What is your favorite part about being in the movie?
My favorite part was being able to work with all the other rangers. It’s fun because we got to work as a team. Everybody was so different and we made each other better.
What did you do off the set with the other rangers that you enjoy?
We got out for dinner, got our pictures taken, got out and played sports, and we trained together. Even when we weren’t filming, we were still training together. Also each ranger has their favorite thing. For example, Naomi [Scott] and her family love board games, so over the Canadian Thanksgiving after we were done filming, we played board games all night. Becky [G] and RJ [Cyler] both love listening to music, and then there is Dacre [Montgomery], who is an exercise freak like me, so we train together a lot. It is good competition.
What has been the hardest part about making the movie?
The hardest part emotionally was finishing the movie because everyone was having such a good time. But the hardest part physically was learning all the choreography for the fights. Also getting to know the Power Rangers and the world they were living in. Just because things are tough and challenging doesn’t mean they were not good to do. In fact, the parts that were the hardest were probably the most fun.
Did you ever watch the Power Rangers as a kid?
I did. My favorite was the Yellow Ranger because my first action figure was a yellow Power Ranger and it had a motorcycle to go along with it. That was my favorite Ranger for a long time. I also thought the visor was the best because the helmet looks wicked—and who doesn’t love a saber-tooth tiger? When I was watching the Power Rangers, I thought the white and green rangers were pretty cool because they were a little different than the other rangers.
Can you tell me about Zack, the ranger you are playing?
Zack is a very big part of me. Zack is the kid at school who everyone wants to know at first, but it is hard because he will be doing something strange or something dangerous. Zack is a very good guy at heart, but he doesn’t know how to handle some of his problems because they are a little too serious for a kid to deal with. The thing that Zack needs the most is friends around him to support him. So when he finds the team and bonds with the other rangers, he finds a place in the world.
Tell me about your martial arts background. How did it help you in the movie?
I started martial arts when I graduated from high school. As a kid, I always loved climbing trees, rolling around, and doing flips. I started in Thailand when I was learning Thai kickboxing, and then after that I learned all different types of martial arts. In the movie we had to learn a ton of new moves, the same way I did with martial arts. So my background gave me the confidence to learn these moves.
My favorite part is the art aspect. To me art is about communicating a part of me to whoever my partner or opponent is. So when I’m in a boxing ring with another person, it feels the same way as if we are in an exchange. It’s as if we are almost talking, but with our fists.
What has been the most challenging thing about learning martial arts?
I think it always comes down to training. Like I said earlier, the hardest part is also the most enjoyable part, because it gives you a challenge, and it makes you better. The hardest move I had to do was a suplex. It is Zack’s super-powerful finishing move that I wanted him to have. It took me quite a while—in fact I got hurt on the set doing the move, but I never thought I wouldn’t be able do the move or not finish the movie.
What is your favorite move?
Now my favorite move is the suplex, and I hope it is your favorite move when you see the movie. My favorite move before the suplex was a bunch of jiu-jitsu moves because I found that jiu-jitsu is a martial art of the body as well as the mind, and I really enjoy that.
How does it feel to be on the screen in front of millions of people?
At first it will feel a little bit nerve-racking, but then it will feel really amazing because I am sharing a part of myself with millions of people in that short period of time all over the world. If I can inspire only one person to do something good, I would feel like I completed something important.
Is there anything else you want the Sports Illustrated Kids readers to know about you?
I want to say that being a kid is great. I think being a kid is its own superpower. I think you need to go out there and do what you do best and what you enjoy doing.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
Photographs by: Kimberley French (2)