At the Huntsville Comic and Pop Culture Expo, Andrew and Kinsey had the opportunity to speak with actor and writer David Fielding! He is known for playing the character of Zordon in the the first season of the popular TV series Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. He is currently collaborating with many former Power Ranger actors on “The Order”, a film which he co-wrote with former Yellow Ranger, Karan Ashley. He is also an accomplished author and will be releasing a new novel this year entitled “Glims.” Check out our conversation below and let us know what you think! And as Zordon would say, “May the power protect you!”
Can you tell us how you started acting?
I was really into comic books when I was a kid. My father was in the Air Force and he brought home a ruined parachute from one of the jumps. I set that up as like a stage and I would act out the comic books for my parents. As I got a little bit older, I got a little bit more chicken and stopped doing that kind of thing. Once I got into high school, I got a little bit braver and thought “Well, I want to try this.” Once I stepped out on stage and started doing that, it just really took a hold and I figured out that that’s what I wanted to do. After high school I went to college, then I went to graduate school, and then I went out to Los Angeles.
What was the audition process like for Power Rangers?
It was very strange. If you talk to any of the other Rangers, they went through a number of weeks of where they would go through different partnerships and different levels of audition. But because the Zordon character was very unique in that he was just a head, they cast it very late in the process. My memory of it is that they cast me a week before their last week of shooting. They had already done some shooting out in the desert and at the bowling alley for the original pilot and then I was called in for an audition. I thought it was going to be a cattle call. It turned out it was just me and another guy. They ended up choosing me because of the voice I used. Then they shot us the next week and that was that.
What inspired Zordon’s voice?
Reading the lines and knowing that the character was a ten thousand year old wizard, who was trapped in a time warp, who was the mentor to these kids, I thought he should have a sorta father like presence. The thing that kept popping up in my head was the Greek god Zeus. I tried to keep the sorta vocal quality of someone who has a very deep timbre, somebody who is very commanding, but also very welcoming and warming to them. That’s pretty much how the character turned out.
Even though your face appears on screen throughout the show, you were only actually filmed for a few hours, right?
Yeah, they only filmed my character one time.
Did you ever get to visit the set?
Kinda. When they shot me it was on a green screen, in a warehouse, with just a bunch of hot lights and cameras. There was no Command Center or anything like that. I never got to visit the Command Center set. I was able to walk through the Angel Grove Juice Bar set at one point, but that was the only time I was ever on set.
Well that’s a bummer! Being that Power Rangers was so unique and nothing was quite like it at the time, were you surprised when it became such a huge success?
I was. Back then in ‘92 and ‘93, Comic Con’s weren’t really that big. The only conventions I had ever heard of were Star Trek conventions and I wasn’t involved with that. Knowing the show was a Saturday morning cartoon kinda, I figured it would be popular for a couple of years and like the shows that I used to watch, it would get replaced and people would forget about it. When I moved back to the East Coast, I sorta lost touch with it. I didn’t watch television, so I didn’t know what was happening with it. Then when Facebook came around, somebody reached out to me and said “Weren’t you the guy that played Zordon?” and I was like “Yeah, you know that show?” and they were like “Dude! Where have you been?” That’s when I had to do a lot of homework and a lot of catch up. I then realized how big this thing really was.
When you first started attending conventions, were you surprised that the show still had a huge adult fan base in addition to new generations of kids that continue to discover it?
On one level I am, but on another I’m not. The show promoted the ideas of inclusivity, teamwork, and positive messages, which is something I’m very proud of. The fact that it’s inspired generations of people to be better than they are and to take martial arts and to be helpful, I think that’s a really great thing.
Did you have any thoughts on a Bryan Cranston’s portrayal of Zordon in the 2017 movie?
When they announced that he was the one that got cast, I was like “That is so awesome!” because they were treating the character with some seriousness.
As they should!
And Bryan is such a great actor. I was also pumped because my odds of meeting him jumped up 50% [Laughs]. At some point there’s going to be a con where Zordon meets Zordon.
There has to be! I know that you and several of the actors have been collaborating on “The Order.” How did you and Karan [Ashley] first start creating this together?
Karan has been doing the convention scene a lot longer than me. She had met all these different Rangers from different seasons over the years and there was always talk about “When are we going to get together and do a project?” or “When is Saban gonna bring everybody back together for a reunion show?” Karan finally decided “Why are we waiting around for them to do something? Why don’t we just do something on our own?” She had some ideas, but she was having a little bit of trouble getting started with it. Austin [St. John] knew that I was a writer because he read some of my stuff and he said “Why don’t you talk to David about it?” So Karan and I emailed back and forth a couple times. Then we just started writing a script. Our working relationship was so good because it was like a game of ping pong. I would send her something, she would send something back and it all came together very quickly. Like within a month and a half, we had the first draft. We were really excited about it, but we were also very nervous about showing it to any of the other Rangers, because in the past they had been handed scripts and they’ve been handed projects that never came together for whatever reason. Either the money wasn’t there or the scripts were no good, so we were a little nervous. She called everybody together and said “This is the idea we have. You’re the people we want to work with. Take it home, read it, and tell us what you think.” Within eight to twelve hours everybody had come back and said “This is fantastic, count me in!”
Y’all released the graphic novel “The Order: Icarus Rising” recently. Can you talk about why you wanted to do a graphic novel and how it will tie into the film?
Karan called me because we had run into some roadblocks with the filming and we wanted to maintain the interest and the momentum with it. She said “Let’s do a graphic novel that tells the story leading up to the movie.” So again, we sat down and did our back and forth and we came up with the first volume for “Icarus Rising.”
What is the status on development of the film?
As far as I know, Karan wants to finish it filming it this year, so as soon as I know any more information, we’ll be posting it on social media. She did give me an orchestral track that somebody sent her because they wrote some music that was inspired by it and it was amazing.
At last year’s Power Morphicon, you had the chance to reprise the role of Zordon at the Shattered Grid Live Reading. I saw a video and it looked amazing. What was that experience like?
That was the highlight of my Power Rangers career: being able to have the chance to speak the character again and because Kyle [Higgins] was so savvy about making sure that my microphone had a special effect attached to it, which made it sound like the show. When I spoke for the first time the crowd reaction was just really electrifying. Being able to do that and then also to talk back and forth with Barbara Goodson playing Rita on stage for the first time in 25 years was a really special experience
Do you have any other upcoming projects that you would like to talk about?
Sure! I’m a writer and I have a novel coming out this year called Glims. It’s a paranormal urban fantasy novel and I’m very happy and proud about that. Of course we’re working on the Order and I have some other novel stuff in the works.
Here is a video from Huntsville Comic and Pop Culture Expo of David Fielding doing the Zordon voice!