Jason David Frank Talks About The Green Ranger’s Popularity, CM Punk And His Actual Favorite Color [SDCC 2013]
20 years ago, the Green Ranger kicked down the back door of the Megazord, punched everyone in the head, and immediately became the coolest dude that any of us had ever seen on television. I mean, seriously, the guy had a knife that was a flute and rode around in a robot dragon, and that’s all we’ve ever wanted out of life. At San Diego, Jason David Frank, who played the Green, White, Red, and Black Rangers at various times sat down with us to talk about his character’s enduring popularity, why he thinks the Green Ranger can stand as its own franchise, and his MMA challenge to professional wrestler CM Punk.
Chris Sims: So we’re here with Jason David Frank, best known as the original Green Ranger on Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. How’s your con going?
Jason David Frank: It’s going good, man. I’ve just been promoting and meeting fans yesterday. I did a few surprise visits to a couple booths. I put on Instagram “I’m here, let’s do some free pictures!” It’s a big con. I’ve been doing a lot of Wizard World shows, but it’s cool. It’s definitely huge. It’s fun for me.
CS: One of the things I really noticed just from reading Wikipedia was that the entry for the Green Ranger is amazing. People are in there writing things like “there is still speculation over whether Jason or Tommy is the stronger fighter.” What’s that been like for you to have fans who take things with that level of intensity, and to be the guy who came in and was immediately the most popular character?
JDF: I love the fans. I just had an interview with this guy, and he knows I’m highly interactive with my fans and stuff like that. He’s excited to come in and get the chance, because he knows that anything you all do, I’m promoting. Any interviews, I’m retweeting and posting and stuff like that, because it’s exciting to be a superhero. It’s a lot of fun.
Caleb Goellner: Did they actually coordinate all this furniture to match you today?
JDF: Yesterday was green, today was white.
CG: Tomorrow they’ll do red, with stars and racecars everywhere. I’ve seen some photos from your legacy appearance on the upcoming season of Megaforce, and there’s a picture of you with Mike from Samurai. He had your dragon armor on.
JDF: That was fan-made! I did that up for all you guys out there!
JDF: That picture’s everywhere now. I said “hey, I’ve got a great idea, let’s just do this because I know the fans’ll be like ‘what?!’” He’s a big Power Rangers fan too, he loved me growing up, so I was like “we’ll put it on you. I’ll give you the power.” Now it’s everywhere.
CG: Have they ever thought of just doing episodes with you guys hanging out, being bros?
JDF: Me and him have a good time, man. It’d make a good reality show. We were crazy up there.
CG: I’d watch two seasons of that. Maybe three.
CS: I’m a pro wrestling fan, and I heard that you recently expressed a desire to have an MMA fight with CM Punk.
JDF: Yeah, I think it’d be great. First of all, CM Punk’s a great guy. I’ve worked with him a lot, he’s a really good, respectful dude, so CM Punk, I love that about you. But on a professional level, it’d be great to have an MMA fight or even wrestle. I could bring so many fans to a wrestling match, you know what I mean? It’d be awesome.
CS: I’d be 100% into that.
JDF: I would too. I got a lot of wrestling fans saying “dude, you should do something!” I’m here. I’d love to work with CM Punk, one way or another, wrestling or MMA. For sure.
CS: What if instead of going against each other, you guys teamed up?
JDF: That’s fine. I’ll team up with CM Punk.
CG: You should battle aliens together.
JDF: Let’s do something!
CG: So you’ve worn several colors as a Ranger, but what is your legit, as a guy, favorite color.
JDF: It was black. When I was the Black Ranger, I had all black, and it was sweet. But to be honest with you, I bought a green jacket yesterday. Green’s kind of growing on me. I just got a green parachute for my skydiving rig. I was one of those all-black guys. Black shirt, black jeans, but now I’m getting a little more risky with my wardrobe. I’ve got a red DC hat that’s kind of plaid, I’m just going out there.
CG: Sometimes on Megaforce, they change into other Rangers. Other times, they meet other Rangers. How important was it for you to be a part of this new season?
JDF: Well, you know, I think that the Green Ranger can hold his own, like Wolverine and the X-Men. That’s just my opinion, but the franchise alone, I really think that if the Green Ranger did a Dark Knight-style movie with me, it would totally hold its own. I’ve got the fans into it, I’ve talked to Saban, and now that I’m here and they see the power of my fans, they can make this happen. It’s to give back to these age groups. Megaforce is great, it’s good for kids, but a PG-13-ish, Batman-ish Green Ranger thing could work. I think he can hold his own. That’s what I want to work on, and Green Ranger, White Ranger definitely has the fans to do it. Just the character, I embrace who I am.
You can have an actor who’s a popular character, but when you meet him, his popularity goes away. I’ve been embracing who I was 20 years ago, to this day. Rain or shine, if the show was big or not, I’m embracing who I was. That’s what I’ve been doing, and obviously, Saban relaunched it and it became a big Mega thing 20 years later, and it happens to work out for me.
CG: If a Green Ranger movie was nothing but you kicking down the back door of the Megazord and punching people in the head, like that first appearance, on a loop, in HD for two hours, I’m pretty sure it would sell plenty of tickets.
CS: You’ve got two sold already.
JDF: I know a lot of fans, they just want to talk about it. I talked to Jonathan in New Zealand about it. We’ll talk to Saban. I think they need to see it. They look at the morphers and collectible toys, this stuff is going crazy. Beyond who I am or what I do, even if I’m not in the franchise, the Green Ranger has become a world icon. In Hot Topic, anywhere you see the Power Rangers, it’s the Green Ranger, the White Ranger. You all have your favorite Ranger, which is great, but in general. It’s been cool. It’s been fun.