Part way through the filming of the first season of Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers, producers Haim Saban and Shuki Levy found themselves in a quandary. The show was pulling in huge ratings and the merchandise was flying off the shelves to the point where they’d made over $1 billion in their first year, but three of its stars felt they were being underpaid for what they were doing. Austin St. John (The Red Ranger), Walter Jones (The Black Ranger) and Thuy Trang (The Yellow Ranger) felt their non-union contracts for several movies and forty more episodes were unfair, and as a result left the show to be replaced with stock footage and stunt doubles while their characters left to attend the World Peace Conference. “I could have worked the window at McDonalds and probably made the same money the first season,” St. John would later tell The Huffington Post. “It was disappointing, it was frustrating, it made a lot of us angry.”
The trio leaving was problematic for the show, but it also caused some issues surrounding the development of Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers: The Movie.
Among those looking to be cast in the TV series (and by proxy the movie) was Steve Cardenas who had heard about the auditions through a radio show. “[Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers] had already been on for a year, so I was familiar with the show,” he recalls. “I was a karate teacher, and I heard they were looking for people who could do karate so I decided to go down and try out for it. I never thought I’d get it ‘cause there was, like, 4,000 people at the audition.” He adds: “. I was not an actor and had no aspirations of being an actor. It was really on the job training. I had to get an acting coach. I was definitely out of my comfort zone in that respect, but the action side was easier for me. The acting side, not so much.”
Written for Flickering Myth. Read the full article here.