In part 3 of 3 of my series of SuperFan ComicCon interviews posts, I sat down with the lovely Cerina Vincent who, before going on to do horror films and comedies, played Maya the Yellow Galaxy Ranger as her very first role. Cerina shares how she was asked return for Super Megaforce, why she could not come back, and thoughts on the upcomiong Power Rangers movie news. See what she said after the jump!
Can you introduce yourself to those who may not be familiar with you?
I’m Cerina Vincent and I’m an actor/actress, writer, producer. One of the first jobs I had in this business was Power Rangers and it began just like any other acting job with an audition and I got the series. We shot 45 episodes in 2 seasons Power Rangers Lost Galaxy and learned a lot. It was a really great time. Many years ago. 1999.
Were you familiar with Power Rangers back then? How did it feel when you got the part?
I was not so familiar with Power Rangers. When I got the job, I was like 19 so I had heard of it but if you think about it the years leading up to that, I was a 16 year old girl I was probably into more feminine things at time. Didn’t watch a lot of TV — I was out running around. Heard of it, but did not watch the show.
Were you aware of the magnitude of the Power Rangers franchise? If so, how did it feel knowing this?
When I was cast as apart of the show, I learned a lot and it was then how I realized how massive it was — that it was the #1 kids show in the world. So it was a really cool thing to be apart of. And that’s an interesting question… I didn’t realize how big it was before I got the part, but I also think it’s important as an actor whenever you’re auditioning for any part, you don’t worry about how big it is or how big it could be or how much money you’re going to make — you just have to be true to the character. I think it’s like a lot of people start off in this business and they want to just be famous. At that age, I was young and naive and new to the business and I really just wanted to work. I just wanted to act — didn’t have nay other motivation, didn’t want to be famous or money — just wanted to work. So my intentions were pure and I think it’s important for someone to always be. So I didn’t realize how big it was and it didn’t make it feel better or worse that it was the #1 kids show but it was fun to go to work everyday.
Lost Galaxy was adapted from the Japanese series “Seijyu Sentai Gingaman”. Have you seen any of it?
I only saw the footage of the Japanese version – only saw whatever ended up into our show. I didn’t see any of the other show.
How did you get the role for Power Rangers?
I got the role of Maya like any other audition for any other movie or TV show. You have a script to read, scenes to do and you go into the room and perform. Be true to the character and work off the character. And I went back quite a few times — they kept calling me back in and you know, it gets narrowed down and narrowed down… and I was the last woman standing at the time.
How much are you like your character Maya? Did you have any say in your character?
Good question. Um, I didn’t have any say in the character. It was written before I was even part of the show. So my character is Maya and she’s from the planet Mirinoi. How I feel like I am like her or how I was like her: Maya is a very intuitive, very compassionate and very sensitive. I definitely feel like I am those things: Very intuitive. Compassionate almost to a fault, as my therapist would say, I have an overdeveloped conscious — I’m just kidding, not really. So I feel a lot of parallels to her especially her sensitivity. When I look back and watch the show now, I think — because now many many years later — I’m a much different person and a much different actress doing more sophisticated work. If I were to play that role now — I don’t know if you would think that I did such a good job. There was something I had — like there was an innocence about me at the time that I brought into the character.
What some of your favorite memories from filming?
Really, the friendships I’ve made. We worked really hard. You know 12 or 14 to 16 hours a day. I was tired. It was hot, it was cold. There was a lot of rose-tinted memories but really, the most beautiful part of the whole thing was the friendships that you make and being a part of this bigger thing.
Do you have a favorite episode or scene that you really enjoyed filming?
I would say the first episode where I fall out of the portal and roll down the hill and that was my first day of work. First time meeting the rest of the cast. The cast had already known each other and I came in late, so it just seemed like an epic day. There was a lot of extras, a lot of military-looking people, it was cold and I had to roll down a big hill. It felt like a big movie.
Your character Maya didn’t wear very much… was that uncomfortable for you?
Yeah, it’s interesting. Now I wouldn’t be because as a woman, you grow and become more connected to your body. At 19, your body is still changing and I had to wear those little leather skirts and bra tops. I felt very exposed and so there were times I felt insecure and I think that my body is changing so an interesting thing to go through live through. Like now, I wouldn’t feel that way. I feel confident and secure. You end up becoming this family like college and the other guys would tease me but it was all fun and love. But the outfit was adorable for the character.
How does it feel to be known or recognized as a Power Ranger?
It feels great to be known and recognized… feels great to be for any role that you’ve done. I wouldn’t say I feel “great”. That’s not the word I would use but for any role that you do, being an actor there’s different levels of this business and how it makes you feel. One of the great things about it is you have the opportunity to move people — to make them laugh, make them cry — so that always feels good that people are appreciating the work that you’re putting in but that’s not just Power Rangers. It’s for any role, you hope that our performance is well accepted and enjoyed and if it isn’t we’re out of our jobs.
Are you surprised by the fanbase today?
I am surprised because at the time of the show, I didn’t realize how big it was and I’m still constantly amused by how many people still appreciate and love it. They come to these events to meet fans. There’s a lot of people out there still watching the show. I love it. It’s an honor to be apart of it.
Some of the Japanese series cast have been reuniting and doing movie specials 10 years later. This year mark’s the 15th anniversary of Lost Galaxy. If you were invited back to do a reunion special, would you return to Power Rangers?
Absolutely, I would return. They invited me back to do the reunion episode of the big…..
Yeah… and I said yes, but the show is non-union now and as an union actor, you can’t do non-union work without getting in trouble. So it would have cost me – I would have had to pay SAG (Screen Actors Guild) money in penalty in order to do the job. So I asked Power Rangers if they would cover those costs/fees and I would love to come back and do it… but they said no. So, I think everybody that went back to do it… they’d be okay with the union but I think some people who went back to do it aren’t necessarily working as an actor all the time now. It was different for everyone but that’s why they didn’t do it. But if they asked me again, I would say yes again and hope they would play by the union rules.
So Saban and Lionsgate recently announced a new Power Rangers movie…
What are your thoughts about this news?
I think it’s great! I think it’s fabulous. They’re doing so many remakes, different films from over all genres and I think there’s obviously still an audience for it. Fans still want to see it so I’m excited. I want to play a villain. You can be the first one to go on record telling the world that. I’ve done many movies with Lionsgate so I think they should make me a villain. A bad guy.
What style would you like to see?
That’s a really good question… I actually think that you should outlined it best. I think a dark, edgy sort of noir version of Power Rangers could be really cool.
I’m going to name a bunch of directors and you tell me ‘yay’ or ‘nay’ regarding them directing the new Power Rangers film…
Michael Bay? …nay.
J.J. Abrams? Yay.
Christopher Nolan? Yay.
Joss Whedon? Yay.
Paul W.S. Anderson? Yay.
Did you hear about the petition going around for Matt Austin (SPD Green Ranger) to direct the new Power Rangers film?
I don’t know him so I can’t say… but as an actor, I’m going to say ‘yes’ to every director because I want to work.
Do you most enjoy being a Power Ranger, scream queen, or doing comedy?
I can’t pick. It’s just impossible to pick because every job you learn something and it leads to the next job… but what I really enjoy most is comedy. The beautiful thing about being an actor is you get to do horror, do a kids show, do comedy, do romance, drama, and as an actor, you love it all. I love it all. I do think my strength is comedy though.
Do you have any projects coming up that you’d like to share or promote?
I do! I have a movie called “MoniKa” written and directed by Steven R. Monroe. That comes out this September 2014, so that I’m really excited about. An action-revenge-thriller so be on the look out for that. And I do have some TV too I have an episode of “Californication” that airs next week and you could follow me on Twitter @cerinavincent. I have a bunch of projects that I’m in and produce that are coming out so be on the lookout for that.
Well, it’s been great meeting and chatting with you. Thank you very much for your time!
You too, thank you! This was really nice… I had a lot of fun and great questions!