Our next interview in our series of interviews from Awesome-Con 2017 is with Jason David Frank. Jason is most widely known for playing Tommy Oliver in the Power Rangers franchise. The Green Ranger quickly rose as a fan favourite in the series and fans even responded as such when Twitch marathoned the Power Rangers series a few months ago.
Jason and I talked for a bit, mostly about Power Rangers, about what he thinks of the current Power Rangers product, the incredible popularity the franchise has and his MMA career.
Gage: Did you ever think Power Rangers would lead you to where you are now? With the insane popularity, it found here in the west.
Jason: I think what’s really cool is Power Rangers is popular around the world, which is pretty crazy to me, you know just coming from Los Angeles I thought, just being a younger actor, I thought it was just a popular show in LA and didn’t realise it started popping pretty much everywhere around the world, especially when I toured for the movie.
But all I, honestly, thought about just doing the best work that I can for today and have a better tomorrow. I didn’t really think about that 25 years ago, even now I don’t like to think 20 years from now, I’ll be super old. I like to put as much time and effort as I can in each day to have a better future I guess. If that makes sense.
Gage: Yeah, absolutely. Speaking of the popularity, Power Rangers was huge in my life when I was about three years old and growing up. You were even one of my first heroes, so I was someone who was ‘totally’ into it all. Now how do you feel about the recent Power Rangers movie? And the current Power Rangers product?
Jason: I mean, I’m a fan of Saban brand because they’re brave enough to do what they do. They have something that’s a kids show that plays on Nickelodeon, kids love it around the world. They’re brave enough to take this name, Power Rangers and put it in the future world and put $120 million budget on it, get some big actors and try something a little new. I thought they did a good job. There’s not a lot of negative reviews at all. I thought the reboot, made into a movie, was very well done.
Gage: I enjoyed the movie myself, I did the review for our site, n3rdabl3.com, and I really enjoyed it. I agree I thought it was really well done.
Jason: Awesome, that’s good.
Gage: Were you happy with the cameo that you and Amy Jo Johnson had in the movie?
Jason: Of course. I mean, I’d like to have played a bigger part in the movie, you know?
Gage: Yes, right.
Jason: But I was happy just to be part of it. We shot two cameos initially. I’m not too sure what the first one was, just because the director’s vision is a little bit different than other people’s vision. But I did have long hair in it. And I was just happy to be part of it. Of course, going on set, you think, “man, I’m just a glorified extra.” But theaters around the world erupted when me and Amy showed up. It was exciting. I wish I would have had a bigger part in the movie, it would make sense as a mentor or leader but I was happy they put us in there for the old school fans and even now the new school fans. It was good.
Gage: Definitely. People in our theatre were pointing and gasping when you guys came on screen. Everybody recognised you right away. I thought it was a cool nod to you guys.
Jason: Haha. Very cool.
Gage: Now, in the movie, there’s a tease to Tommy Oliver being in the second movie. Would you consider putting on some high school clothes and putting on the old green suit if you were asked?
Jason: Haha. To be honest I’m not even sure what’s going to happen with the sequel as far as storyline. They were very secretive on the first one and I think that’s just the way they have to be. I know they might tease a little bit of this or a little bit of that but we never know what studios are up to and never know what Saban is up to so it’s hard to predict the future, to be honest. This movie, for me, I had to see in a theater like everyone else. We didn’t have a private screening or really control over much because we shouldn’t have control. It’s their product, their brand and whatever decision Haim [Saban] does, I think he’ll make the right decision because he is passionate about the brand. I mean, it’s his brand. The guy never has to work again in his life if he doesn’t want to but he chooses to continue making Power Rangers a household name.
But I always stay spandex ready.
Gage: Awesome. Speaking of control, would you like any kind of say or input into who should play Tommy in the next movie?
Jason: Probably not. Haha. Because if you have any part or say in it, people start to point fingers at you. This way, when critics and other people start to tear it apart, those fingers aren’t pointed at you. I just know that, no matter what happens in the movie, people love the cameos, just a couple clips of it. But, I don’t think so, I think that’s where, if you have a say in it, you’re rolling the dice of people pointing fingers at you and going, ‘shame on you, you should have done this and you should have done that.’ So, I’m pretty happy with where I’m at right now.
Gage: Right, just taking a back seat role saying, “alright, you guys go for it.”
Jason: Exactly. Yup.
Gage: Now, I’ve worked on sets before and I can usually take away a story here and there from my time working on something. Are there any funny stories that have happened while working on Power Rangers or scenes that stick out to you?
Jason: Oh man, there’s so many.
Gage: I know there’s a lot to think through.
Jason: Yeah, a lot of different stuff, it’s just hard to remember. Me and Amy just did our first Q and A together in years. But mostly our stories just come me and Johnny Yong Bosch really messing around with karate and practice tree flips and stuff we really shouldn’t be practice before take, you know? And let’s just say, things happen, by accident, before you’re ready to shoot. So a lot of things we did kind of hurt ourselves before we were ready to shoot. So we were told, “hey, no practice before shooting.”
But Bulk and Skull, their outtakes are hilarious. They’re the same type of characters in real life. They’re quite interesting to look out, I love watching their outtakes. They’re so funny. But, not too many particular things stick out.
Gage: Now, to switch gears a little bit. How did the process go about of getting into MMA?
Jason: That’s just something I’ve always done as a kid. Did martial arts since I was four and have been training and doing mix martial arts for years. Even back before UFC was UFC. It’s just been part of my life. I was a black belt when I started and just continued training and just loved it.
Gage: Very cool. I remember being out of the scene and just coming across an upcoming fight card and realising it was you and saying, “wow, I can’t believe that’s the Green Ranger now.” Because you’re jacked.
Jason: Haha. Plus that tattoos, yeah.
Gage: Have you ever considered taking your acting background and your fighting background and mixing those into Professional Wrestling? Did that ever come up?
Jason: Well, I mean, John Hennigan (John Morrison – WWE) is a friend of mine, we’ve talked about that before with Lucha Underground. There’s a lot of cool things I’d like to do. I have an opportunity because you know, working on Bloodshot, well Ninjak versus the Valiant Universe, I play a character, Bloodshot, John Hennigan is one of my co-stars. He plays Eternal Warrior, so we’re going to be doing some stuff together. Some wrestling things together that he’s invited me to. But we’ve been filming and doing a whole bunch of stuff so things have been pretty hectic. My schedules have been really hectic. So I have to find the time to train but I’m sure I’ll be out doing some stuff. But I like the wrestling world and the WWE stuff and I enjoy it. A lot of fans are like, “I’ll never be your fan if you cross that line!” But never say never because the WWE guys have a lot of fans.
Gage: Yes, that is a huge brand.
Jason: Yeah, big time.
Gage: Are you in the full swing of your convention schedule now? How’s that going?
Jason: Yes. It’s good. I’m actually leaving tomorrow to finish up the Ninjak Project. Probably three more days of shooting as Bloodshot and we’ll finish up in June. Then that project will drop later this year. And I have a few other projects under a non-disclosure agreement that I’ll be able to announce later this year too, so it’s going to be a good year and I think next year will be even better.
The conventions and the fans are great. I just landed here in Houston and did Houston Comic Con. I’m blessed everywhere I go. Thousands of fans and I give it my best, I have high standards. I treat the last person like the first person and treat everyone equal. If I promise something to someone, I fulfill my promises and good things happen from that.
Jason is finished up work on the Valiant Project (Ninjak versus the Valiant Universe) in which he plays Bloodshot. The series can be found on the Bat in the Sun YouTube channel along with other videos that feature Jason. Another series in which Jason is the main focus of is the My Morphin Life series. This series follows Jason’s everyday life which in turn is at often times a non-stop thrill ride.
Jason is very active on social media and can be found on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. We’ve been told to pay close attention to his accounts has he prepares to announce the other projects he is working on throughout the year which, no doubt will be, bad ass.
Jason David Frank will be appearing at Awesome-Con this year in Washington DC on June 16 through June 18. n3rdabl3 will be in attendance to cover the event. For all things Awesome-Con and for more interviews with the guests who will be appearing at the event, make sure to check back to n3rdabl3.com often.