would love to collaborate with?
PF: There are no people in particular, although I want to play The Fox in ‘Pinocchio’ one day if they do that remake.
SF: It wouldn’t be too surprising to see that come along sometime soon, they really do seem to be remaking everything else in live action these days so who knows! Can you tell us what kind of projects do you have coming up? Where can your fans expect to see you turn up next?
PF: I’ve just finished working on a new Sony series called ‘Absentia’, and I guess that will be out next winter or so. It’s about the FBI, a thriller!
SF: And finally, our last question which is always one of my favorites- if you had one message to give to your fans, what would it be?
PF: Turn up at the next Comic Con!
There you have it, folks! The final word from Ivan Ooze himself, Paul Freeman straight from The Great Philadelphia Comic Con 2017! Be sure to check out Paul Freeman in ‘Tokyo Trial’ on Netflix now, and in ‘Absentia’ later this year from Sony!
Jordan is a Staff Writer & our resident Toy Columnist here at ScienceFiction! Journalist, Musician, Toy Collector, and Overall Awesome Guy! For more on Jordan’s thoughts, toys, and wacky adventures, be sure to follow him on Twitter and Instagram.