When you get the opportunity to play a bad-ass movie villain there's no thinking it over.
Elizabeth Banks jumped at the chance to be in the new Power Rangers movie playing Rita Repulsa, one of the most evil characters in the franchise!
Elizabeth Banks is known for her comedic flare, from Wet Hot American Summer to the Pitch Perfect franchise Banks rarely dips into the world of villains. The closest she's gotten lately was playing District 12 chaperone Effie Trinket in The Hunger Games films, a character more ignorant about the world around her than evil. However, it was Trinket's over-stylized costumes and makeup that Banks that actually caught the eye of director Dean Israelite and suggested her as the right woman to embody Repulsa. Game to give it a go, Banks is now the woman the teen Power Rangers have to thwart to save Earth and the universe.
This new Power Rangers film is an origin story. It centres around five ordinary teens who must become something extraordinary when they learn that their small town of Angel Grove - and the world - is on the verge of being obliterated by an alien threat. Chosen by destiny, our heroes quickly discover they are the only ones who can save the planet. But to do so, they will have to overcome their real-life issues and before it's too late, band together as the Power Rangers. The five new Power Rangers are played by Dacre Mongomery as the Red Power Ranger, Naomi Scott as Pink Power Ranger, Becky G as the Yellow Power Ranger, Ludi Lin as the Black Power Ranger and RJ Cyler as the Blue Power Ranger.
To transform Elizabeth Banks into the evil and cunning Rita Repulsa, she had to sit through a four hour makeup session. It literally took a team of people to work on her costume! The character evolves within this movie as well so the makeup gets more pronounced and complicated. It was really intense for the actress because at one point she had to endure a full body prosthetic from head to toe. The only thing that wasn't covered by full silicone is about 12 inches of her chest area and that's it. She also had a blast making the character as scary as possible, but not too much so that kids ( especially her own) wouldn't be too frightened.
Rita is an alien who is not from the "real" world, and that was something that Banks trying to instil into the character. "To make Super villains like that the least bit believable you have to think what is the worst thing that can happen in the real world,?" Banks expressed during a recent interview in Los Angeles. "Like if an asteroid came and knocked the Earth off its axis and suddenly we're in a nuclear winter. It's that level of thinking. She needs to embody people's fears about life, and a person's purpose in life. I feel that's how you make someone like Rita relatable."
The five young actors who play the new Power Rangers were quite excited about getting to work opposite someone like Elizabeth Banks. Becky G (who is also an accomplished singer) goes one on one with Banks in the movie and relayed to me in our recent interview that working with her was invaluable. "She really was amazing, Becky gushed. "Something that a lot of us got to take away working with her was just her presence on set. She would make us all feel so comfortable. There was never any diva status, it was very collaborative and very involved in the best way possible. She really did her research and made the best decisions for the character and treated all of us with respect. She was the boss lady, as we liked to call her on set."
I spoke with Elizabeth Banks in Los Angeles about playing the evil Rita Repulsa and I also caught up with the five new Power Rangers (Dacre Mongomery as the Red Power Ranger, Naomi Scott as Pink Power Ranger, Becky G as the Yellow Power Ranger, Ludi Lin as the Black Power Ranger and RJ Cyler as the Blue Power Ranger) about getting the chance to star in such an empowering franchise.
Power Rangers opens in theatres on March 24th
CLICK on the video below to watch all of the interviews. ( Power Rangers Playlist)