12:58pm PT by Graeme McMillan
'Power Rangers': Bleeding Stuntmen and Painful Zord Shoot Details Revealed
Together, Saban's Power Rangers will be more — and at a New York Comic Con panel Saturday, the cast and crew of the upcoming movie reboot demonstrated that they're determined to live up to the legacy of the fan-favorite superhero franchise.
"I grew up on Power Rangers, and what was important to me in the beginning was making a movie about growing up," said director Dean Israelite, who described the movie as a "grounded, character-driven origin story set to the backdrop of this spectacular adventure story." But just as importantly, he said, was the desire to "remain true to the spirit of the franchise, and make sure that we worked really hard to reimagine it and reinvent it to bring it for a 2017 audience."
That faithfulness to the franchise was shared by the cast. Dacre Montgomery, who plays Jason the Red Ranger, said that he felt "a lot of honor and a lot of responsibility" stepping into the world of Power Rangers. "We all gave 150 percent on this, and we all hope it resonates with you guys," he told the excited crowd.
The amount of training the actors underwent to become superheroes was grueling, and not without incident. "There were a few accidents," said Naomi Scott, the movie's Pink Ranger. "For the first time I was ever onscreen doing choreography, I literally punched someone in the face and made them bleed." ("And he was the nicest guy!" exclaimed R.J. Cyler, the Blue Ranger.)
The panel did confirm one much speculated-upon return for the movie: the Zords will, indeed, be featured in the movie. "Working with the technology was pretty extraordinary, especially for me, coming from a small town in Australia to being part of this massive production," Montgomery said, calling the Zord rigs "incredible, huge things."
"It felt like these guys were really in these Zords, fighting," said Israelite about the Zord shoot. "I put them in these things, which was basically like being in a crazy roller coaster for 12 hours. I shot so much footage that we broke the record for dailies three days in a row." Although the director teased the emotional performances, Cyler joked that, "It wasn't emotional because it was emotional for me, it was emotional because it hurt."
Becky G, who plays the Yellow Ranger in the movie, agreed. "I had a hard time in the Zord," she remembered. "Dean caught me praying in Spanish. I just wanted it to be over, it was so hard."
Much more enjoyable for the actress, however, was working with Elizabeth Banks, who plays Rita Repulsa in the movie. "She was incredible," she said. "She takes full responsibility and control over her character. It was fun, we were collaborating and throwing ideas. It felt chill, because we were in sweatpants, no makeup, and then come shooting the scene, it wasn't acting. It was genuine fear of how she looked and behaved."
Although Banks didn't appear as the panel in person, she made a video appearance to introduce the teaser trailer released online Saturday, which was shown twice to close out the panel.
Power Rangers will be released March 24, 2017.