Directed by Dean Israelite (Project Almanac), Saban’s Power Rangers tells the story of five ordinary teenagers who become something extraordinary when they learn about an alien threat that’s got its sight set on their small town of Angel Grove. Chosen by destiny, Jason (Dacre Montgomery), Billy (RJ Cyler), Zack (Ludi Lin), Kimberly (Naomi Scott) and Trini (singer Becky G) quickly discover that it is up to them to save the planet, but to do so, they most also overcome their real-life issues – including bullying, fractured relationships with their parents, and questioning their own sexuality – and learn to band together as the Power Rangers.
At a conference during the film’s press day, co-stars Dacre Montgomery, RJ Cyler, Ludi Lin, Naomi Scott and Becky G talked about the training they went through to become Power Rangers, learning to fight for the camera, getting the opportunity to add their own touch to their roles, whether they watched the TV series for inspiration or not, having such diversity among the characters, making sure their characters weren’t too cliché, and their stand-out memories from their own school experiences.
Question: This is a very action and stunt heavy film. What sort of training did you have to go through, to get physically conditioned for the role?
RJ CYLER: We all trained in our respective living environments. I trained at 8711 with Becky, and it was mostly physical training. The stunt training consists of being able to respect distances and also knowing that your partner in the scene is your partner, and both of your safety is important. You want to keep everybody safe, without bloody noses. And then, we got to Vancouver and we trained for choreography. Our stunt team was really good. They made us safe, and they made us feel safe doing our stunts, even though harnesses are one of the most uncomfortable things.
NAOMI SCOTT: Becky and I trained before we actually got to Vancouver, which was more to do with the stamina to get through the shoot. I don’t think it was necessarily purely an aesthetic thing. It was for us to get strong. At the end of the day, we’re all playing teenagers in school, and not every teenager looks like Ludi Lin.
LUDI LIN: That’s because Ludi Lin is not a teenager!
SCOTT: We can only try! So, I think that was really important. For Becky and I, as girls, wanted to look like normal girls.
DACRE MONTGOMERY: Well, I wanted to look as ripped as possible. No. It was a lot of fun. I didn’t come from sports, or a physically fit background. Spending two and a half months in Perth, training in the lead up to shooting was amazing. I learned so much about my body, my flexibility and my diet. It was for the stamina to go through the shoot, but also to learn how to be safe, on set. The choreography and the stunts were so important.
BECKY G: I think we should take a moment of silence for all of the teenage girls that fainted, every time the boys posted a shirtless selfie. I grew up in Inglewood, so the concept of fighting was very natural. No. The person you’re working with is not your opponent, they’re your partner. So, learning how to fight for the camera and learning about safety zones was very new, for a lot of us. But it was so much fun, more than anything.
LIN: I don’t take training as training. It’s not something that’s hard for me to do. I can do it, all the time. I can do it for half an hour, if I have it, or I can do it for six hours, if you give it to me. But, I learn that sometimes I over-train. The first day on set, when we did some camera tests, they had some problems with my man arms.
Did you guys just work with the script that you were given, or did you go back and rewatch the show for inspiration?
MONTGOMERY: I just want to say a big thank you to (director) Dean [Israelite] and the studio because there was a huge incentive from the creatives to add our own touch. I’m a newcomer, so what do I know, but I think that was pretty fortunate. We’re pretty lucky to have our own opportunity to put our own spice onto the roles.
BECKY G: I made the conscious decision not to revisit the show because I wanted to take that impression that it first made on me, and how it inspired and stuck with me, and build on that. What intrigued me the most, when I first had a conversation about the script and my character with Dean, was that, although these names might sound familiar, you are meeting our characters for the first time. It’s taking place now, in 2017, with really relevant and current issues to now, which a lot of kids can identify with and relate to one of our characters, in some way.
SCOTT: For me, I just wanted to start fresh.