Jason David Frank (JDF), best known for his role as Green Ranger, Tommy Oliver in The Power Ranger Universe, continues to delight fans across the world. Jason is well known on the Comic-Con scene and can always be found surrounded by hundreds of fans waiting to meet their childhood hero. New York Comic Con (NYCC) 2017 was no different.
Exactly one year ago I was covering the trailer release for Ninjak vs the Valiant Universe during NYCC 2016, that is when I first saw Jason in action with his fans. In fact, the entire Ninjak cast was on hand at the Valiant Comics booth to sign autographs and take photos. Jason plays a complex character called Bloodshot within the Valiant realm, one that has been rapidly growing in popularity over the past year.
Bloodshot is a former soldier with powers of regeneration, technomancy and meta-morphing made possible through anaites injected into his blood. After escaping from his masters at Project Rising Spirit, Bloodshot seeks to discover his true identity and other purpose besides killing. – Source: Comic Vine
Much love is being shown for Bat in the Sun Production’s, Ninjak vs the Valiant Universe. It’s been exciting to follow along with the journey of hard work and dedication being put forth by its stellar cast. While I touched base with Jason at a couple events earlier this year, I was even more thrilled that he made time in his busy schedule to sit down and chat with Fan Fest News during NYCC last weekend. From superhero to social media, Jason graciously gives us an inside look at his life, his passions and his future.
Linda: So how are you enjoying the convention so far? I first met you at Big Apple Con and I saw you briefly at Awesome Con. How has the year been going?
JDF: It’s been one big gigantic blur. I just remember here in New York a year ago showing that Ninjak vs the Valiant Universe and all the sudden one year later… for me it’s just the days kinda blend together. Just coming here it was great and sometimes I see people and I’m like, Didn’t I just see you last weekend? It feels like that but actually, it’s not. It’s been great, fans are excited. New York’s a big show and Toy Tokyo’s [booth where Jason was signing autographs] a great place to be. I’ve been on the main events before but I will sign for 9 to 10 hours straight.
Linda: You are surrounded by people! I love that. I saw you playing video games yesterday amidst a crowd of people. How exciting is that? How are they reacting to your transition from Power Ranger to Bloodshot? Are you gaining new fans?
JDF: I think I’m converting the new fans and gaining fans. Valiant is still really relatively unknown [but] they’ve been around for a long time. I’ve been getting the hardcore Valiant fans which is great [and] they accept me as Bloodshot which is wonderful. So, I would imagine that I am creating new fans maybe that weren’t into Power Rangers that saw Bloodshot or maybe reading comic books. I think I’m converting and creating new fans. But it’s Comic-Con, that’s perfect, it’s right up my alley, it’s exactly what it is. You got Power Rangers now that are doing the Boom Comics and the crossover with DC and now with Valiant and being a Valiant superhero character. Derek Theler who plays X-O Manowar, he’s on a new Marvel show [New Warriors]. So he’s got a lot of stuff going on so it’s just good to be with a great, great cast of people.
Linda: Let’s talk about Bloodshot, I heard filming was complete. How was that experience?
JDF: Amazing. It’s one of those things where we worked on the project for like a year and a half on and off just because of everyone’s schedule and getting the cast together and then Aaron [Schoenke] with Bat in the Sun. It was a fun, long project even though the days were just like any other movie day [or] series day it was just stretched out over a long period of time. We all got a lot of work into it, a lot of promotions into it. I have not seen the final cut, I have seen other things that people haven’t seen, it’s just amazing. Like Derek’s character, X-O Manowar… on the cliff and the music and just his character alone and his acting. Me and him have scenes together that are just not a lot of words but there is a lot of emotion going on and so he’s just this terrific actor. [I] got a chance to work with him, Ciera [Foster], a few other characters in a church that we shot in Los Angeles. It was just a great experience and I love how things are starting to escalate. The show looks so good. Other people and movie people and other industries are looking at it so it’s got a good buzz. So, when it’s let out, it’s not gonna disappoint. That’s the good thing.
Linda: Even people that aren’t familiar with Valiant see the trailer and are really impressed.
JDF: It’s superheroes, it’s action, it’s got good stuff. I’m bringing all my fan base, Derek has a huge fan base. Derek’s the strongest on social media.
Linda: Over you?!
JDF: Yeah, yeah. I have a pretty strong social media following but Derek’s got the numbers. He’s pretty active, he’s on live, he comments to me. So I see him do exactly what I do and I admire the guy because he works hard and he’s humble and he’s young and he’s gonna become the next biggest movie star there is because he’s got a lot of things going on. See people wanna be involved with someone that’s going places. Bat in the Sun and Valiant and all the actors are going places and I think people wanna take that journey with us regardless if it’s gonna continue into Bloodshot or if it’s gonna continue into another series or movie or whatever. People are gonna wanna take that journey, and the first step that I can take them is the first journey into the Valiant world. I think it’s a cool first step to take them. They [Valiant] can have ten different Bloodshots, but I was the original. That’s what I love about it. I’m also doing a character we’re releasing in November, the Transformers Titans Return with the whole Transformer cast voice actors. We’re gonna release that with Warner Brothers in November. So, I landed the role as Emissary thanks to Aaron.
Linda: That’s very cool. I was going to ask what you had coming up.
JDF: It’s the first time Emissary’s been played anywhere in The Transformers Universe. Aaron got me with that, my social media, my presence. The character that he is [Emissary], he’s kinda like Ant-Man, that’s how small this character is with a lot of power and he’s like a small Chihuahua barking at a big dog basically and it’s working. So I got that coming out. We just added a season 4 of My Morphin Life. So that’s gonna be coming out. The reality series has been kinda just for fun but season 1, then 2, and 3 got released on CONtv and now we’re going back to season 2 on Bat in the Sun. So, it’s a little sporadic. My mom passed away last year so she’s in some of the episodes here then she’s not in some of the episodes but, the hardcore fans can follow. Even if they’re not a fan, you can watch one episode and be like, oh that’s cool. So, I got that going on. A pretty big thing next year, I’m still under NDA (non-disclosure agreement), but when that comes out next year my fan base alone is just gonna be over the moon on the next project I’m doing. I’m pretty happy I got three universes… The Power Rangers Universe, The Valiant Universe, and then The Transformer Universe. So those are great universes, especially at comic cons.
Linda: You’re a busy guy! Also, you say Derek is over you on social media but you’re on social media a lot, AND doing all these things. I can’t keep up with all that. (laughing)
JDF: I’m definitely busier than Derek on the comic con circuit where I’m flying around the world, but Derek’s got a great following of a lot of younger girls because of his TV show that he did [Baby Daddy]. He’ll go live and he’ll have a ton of people. So he’s great at that. I’m definitely busy but Derek keeps up with his Instagram as well. That’s a big thing I think in any industry [especially] like Comic-Con. For example, I moved my signing up a little bit and people are probably already there because they follow me on Instagram and they’re like, thank God, thank you because I would be lost at New York Comic Con if it wasn’t for you. I knew the booth number, I knew where you’re at.
Linda: I actually screenshot your schedule that you posted so I knew where to find you.
JDF: I have a pretty rigid schedule. When I promise media, I’m doing media. When I promise my fans, I’m doing my fans.
Linda: I am so appreciative.
JDF: I am too! Without you guys, I wouldn’t be able to reach out to so many fans. You know, I’ve done a lot of interviews at this con which is great and I was happy to do this one with you. I’ve known you for a while now so…
Linda: Yes, since Big Apple Con [March 2017]. I now write for the rapidly growing pop culture website, Fan Fest News.
JDF: Good, good, that’s good. See everyone’s going up. And the good thing is when you’re kind and sincere to someone because you are, doesn’t matter if this comes out or if it doesn’t, when you’re kind and sincere to someone, it all comes back.
Linda: I believe that.
JDF: Two of these director friends of mine, they’re doing a film and they did a thing with Bruce Campbell [Evil Dead]. The Meza Brothers, they met me and are big fans. They have a really cool script they want me to read for Sundance film and for Cannes and they wanna use me as their main celebrity. There’s a bunch of celebrities in this movie, it’s a big acting thing. Those brothers, they got like five movie picture deals they got TV shows, they blew up but they grew up watching me. One thing they love about [me] is the passion and energy. It’s sincere passion. I told them, making films for me, the purpose for me is passion. Without passion, there’s no purpose.
Linda: You exude that! You look like you’re having fun with people. You’re genuine, that’s what I love about you. That’s why when I had the opportunity to talk to you, I was like yeah, anytime!
JDF: And then we’ll just continue growing up together. If we’re in the same places, even if we’re not. Like I tell directors or actors, hey… when we’re friends, we’re friends. It doesn’t matter if you’re in a low place, a medium place or a high place, we’re all gonna be the same. If you’re sincere and you give, you’re not looking to get back. But when you’re looking to get back like, hey I did this interview and I only got X amount, your intentions are wrong. So many things I do and I just forget about and the next thing you know I got Aaron [saying], Hey you wanna do this? You wanna do that? And it’s not favors that I’m cashing in because I don’t expect anything. So when you get it, you’re like, Wow, that’s amazing! You can’t buy your friend dinner and then expect [something in return], you’ll probably be let down. But you just do what you can. You know you have a good friend when they’re like, I got you. No, no, no, no, no I don’t expect that. I buy friends dinner [without expectations] and when you get something back, it’s a surprise. But, if you don’t expect it, you won’t be let down.
Linda: I love everything you’re saying. It’s so absolutely true. I remember being asked to cover a wedding during Big Apple Con and then I turn around and you’re there.
JDF: Which is crazy right? Sometimes people meet for reasons. When you click, you click. That’s why in this industry people think you have to know someone to get in. Yeah, I understand that. But if you’re a genuine, true, passionate person you DO know the people that wanna work with you. That’s the reason why you do get in. You know you can’t be a jerk and just think someone’s gonna let you in, it’s not gonna work that way.
Linda: You are just so nice and easy to talk to and great with the fans. Speaking of which, I do know you have to get back to them but I just wanted to ask one more question regarding Bloodshot. What was the biggest challenge in playing that character?
JDF: The makeup was definitely challenging. That took a while to get off at night. The fighting was easy, the acting was fun. But, when I first started filming I had a lot going on in my head. My mom was sick, so much stress going on, my dad was calling in the middle of the set. That kind of drove me to be that character. My mom was like, just use it. Bloodshot’s kind of like lost, he doesn’t know who he is, his mood swings, he’s got people talking to him, ladies. The reason why he’s got them repairing his body is that he relates to women and children better. He doesn’t relate to men so that’s why he’s programmed with those characters in his head. So there’s a lot of stuff going on from a psychological side with Bloodshot that sometimes you know, no words. Like with Derek or someone, Aaron’s like dang, there’s a lot going on in that scene [and] I had no lines. Josh and Dinesh were like, man there’s a lot going on in your head. There WAS a lot going on in my head and it comes through my eyes. You’ll see later on in the series the little things that just, I use that kinda stuff for acting even though it was not a lot of lines. Mel Gibson into Braveheart, you don’t need lines. And that’s why the short film I’m doing with the [Meza] Brothers, not a lot of lines but there’s a lot of emotion. These brothers wanna peel off these layers of me to be this actor I can be. And they believe in my skills as an actor, not a martial artist, this is an acting thing. I’m very excited about it; that they believe in me like that. But they [Meza Brothers] grew up watching me and one thing they do is love my passion. I don’t ask, how much money am I getting paid? That’s nothing. These shows? I’ll do these shows for free. People come to my table, I wanna be able to do whatever I wanna do. No promoter pays for me, that’s why I can’t get bought out by a company, I can’t be bought off. When I do something it’s because I’m passionate about it. I’m passionate about Bloodshot. We’re moving forward with the show [Ninjak vs the Valiant Universe] and I can’t wait until everyone can see it. I can’t wait just to watch the whole show. You know Bloodshot was only in like one episode from day one, just like Tommy was only in five episodes, just like Emissary was only in a few episodes. I love characters like that, I think they become more exclusive. [Bloodshot] just in one episode and ended up becoming more and more and more.
Linda: That says something about you though!
JDF: Yeah! Bloodshot becomes this popular character. People wanna do every different Universe with Bloodshot which is great. I’m just happy to be part of that.
We also briefly spoke with Jason about an incident five months ago, where he was the target of an attempt on his life during Phoenix Comic Con. He says similar events should take heed.
“It should be a lesson learned for conventions that still have not learned a lesson. It wasn’t big enough to shake up the comic con world. It was very disappointing because my life was threatened. You know what I mean.”
Frank feels a responsibility to be somewhat of an ambassador for event security, as the ideas seem to fade away after a time.
“I think people forget. Five days of social media then it’s done. And that’s the sad part and now I gotta live with it my whole life. Not only do I gotta live with it my whole life, my wife has to worry about this guy being in jail his whole life.”
He says that we can help by not forgetting.
Thank you so much to Jason David Frank for taking time from his incredibly busy schedule to speak with Fan Fest News. Be sure to check him out as Bloodshot out in Ninjak vs the Valiant Universe coming soon as well as in the many other exciting projects he has lined up. Follow Jason on social media to keep up with all his latest news and appearances… Facebook: @jasondfrank Instagram: @jdfffn Twitter: @jdfffn YouTube: JDFFFN
Full-time fangirl and part-time manager. A comic-con junkie with a passion for writing and great artwork. Catch me… if you can!