So how does a Power Rangers movie get an Oscar-nominated actor involved in its production? Just hope that said actor – you know, like Breaking Bad star Bryan Cranston – has a long history with your franchise. You know, one that goes almost all the way back to the beginning.
Cranston is set to play Zordon in Power Rangers, which opens in March. His involvement all came from the fact that film investor Haim Saban had Cranston on speed dial, according to IGN.
“I know Haim, and 35 years ago I was doing voiceovers when I was first starting out, and I would do it when they were dubbing into English, and they had to change everything. I went in and did a bunch of different voices. I was 23 or 24. I wasn’t doing younger voices obviously.”
Instead, Cranston was the top choice to portray villains in a number of shows in the early 1990s including Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, Macross Plus and Armitage III.
Many of these series, like Power Rangers, would be imported, which meant that the foreign language had to be dubbed out, and English dubbed in. In fact, the Blue Ranger – Billy Cranston – is named after the actor.
The new film is certainly a departure, because Cranston won’t just play a voice – he’ll be fully engaged in the project. Yet, we’re still talking about a kids series that probably didn’t age as well with time as other childhood classics. It took another phone call – this time from Dean Israelite – to convince Cranston to join the production.
“I had a phone call with the director, and he said, ‘Think of it this way … like Batman came from TV and became a completely different animal in the movies, so too is it here. We’re going to take this and revamp it, and it’s going to be grounded and real.’
“And I thought, ‘OK with that, let me read it.'”
In the 1990s series, Zordon was the Rangers’ mentor who also helped provide them with their powers. He would usually appear as a floating head in an energy tube, and was voiced by the likes of David Fielding and Bob Manahan.
While there obviously will be some callbacks to the series, Cranston also promises that we’ll see a Zordon that fits into Israelite’s new vision.
“He is a frustrated mentor of these kids. They’re not advancing as I’d hoped. Some of them are not taking this seriously, the responsibility that has been placed upon them or that they have been chosen for.
“And yet, you’re a mentor. It’s almost like being a coach. You want to break down the individuality of them so that they can grow as a team.”
Lionsgate’s Power Rangers will hit theaters March 24.
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