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THE BIG INTERVIEW: We chat to Power Rangers movie (2017) star Wesley MacInnes

May 9th, 2017 by Big Phil Comments

He’s best known for his turn in this year’s Power Rangers as the school Bully who is taught a tough lesson by Bill, the Blue Ranger, but as our man Phil found out, Wesley MacInnes has also starred in a plethora of Nerdy classics including The 100, Supernatural, Smallville, iZombie, and Warcraft: The Beginning. 

So let’s get into it… 

FTN: Hi Wesley, thanks for taking the time to chat with us. We appreciate how busy you are with the new Liam Neeson movie (more on that later) so let’s get right into it. What are the differences in working on a movie like Power Rangers compared to shows like, say, The 100?

WMacI: At the end of the day, the actual filming experience is quite similar across almost every project, from a technical perspective. That’s something I actually quite like: regardless of what you are working on, there is a similar team around you allowing you to focus on your work. I find the continuity makes me feel at home in new places.

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I guess the difference on something like Power Rangers is how I feel about the franchise. I was a die-hard fan of the original ’90s series, so that was in the back of my head. It made me think a lot about my days in grade two playing with a Megazord, renting VHS tapes to learn the Green Ranger Kata and being in the Power Rangers club at school (which required you to bend brick with your finger – long story on how we all had to cheat around that one).

There was a lot of nostalgia for me, but when it was time to film I was a villain and that was all about pushing the Rangers’ buttons.

FTN: Was there much pressure on the cast to create Power Rangers, given that it was already one of the world’s most loved franchises?

WMacI: Certainly there is some added pressure when you work on a franchise like this.  There was an energy to the shoot – everyone knew they were part of something big.

“There was a lot of nostalgia for me, but when it was time to film I was a villain and that was all about pushing the Rangers’ buttons.”

FTN: The movie is a pretty straight-faced adventure with very real characters, in the Marvel and DC age, was it intentional to try to move away from the ‘silliness’ of the original series?

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WMacI: I certainly think a choice was made there.

I feel the film does sit in that pocket that Marvel and DC have been carving out: dramatic, but with lighter moments that reveal character. I think that you still see some comedy in this though, without going full camp. Realizing that the core audience is now in their late 20s and 30s and aiming to take them on a thrill ride with nods of nostalgia back to the source material.

I think on one take I tried humming the Bulk and Skull theme song while messing with RJ (Billy). Alas, it’s not in the final cut, but I was trying.

FTN: With The 100, Supernatural, Smallville, iZombie, Warcraft and now Power Rangers under your belt, you’ve clocked up some pretty serious nerd miles… are you a nerd yourself in real life? If so, what’s your nerdiest pastime? Comics? Movies? Games? What do you love and why?

WMacI: Oh absolutely. The world of sci-fi/fantasy and all things nerdy has always been home for me. I don’t really know where to start. My top three favorite movies (franchises in this case) are: Star Wars, Lord of the Rings and Indiana Jones.  My favorite television shows include: Lost, BSG and Star Trek: TNG (which I’m currently re-watching on Netflix).

Magic Cards: check. Catan: check. Love of escape room games: check.  Comic books: recently checked. Being up-to-date on SpaceX and NASA: check.  I feel like my nerdiest current pastime might be watching episodes of Reboot before bed. I could literally go on all day here hahaha.

“On one take I tried humming the Bulk and Skull theme song… alas, it’s not in the final cut.”

FTN: Marvel and DC knock on your door, any character is available… who do you pick and why?

WMacI: Ironman. I admire that he was smart enough and resourceful enough to grant himself superpowers – it wasn’t random or given to him.  He can go toe-to-toe with the best of them, but I like that it begins with his mind. Surely he has wealth, but he has taken it and made it into something more. I also just finished reading the Ironman: Extremis series… did I mention I like nerdy things?

FTN: Were you a fan of Power Rangers yourself? If so – or even if not – what do you think draws fans old and new to the story

WMacI: Absolutely, I was!  As I said above, it was a big deal for me for a few years there in my childhood. I think that old fans are drawn back from that nostalgic feeling. Those old battle sequences were so distinct and memorable that I think they stayed with a lot of people.  Let’s get serious… what beats having sparks fly out of your chest every time you take a big hit?

“I also just finished reading the Ironman: Extremis series… did I mention I like nerdy things?”

FTN: Was being an actor your first passion or had you something else in mind when you were younger?

WMacI: Well, I always wanted to be an NHL hockey player growing up… I think I’m about 40 lbs too light for that though, haha.

Fairly early on I started pursuing music and that has been my main focus to this day. Acting is something I got into about 10 years ago and have really found a love for. Ultimately, I like creating things. I do a lot of directing as well. Imagining things and then bringing them into existence… I like that.

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FTN: What’s next? Have you any upcoming projects you can talk about or, even better, that you’re not allowed to talk about (we promise not to tell anyone)?

WMacI: Hahaha… well I’ve been working on a new film called Hard Powder, which stars Liam Neeson. I sadly cannot say a ton about it other than this: Don’t cross Liam Neeson in a film. He’s the nicest guy in the world in real life, but in a film…just don’t do it, man.

“I always wanted to be an NHL hockey player growing up… I think I’m about 40 lbs too light for that though!”

FTN: Finally, which Ranger – in the series or movie – was your favourite and why?

WMacI: I was a big Green Ranger fan. He was the total lone wolf who always swooped in and saved the day despite battling with his own depleted powers (Rita and that damn candle!).

I learned years later, that’s because in the source Japanese footage the Green Ranger actually dies. But since he had become so popular they didn’t want to lose him and had to use what limited footage they had of him, which resulted in these plot lines where he was MIA most of the episode and would show up in a crucial moment to save the day.

Also, he made the Pink Ranger swoon pretty hard.

“Don’t cross Liam Neeson in a film. He’s the nicest guy in the world in real life, but in a film… just don’t do it, man!”

FTN: Wesley, thanks for chatting to us and we look forward to see you taking on our local boy, Liam Neeson soon. Have a great one!

WMacI: You too guys!

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I arrived on Earth in 1977 and have virtually devoted my entire existence to cult films, television programmes and cartoons. I am a very big fan of Star Wars and Star Trek; I may struggle with foreign languages but I can order live Gagh in Klingon! I’m the Nerd that knows the trivia but I’m hopeless at sport!

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