Though he plays evil on television, actor Colby Strong has nothing but good things going for him right now.
Proving that this twenty-six year franchise is better than ever, you can currently see Colby as ‘Blaze' on the latest version of the butt-kicking series, Hasbro’s Power Rangers Beast Morphers.
Colby Strong took a break from his on-screen mischief to speak with Candid. He shared the origin of his acting interests and the elaborate process it took to ultimately land this well-layered TV character.
Colby also opened up about how his filming community in New Zealand is coping following the recent worldwide attention from the country’s unfathomable tragedy.
How does a boy from Salt Lake City, Utah decide to go into the competitive world of acting?
You know, it’s kind of crazy. I grew up in a family that consists of all women and all of them are cops.
So, I don’t really know where I found my avenue, but they put me in to every sport you could think of, even like gymnastics and ice skating for a day, but we never did theatre or acting.
I ended up finding it on my own at 13 in junior high school. I just kind of started doing community theatre. Musicals are very big in Salt Lake City. Then it just blossomed to getting an agent and ended up going to college for it.
In October 2017, you bought a one-way ticket to Los Angeles, in search of acting success. What was your mentality then? Did you have any projects set up before arriving, or were you taking a risk and hoping for the best?
Oh, for sure risk. I did some prep before and had some friends get me ready to try and get some agent and manager meetings while out there.
I ended up getting three meetings, which was really exciting, and one of the women I met ended up becoming my manager. But there was no job. I was just like, This is the time. Seven months later, I got the audition for Power Rangers.
Oh my gosh, this question. It’s amazing. I have such a thorough answer.
I got an email from my manager for the ‘comedic duo' role. She sends me a breakdown of the character, which is skinny little 5’7’’ kid and I’m not that. I was like, I don’t think I’ll get it. I went in and took a risk and dressed as ‘good looking, teen boy' in a red shirt overlapped with a long-sleeved shirt. Exactly what they want for the Red Ranger. I went in not looking like the dorky guy.
Didn’t hear anything for a month and all of a sudden I got a call and my manager was like, I can’t believe you. They want to see you as a Ranger.
It was two and half months of training. Finally, we got to the screen test, top sixteen guys. Three weeks later, my manager calls me and she was like, We didn’t get it, but they want to see you read for the villain. I went in [to the audition] and gave it all I got.
Four days later, I got cast. I totally think everything happens for a reason. Blaze is definitely the role I was supposed to play and it has been a blast to play evil.
You were born in 1994, when the original Power Rangers television series was in the midst of its pop culture phenomenon. Did you grow up knowing about the Power Rangers? And if so, what were you thoughts about it?
Totally! I was a huge Power Rangers fan. I was playing with all of the action figures and had all of the movies they made. That was my little era of Power Rangers.
It’s really awesome to keep the legacy going. Being the oldest in the cast, where I come from watching it, being a fan, then to be a part of it is just an honour.
How would you explain ‘Blaze' and what makes him a pivotal character in this new Power Rangers universe?
I don’t want to say it’s as simple as he’s the antagonist.
It was really important to make some groundwork since Blaze was ‘good' in the first episode.
I made this choice that Blaze didn’t really have a big family life, so the only thing he could cling to was his career. Training the hardest, training the most. That’s all he had. I wanted to have him grounded, not just be the evil guy.
Compared to the original '90s series, how would you say that the Power Rangers have evolved with your new squad?
One thing we really care about as a cast is telling the story truthfully.
I’m trying to make Blaze a real person. Maybe there wasn’t that back when there was ‘Rita Repulsa' [pauses], but I…hmm, you’re asking good questions. I feel like I’m always prepared.
Well when you’re not suiting up as ‘Blaze', how do you like to dress, Colby Strong?
I probably always have black jeans on with a pair of Chucks [Converse Chuck Taylor trainers]. I’m a pretty simple guy. If I don’t look like I’m in a Levi’s magazine, something’s probably wrong.
I usually don’t ever wear any colour. I really like the basic neutrals. I think maybe just because they go with everything. Pretty much everything opposite of a Power Rangers wardrobe. I like to keep it clean because it just looks timeless.
You film the show in New Zealand. How is it filming there? How is it similar and different from Salt Lake City, Utah?
As soon as we got to New Zealand, we had two weeks of training. Who knew that I just loved sweating? And I was the only one literally dying and soaking wet after three hours of training every day.
So, one thing I realised is that I grew up in such a dry area, that my body wasn’t used to humidity. So, as soon as I get here [to New Zealand], fighting in the tropics, it’s just so different. That’s one thing I can’t wait to go home for, because I am actually not that bad of a sweater [laughs].
My body just doesn’t like the humidity.
New Zealand recently made world news with an attack on their local mosques. How does the community seem to be coping and have you felt the effects yourself?
It’s kind of been this crazy thing. When we come here and meet the people, everybody is really amazing out here. Kind humans and you feel a sense of community. Everyone says how safe it is [here], that’s all you hear. I could never fathom something like this could happen here.
Now, New Zealand has banned semi-automatic weapons. We just don’t hear that response in America when something like this happens.
Everybody came together and are going over to their local mosque and praying for everybody. It’s been a really sensitive moment over here, but everybody’s being only stronger.
There is no shame, there is only strength.
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