Comic Cons stole my life!
Power Ranger to Pop Culture Icon
Jason David Frank (JDF) was an undeniable presence at Big Apple Con (BAC) 2017. BAC certainly had their fair share of star power and I had the pleasure to interact with this fan favorite. Mr. Frank is best known for his roles in the Power Ranger universe, most specifically as Green Ranger Tommy Oliver. Recently though, he has been promoting his character Bloodshot for the soon to be released (Bat in the Sun Productions) Ninjak vs the Valiant Universe. It was at the Ninjak vs the Valiant Universe cast signing, during New York Comic Con 2016, where I first met Jason David Frank. I was fortunate to have our paths cross again at Big Apple.
There is no doubt in my mind why Jason David Frank is so well-loved. As I meandered about the convention floor, I heard numerous stories from fans about how Mr. Frank had inspired their lives. He was much more to them than a hero on the TV screen. Mr. Frank doesn’t just show up for his fans, he takes the time to connect with them, all of them. While the line to meet JDF was quite daunting at Big Apple Con, there were never any complaints from those patiently waiting. In fact, the excited crowd started a chant of “JDF, JDF, JDF” at which time Mr. Frank paused to record a video clip to share on his social media. He continuously works hard to show love and appreciation for his fans.
As I approached Mr. Frank’s autograph area in hopes of obtaining some photos, I was taken aback as he addressed me directly. He immediately welcomed me into his world and was more than happy to have me there observing the kindness and warmth he shares. It was awesome to see such light and positivity emanating from a single individual. There is no way anyone could walk away from speaking with Jason David Frank and not feel better about themselves.
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As I wrapped things up, I reached out to thank Mr. Frank for allowing me to be there and to wish him well. To my surprise and pleasure, he offered to spend a few moments with me for an interview. I was overjoyed and immediately accepted the invite. We were able to chat the following day after his enlightening Q&A panel. If you ever have an opportunity to hear Jason David Frank speak in person, just go.
Jason David Frank’s Comic Connection
During his panel, JDF not only spoke about his beloved Power Ranger characters and acting in general, he also spoke about his life. What impressed me the most about Mr. Frank was his humbleness, something he indicated is tough to do in Hollywood. He expressed how important it is to stay connected with those that love you and with yourself. It is clear that he recognizes how fortunate he is in life and yet focuses on remaining grounded. At one point, to the amusement of the audience, he stated “I put my spandex on one leg at time.”
Some other tidbits Jason David Frank shared during his panel were regarding his personal connection to the comic book realm. Growing up, JDF was a big fan of Marvel and his favorite character was Logan (Wolverine). In fact, at 18 yrs old, he sold his extensive Marvel collection for $11,000 to open his own school, Rising Sun Karate. His dismay at parting with the collection was apparent, though he is clearly happy with how his life turned out. Now he can secure all the comics he desires. 🙂
Keeping It Real
As I continued listening to Mr. Frank address the audience, I found myself most impressed with him as an individual. It was refreshing to hear his thoughts on money as it relates to the show business industry. JDF’s fan base is ultimately the chief factor in determining his course of action and he finds it offensive to be offered money to do something that is not in line with his beliefs. He feels that when money is offered to do a ‘shout-out’, it is deemed meaningless; there is no truth behind it. Mr. Frank’s high moral standards are forefront when making decisions regarding his career.
Hanging With A Hero
As JDF’s panel was coming to a close, he gathered everyone together for a big group photo. It was then Mr. Frank kindly took time to sit and chat with me for a few moments…
Linda: You are such an eloquent speaker. Very Inspiring.
JDF: Thank you. I really appreciate it. I probably don’t have the best grammar when I write and stuff but… I try, I do the best I can.
Linda: How did you get into acting? You talk about martial arts. How did that all come together?
JDF: I just ya know, being a little kid acting up the whole time, my mom said I should be an actor. I did some modeling when I was 12 for some TV magazines, and I can’t find those issues but I just liked it. I loved acting, I got into it, I was very passionate about it and honestly like Power Rangers was one of the first auditions that I did. I didn’t go and go and go and try and I’ve done auditions afterwards but yeah when I got Power Rangers at that age  it was like one of the first things and it just, I landed the role.
Linda: Did you see yourself ever doing any other type of character?
JDF: I’m writing a movie now called Black Dragon. It’s about a coach that’s dealing with a lot of issues like alcoholism and stuff like that and he’s working with a kid that has autism. So it’s a really good acting movie but it’s funny because I like acting but if I would prefer to do movies I would rather do drama and stuff. I’ve done action my whole life so I think drama would be great.
Linda: Where did the martial arts come in?
JDF: When I was 4 years old just walking by a karate school and thinking that was something I wanted to do.
Linda: Do you do a lot of your own stunts? Do people try to prevent you from doing the stunts?
JDF: Yes. Yeah sure [they try to prevent him]. Power Rangers tried to prevent me from doing it but as far as Bloodshot they don’t want a stunt double. It’s too hard to get a guy to get into to character to do a stunt double.
Linda: I’d like to talk a little bit about Bloodshot since you brought it up. How did that come about? How did they approach you?
JDF: Aaron [Schoenke] with Bat in the Sun, I did quite a few shows with him with Bat in the Sun, and he’s the director of it and he told Valiant hey man this would be a good guy… and I had to kind of go through the hoops a little bit with Valiant. Dinesh [Shamdasani] was like he didn’t know in the beginning and he was happy he cast me afterwards but, it was Aaron [that] introduced me and I just didn’t want Aaron just doing a favor for me unless I fit the role and I just fit the role. I saw it, I was like this is perfect.
Linda: Did you have to do anything specific to prepare for it? Bloodshot is a little bit darker in comparison to the Power Rangers.
JDF: My mom was passing away at the time. That character I wouldn’t say is emotionless, he has emotion but it was just like that type of fight and fire in his eyes during that time. Also, I had to gain weight for it. I was about 210, I’m about 195 now so I put on about 15 lbs for it. Because I thought it was just gonna be over ya know so… but now I’m written in the show. I told Aaron and the guys I’ll be about 195 – 200, that’s it, that’s all I got. [With] the trainer at New York Comic Con, the Bloodshot trainer, I was about 190. So I looked fine. We haven’t seen the other stuff with me looking 210, the only difference was, I had to wear a bigger shirt. I couldn’t fit into my wardrobe so I had to get a bigger shirt.
Linda: Can you tell me what’s in the pipeline, anything upcoming?
JDF: Yeah, ya know everything in Hollywood is like non-disclosure but I tell ya we got a lot of good stuff coming out… for my fans, for Valiant fans. It’s gonna be a lot of good stuff.
Linda: I’m excited for the Valiant stuff.
JDF: Yeah, me too. I really am too. It’s gonna be good.
Linda: Thank You!
I can’t thank Jason David Frank enough for taking the time to speak with me. The chance to sit with him was completely unexpected and thoroughly enjoyed. I wish him well with all his future endeavors and look forward to seeing him on the screen and at future conventions. Any fan of Jason David Frank is a fortunate fan indeed! Follow him on social media… Facebook: @jasondfrank, YouTube: jdfffn, Instagram: @jdfffn, and Twitter: @jdfffn.
Keeping You Comic Con-nected!