The world needs a lot of things right now, and Lionsgate seems to think that a Power Rangers movie is one of them – just in case there weren’t enough superheroes flocking to your local multiplex. Though the film’s release date was shifted from 2016 to January 2017, this thing is still coming, and it has Dean Israelite calling the shots. Israelite made his feature length debut with the found-footage time travel flick Project Alamanac in 2014, so of course, he was immediately given the opportunity to direct a giant franchise reboot.
Characterized as an entertainment and merchandising franchise, Power Rangers centres on a team of costumed superheroes. The main component of the franchise has always been the long-running television series – the first of which launched in 1993 as Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. Since then, there have been 22 seasons of 19 differently themed series, as well as two feature films.
In the TV shows, much of the footage is taken from the Japanese Super Sentai series, but the central premise remains consistent – teams of young people are trained to transform into Power Rangers to battle villains. Each Power Ranger is colour-coded and possesses special powers and weapons.
If you ever wondered how a director with such little experience could land a job like this one, Israelite recently explained the process in an interview with IGN – during which he also gave some insight into the tone of the project.
“I read the script and was really surprised by it and thought there was a really cool, contemporary, mature but still playful, buoyant and fun take on the material, and was updated in a really interesting way. It had this wonderful character that’s essential to going on a fantastic adventure. I was instantly drawn to it. I remember it as a kid. I grew up with it in South Africa. When I opened the script I had no idea how it was going to be updated, and I was really impressed by it. So I put a really big presentation together, because I needed to win the job. There were a lot of guys going out for it and saw the potential in it, so I put a really big presentation together and was lucky enough to get the job. We’re in sort of a soft pre-production right now, doing a lot of design work and re-imagining the world. It’s really cool and exciting.”
In case you missed it, Israelite put a really big presentation together. Also, while it’s not exactly clear what the difference between “soft pre-production” and hard pre-production might be, there are definitely things beginning to happen on this film – not least the finessing of a script, written by Zack Stentz and Ashley Miller (Thor). It is this script that Israelite notes will bring a level of reality to the highly stylized Power Rangers world.
“I think it’s going to be a fun, joyful [movie], but one that feels completely grounded in a real world, with real characters going through real things. We’re going to be shooting soon, so yes, I’m hoping news of [casting] is going to come out in the next few months.”
While the casting decisions for Power Rangers could be intriguing, the finished product will not be hitting theatres until January 13th 2017.