Steve Cardenas is best known for playing The Red Ranger in the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers and the Blue Zeo Ranger in Power Rangers Zeo. After becoming involved in martial arts when he was only twelve, Steve has been able enjoy a career combining his passion for both the martial arts and entertainment. Currently Steve and his fellow Power Rangers are working on a very cool and unique film called The Order. We caught up with Steve to talk about this special project, his experience as a Power Ranger and his plans for the new year.
MV: Welcome back to Movie Vine, Steve. To begin, would you mind sharing a little about your new film?
Steve: Sure thing. A bunch of Ex Power Rangers are collaborating on a film called The Order. It has nothing to do with Power Rangers though. It’s sort of like The Expendables and Divergent. We start production in February and we’re all very excited!
MV: Since every actor in The Order is a former Power Ranger who are you most excited to work with again?
Steve: Well I’m mostly looking forward to working with the cast members from different seasons. We all met each other doing cons and we’ve all grown very very close over the past few years. So it makes perfect sense to do this project together.
MV: After years of working together, and supporting each other, does The Order feel like it’s going to be a grown up version of summer camp?
Steve: Hahah. Yes. It truly does. But to be honest every weekend feels like that for us now doing these cons together.
MV: What can you tell us about your character Dax?
Steve: Dax is sort of the silent type who, although he carries a gun, would sooner rather kill you with his bare hands; an assassin and a bit of a sociopath, but a loyal soldier.
MV: After so much time spent playing the good guy was it refreshing to explore the darker side of a character?
Steve: Indeed. I’ve branched out a couple of times this year. I also play an “Umbrella Corp” type soldier in another movie set to come out next year called The Enuattii. It’s sort of like Predator. Another fun role for me.
MV: The Order had incredible success with its crowd funding campaign succeeding far beyond its original goal. Are there plans to expand The Order’s universe beyond this film?
Steve: Well, a lot of that will depend on the success of this film. Hopefully due to the fact that so many fans supported this they will follow through and actually see the movie either on Amazon or in the theatres. Depending on how it gets distributed.
MV: It has been 23 years since the Power Rangers became a global phenomenon. When you joined the show in its second season were you already aware of its impact?
Steve: Very aware. I used to teach kids karate and they would talk about the show every day in class. So one morning I decided to check the show out. As I’m watching the episode, I jokingly said “ah hell, I can do all the stuff these guys are doing!” Haha. Never dreaming that a year later I’d actually get the opportunity! Life is funny that way sometimes.
MV: Isn’t that the truth? I would imagine as an actor you quickly learned the value of discipline and preparation since, unlike normal network shows, Power Rangers aired nearly every day. What was your shooting schedule like?
Steve: It was pretty grueling. We never had normal hiatuses like most TV shows. So like a soap opera we shot year round. 12 hours a day 5-6 days a week. Pretty crazy. But back then since it was the only show I ever worked on I didn’t have anything to compare the work schedule to. So I just assumed that’s how all filming was.
MV: Power Rangers teaches kids the importance of teamwork, equality and empowerment. What did it teach you?
Steve: Well as a martial artist growing up and as an instructor (even to this day) I learned those values and passed them a long way before I ever got hired to do the show. But it was fun working on a show that mirrored my values.
MV: You spend a lot of time throughout the year traveling to various conventions meeting fans from all over the world. What are a few of your favorite moments from this year’s cons?
Steve: Ah. Paris! Amazing! I had never been and I made sure to stay there a few extra days before the con to soak up as much of that city as I could. Amsterdam was another fun place to be. I always try to stay a few extra days when I travel international to a city I’ve never seen. I feel so blessed to meet fans and get paid to go on “vacation” all over the world. Truly been an amazing experience so far. Thanks to all my fans worldwide for still showing up to see me.
MV: Not only are cons a great way to connect with fans, but you also have the opportunity to meet people whom you admire. Would you mind sharing your experience meeting a couple of the guys who got you started on your journey into martial arts and entertainment?
Steve: Absolutely. I got to meet Ralph Macchio a while back. And for me, that was hands down one of my favorite people to meet. His movie (The Karate Kid) was the entire reason I became obsessed with the arts. I was bullied as a kid and martial arts changed my whole life. I related to that movie so much and it’s still one of my favorite movies to this day. I’ve also got to meet pretty much the entire cast of the Cobra Kai! Billy Zabka and I see each other quite a bit at comic cons. Another fantastic human being.
MV: Where can fans find you in 2017?
Steve: Well the schedule is being put together now. If you follow my social media I’ll be posting that list up very soon.
MV: Have you made any resolutions for the new year?
Steve: Yes. Traveling has taken me away from teaching and training a lot in the past year and a half. So I’ve already started getting back on the mat; waking up every day at 5 am to train at 6 with my jiu jitsu training partners. And I’ve been trying to cut back on so much crappy food. Hahah. Traveling has made me lazy and fat. Lol.
MV: 5AM? Wow! Last question, as both the Red MMPR and the Blue Zeo Ranger you have been a superhero to generations of kids. Who were your superheroes growing up?
Steve: I loved all the Justice League characters. So mostly DC. And hands down Superman is my all-time favorite hero. But I just love a good story so Marvel does a great job of that too. I love them all!
MV: Thank you so much for hanging out with Movie Vine, Steve. We are looking forward to seeing you and your fellow Rangers in The Order.
Steve: Thank you guys. I enjoyed it!