‘Power Rangers’ Helmer on LGBTQ Protagonist: ‘We Were Truthful About Representing Teenagers’

'Power Rangers' film premiere
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Lionsgate’s “Power Rangers,” the third big screen iteration of the mega-successful franchise from Haim Saban, is the first blockbuster action flick to feature an LGBTQ-identifying superhero.

Such visibility is a breakthrough, and a big deal, but it’s not a departure from status quo. Rather, it’s more of a sign of changing times. The “Power Rangers” cast and crew shared their thoughts on the landmark film with Variety on at its Thursday premiere at The Village Theatre in Los Angeles.

“I think people are scared to represent issues that are going on in our world that are controversial,” director Dean Israelite said. “I think people don’t want to divide audiences, honestly, when you’re making a movie of this size, scale and with this price tag, but what was important to us is that we were truthful about representing teenagers and what they go through today, and giving voices to characters that are underrepresented in not just movies, but also superhero movies.”

Becky G portrays the Yellow Ranger, Trini, a teen who questions her sexuality in a brief and slightly opaque reference in the film. “It’s something that I’m really proud of with my character — this ‘Power Rangers’ is a lot of firsts,” said the actress.

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RJ Cyler, who plays Billy the Blue Ranger, also helps the film reflect many marginalized teens who walk the hallways of real-life schools.

“You have the Blue Power Ranger, who is on the spectrum — who has a level of autism, and that’s huge,” Becky G continued. “Me, being the older sister of a brother who was diagnosed with autism at an early age, to know that he will be able to look up to a superhero [like him] is amazing because I feel that way about my brother, so I can only imagine how people feel about my character.”

The film’s narrative is driven by empowerment through self-discovery, according to screenwriter John Gatins.

“I feel like, it’s 2017 and we need to reflect 2017,” Gatins said. “I grew up on ‘The Breakfast Club’ and Dean (Israelite) and I had a lot of conversations on, if we were making a movie now, what would teens be facing — things like the LGBTQ community, the autism spectrum, cyber bullying and social media — things that didn’t exist when I was a kid. I think it was really important and something we fought to handle in the right way, but it needed to be in the movie.”

Elizabeth Banks, who has a turn as the alien invader Rita Repulsa, echoed similar comments. “I guess it’s a big deal but it doesn’t feel like it’s a big deal,” Banks explained.  “She just feels like a modern teenager questioning who she is — they’re all questioning who they are; it’s just a part of growing up.”

“Power Rangers” bows March 24.

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  1. Steve Vise says:

    More Hollyweird garbage

  2. hank says:

    Screw Hollyweird.

    Crappy, repetitive movies are repitious crap.

  3. JakeJ says:

    Truthful? So this idiot thinks one of every two teen girls is a lesbian? Hope this crap crashes and burns.

    • Reality Chick says:

      So a movie has to have how many female leads before any of them are allowed to question their sexuality? 100% of women are not straight, either, but you’re suggesting 100% of the female leads have to be. Also, shouldn’t they make it six power rangers then so half can be female because half of people are female? Surprised you’re not complaining about races, too.

      Regardless heterosexual women aren’t lacking for representation and it’s not hurting anyone’s heterosexuality for one of these characters to be gay or bi. Get a grip.

  4. Faye Canoes says:

    They have to make this a big deal now because the data is in & guess what? Nobody cares about this movie.

    It’s funny how it was cool to not talk about the main character in this year’s Oscar winner “Moonlight”, but now it is cool to talk about a character in this movie being Bi?

    Deadpool by all accounts is Bi, but they don’t hammer that over our heads.

    I will never understand how I am supposed to talk about all of this LBGTQ acronym stuff… Am I even getting the letters in the correct order?

    Reminds how confusing all of these labels are if you want to live outside of the USA where AIDS is more likely called SIDA and ISIS is called ISIL, IS or DAESH?

    Just ask your average PC loving American how to describe a Black person from another country… Someone like SEAL or David Oyelowo… African American? …try again.

    I know I got off topic a bit, but i couldn’t help myself. :)

    • Steve says:

      Well, as a straight guy who has supported gay rights since I was 16 (that’s 40 years), I can say that it’s not so difficult. Just keep your eyes and mind open.

  5. Adam Poole says:

    this movie was already a disaster that had nothing to do with the original mighty morphin power rangers ( including having billy be black for no reason) but now they made a straight character bi?… why?

    • Steve says:

      It’s 2017.

      • Reality Chick says:

        Why do characters need a reason to be black but not white? Personally I thought they were completely different characters anyway since the TV series has had countless versions, which I didn’t know until having my own children and Netflix. Power Rangers in space “for no reason,” as knights or wizards “for no reason,” etc.

        If you’re looking for reason in a Power Rangers movie, I think you might be lacking in the reasoning department in the first place.

      • Alphaman says:

        @Adam Poole why you so mad?

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