On the evening of November 3, many fans began their long treks home from the RI Comic Con as the list of events began to run dry. In the depths of the Rhode Island Convention Center, though, press from various sites began to gather in the depths of the building for a special series of interview junkets. The evening started strong, with appearances by Lee Merriweather, “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan, and Jake “the Snake” Roberts. The press seemed engaged, and everyone was eager to learn more from the various celebrities.
The final junket of the night was with Walter Emanuel Jones, who played the role of Zack in Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. A hush came over the room, as many began to feel nervous, intimidated, or even disinterested in the presence of the actor. The silence was broken by one unnamed reporter, after which our team was given the opportunity to ask a pair of questions before Jones needed to leave for the evening. For this interview segment, we will be posting all three questions for the sake of completion, though we will attribute the third question to the unknown writer.
We would like to thank the staff at the RI Comic Con for arranging this interview, and Mr. Jones for taking the time to answer our questions.
Other Publication: Can you tell us a little about the audition process for Power Rangers, and how you got the job?
Walter Emanuel Jones: Ah, well, the audition process for Power Rangers… I actually was out of town when they were having the audition. I got the call from, I was doing Star Search. I was on Star Search in Florida! I was dancing I think, or singing, and I got the call from my agent, and I couldn’t make it because I was in Florida. And they called me again, and said “they’re still audition, so do you want to go in?” Apparently, they had seen about eight hundred people, looking for five. And I went in, and they gave me a side to read, so I had to act to do, which I knew I had that down because I’m an actor and had graduated with a degree in musical theater from college. And then they also wanted to see me dance. And for my character Zack, he had to do hip-hop, martial arts, gymnastics, and he had to act. So I had to develop my own form of martial arts, Hiphopkido, which was interesting. It was like “how do you do that? That’s, like, hip hop and martial arts, and…”
Anyway. So, I auditioned, and they liked me, and I got a callback and they liked me again. And they kind of took four different casts of five, and put us all together. And there was kind of like a quirky cast, and there was a tall cast, like tall, moderately-looking cast. And then there was a shorter cast, which was my cast, and I forgot about the other one. But they put us all together, and eventually, between the chemistry of all the characters, and the combination of what we did, it broke down to two. And my nemesis, or the person in the other cast, is actually a guy who, he did Michael Jackson type dances. So he was fighting and doing Michael Jackson-type movement, which would have been interesting, but in the end they chose us, so that was the process of the audition. It took about three days, and after we finally finished doing it, after all the kicks and the flips in the room, and the auditioning and the neves and lines, they brought us together as a cast.
Anime Herald: To my knowledge, Power Rangers was basically a combination of new footage, and dubbed-over footage from a Japanese Super Sentai series.
Walter Emanuel Jones: Right.
Anime Herald: What was it like to go from fully acting out certain scenes, to going into an acting booth to record your lines? Was there a real disconnect when trying to capture that character again?
Walter Emanuel Jones: No, not really because the character stayed consistent with my voice. I mean, so the same way I would speak when I was in the character as Zack, I would speak as the Power Ranger, just more active, like… a little more staccato. ‘Cause, the character’s movement was very staccato, so we we’re in a Zord and we’re like [gestures] That’s the movement, like [gestures] “Power up! Ready to go!” Right? So, it was that in my Zack voice, which was a high school teenager, which was easy because I had a really high voice at the time (laughs).
Anime Herald: Do you have an episode that stands out, when either filming was more fun, or one that you personally like to watch back?
Walter Emanuel Jones: You know, I get that question often, and the thing is my favorites change regularly. Like, there are lots of episodes that I really enjoyed, there are lots of memories in different episodes. I’ll talk about this one because it stands out at the moment.
We did an episode where we were in a carnival, and I had to walk on stilts for the first time. My character was active, doing all kinds of stuff. I had to walk on stilts for the first time, and also had to do a fight with this pirate boat, the pirate boat that swings like that? [gestures] I had to do a fight with a putty in the midst of this thing swinging! So I was now out of the safety zone. I’m, like, off by the track and it’s swinging by and I’m ducking, and it stood out as something that was really kind of scary, but it was fun, because it was an adventure. So, at the moment it’s one of my favorites! (laughs)
Responses have been edited for clarity.