Understanding the responsibility for the POWER RANGERS’ enduring legacy, while simultaneously embracing a complex role that fans across the globe are watching each week, Colby Strong has enthusiastically risen to the challenge. Colby not only values the opportunity given him, he relishes it. Being a Power Ranger is not just another role, it is a destiny that a select few get the chance to portray. Colby’s tenacity and unique perspective earned him the role of Blaze in POWER RANGERS BEAST MORPHERS. He knows it is a gift and he treats it with the respect and deference it warrants. In an exclusive interview, Colby talks about the amazing events that led to being cast as Blaze and how it challenges him and rewards him every day.
What was the initial appeal for you about portraying Blaze and working on POWER RANGERS BEAST MORPHERS?
COLBY: Initially, I auditioned for a Power Ranger, not for Blaze. Actually, my very first audition for the series was for the role of Ben, the comedic relief character, but right off from reading the sides, I knew that the role wasn’t in my type cast. So, I asked to read for a Ranger and casting let me — thank you, Iris Hampton and Adam Weisman. After 2 months of stunt training for the producer callback and screen test, I was auditioning for both the Red and Blue Ranger. The appeal to be a part of this show was that it’s one of the most legendary franchises in the business, as well as the fact that I grew up watching the show and playing with the toys. What an aspiration it is to be a part of the legacy. After calls started going out, I received a call from my manager and she said, “No…but…” and that was when she told me that the producers wanted me to read for the lead villain of the series. After reading the sides for Blaze and hearing more and more about his involvement in the show, I was sold. Blaze is obviously the coolest character in the show, but I might be a little bias.
How would you describe who your character Blaze is in the series?
COLBY: In simple terms, Blaze is the antagonist of the series. He is the one having fun screwing with the Rangers and their plans to protect the city. A little hot headed at times and a little mischievous, Blaze and his counterpart Roxy find different routes to take over the morphing grid and gain ultimate power to take over the world. Unfortunately, Blaze hasn’t succeeded yet, but who knows, maybe something crazy will happen in the upcoming episodes!
What do you most admire about Blaze?
COLBY: I would say the thing I most admire about Blaze is his confidence and his ambition. There’s something about a person that has enough confidence to take on any challenge and never be afraid of the result. Even being defeated once or even a couple of times would never convince Blaze that he has lost because he knows in the long run, he will be the winner. Maybe not every task gets accomplished the way he wants but no matter the result, he won’t stop. That is both admirable and terrifying.
What is it like working alongside such a fun ensemble on POWER RANGERS BEAST MORPHERS?
COLBY: I don’t know if I can put into words how much love I feel for this cast. Our relationship is intangible and indescribable. Our connection is something that you don’t get all of the time with casts and I believe one factor is because of our circumstances. I don’t think there is another show like this in the business. I don’t think there’s another production company that casts a group of young people and sends them off to some foreign country to film for 9 months straight for 2 consecutive seasons. You grow close and fast. Luckily, we all get along and love each other because I honestly think our dynamic would make or break the show.
How would you describe the dynamic between Blaze and his fellow Rangers?
COLBY: I would definitely say that Blaze is the Type A of the group. Whether we are talking Hero Blaze or Villain Blaze, he would be the one to be focused on the task and ready to be deemed the best. His dynamic with Devon, specifically, is focused on being the best as he has been replaced by someone who he doesn’t think is fit for the role. My favorite choice I’ve made with Blaze is, no matter if it’s Devon, Zoey, Roxy or Evox, he would step on anyone to get what he wants. He knows who he needs in his circle to get his work done quickly and efficiently, but would throw them to the curb if he doesn’t need their help anymore. He wants power and he doesn’t care who he has to eliminate to get it.
With your character Blaze being in a coma and an evil avatar takes his place, what are the challenges for you in portraying two sides of the same character?
COLBY: Doing the initial character work for Blaze was definitely one of the biggest challenges for me. There was a nice foundation of what the writers and producers created, but there were a lot of blanks that needed to be filled in and the only one that could do it was me. I had two scenes of Good Blaze to build an entire bedrock for the rest of series and with only a week of prep, decisions needed to be made fast. After playing around, I decided that after Blaze goes viral, he still contained all of his personal characteristics: Ambitious, Competitive, Strong, Confident, Impulsive, Calculative, but just heightened. I also decided that the thing that makes a villain so scary is unpredictability. With that being said, I wanted Blaze to be able to transition from being cheeky to furious in a matter of seconds. That is the definition of scary because you have no idea what he is going to do next.
Is there any special training that you had to do in order to portray a Ranger on the show?
COLBY: Oh boy, was there. Everyone who made it to the second round of auditioning was notified of a 30-second stunt routine that was required as well as the drama portion. We were given the name of an elite stunt gym that trains professionals in the industry and were advised to train for the routine. I had never done any sort of stunts/Taekwondo before, so I definitely knew it was something that I needed to take classes on. I trained for 2 months total, clearing the producer’s session and then moving onto the screen test. Classes were 2-3 times a week, as well as training every single day on my own for 2 months. It took everything I had, but if I would have given any less, I know I wouldn’t have been cast. I had to compete with world class stuntmen for this role, and I couldn’t be more grateful for the producers and casting for believing I could do it. It has been officially over a year since this entire process started and I know that the Colby a year ago would be shocked with what I can do now.
Is there any physical training that you wish you had before joining the show?
COLBY: Of course, you can always be better prepared. The amount of stress that I put on myself to even compete with my competitors was probably too much at the time, but I got cast so it was worth it. I knew I was nailing the acting portion, that is my bread and butter, but I knew that being so unprepared for the stunts could have taken the role from me. The exciting thing is that I love stunt work, and I want to continue to do it. After picture wrap, I am getting right back into the stunt gym and continuing to work on this new found craft of mine so I can be as prepared as possible for the next audition.
What has surprised you about the show so far?
COLBY: How hard stunt work is. I am floored watching action movies now. I had no idea the energy and the precision that it takes. Shout out to Alpha Stunt Team, they are the people that make us look so bad ass. Yes, we do some of our own stunts, but they are always doing the crazy stuff, and it rarely takes more than one take for them. Seriously, there needs to be a stunt category at the Oscars.
What has been the best part about the experience of working on POWER RANGERS BEAST MORPHERS?
COLBY: (1) Being a part of one of the most legendary franchises in the entertainment industry. It’s overwhelming knowing how big the fan base is and having everyone put you under a microscope and watch you carry this new generation of rangers on your shoulders. It’s a lot, but I wouldn’t want it any other way. This is a new era of Power Rangers now that Hasbro has taken over and I am so honored to be a part of this renaissance. I am hoping that we are satisfying the loyal fans as well as reaching a new generation of kids and hopefully inspiring them like I was inspired 20 years ago. And (2) Having an action figure. My childhood self is screaming right now…who am I kidding, I’m screaming too. Ahhhhhh!
What is the fun part of portraying a Ranger?
COLBY: I think being a part of the legacy. I remember going to the very first meeting we had as a cast and we met with one of the marketing women from Hasbro/PR and she shared some wild statistic (don’t quote me, I can’t remember the exact number) that roughly 98% of people in the world would know what Power Rangers was, if you asked them. I can’t even begin to comprehend how many people that is, and I AM ON THAT SHOW. I am floored to be a part of something that has drastically changed kids’ lives over the last 26 years, including me. I’m still pinching myself.
What do you think viewers will appreciate about the show as they get into it?
COLBY: I just hope the viewers will appreciate all of the cast and crew’s hard work. Everyone in the cast and crew has put their heart and soul into this show and I hope that it shows. I would also hope the viewers appreciate my legs in those spandex pants because I worked hard for those legs. That’s all.
You also made a guest appearance in the YouTube series YOUTH & CONSEQUENCES. Tell us about that.
COLBY: I did! I think we filmed my episode the week before I packed my bags and moved to Los Angeles back in 2017. Not to mention, the most exciting thing about being a part of this show is that WE ARE NOMINATED FOR AN EMMY! I can’t even believe it. We didn’t get renewed for a season 2 but I am hoping that due to our nomination we will be able to revive it. Maybe then you will see “Teen Boy” receive a name and maybe more than a couple lines of dialogue. Haha! YOUTH & CONSEQUENCES came through Utah and did a lot of casting there and I just remember auditioning for every single male role: Ilo, Hook, Dipanker, Tripp, and Will. The casting director was pushing so hard for me to get something and finally I ended up with a role, Teen Boy. Only sharing this because people usually only talk about their wins and not their losses. It’s a nice change to hear what the actor didn’t get and how they recovered. Everything happens for a reason and this time, I was meant to tell Teen Boy’s story.
Then at this stage of your career, what do you think you have learned from the roles and projects you have worked on?
COLBY: Obviously, after working on project after project there are endless things that one learns and folds in for the next job. Whether it’s nailing/hitting your mark or learning how to become vulnerable on camera when 80 crew members are standing there staring at you, one thing that stands out for me is my professionalism. I couldn’t be more proud of myself for learning how to be a professional businessman, in this industry, so early on in my twenties. I have learned that by running my acting career with the mindset of a businessman and not as “just an actor”, sets me aside from many others. I am significantly making strides while simultaneously creating a foundation that I will always be able to go back to for balance. This is all in large part to working, working, and more working. I put the work in, learn from my mistakes, and set my goals and the rest just falls into place.
What has surprised you most about your career so far?
COLBY: I think I’m just surprised that I’m doing this thing that people tried to convince me is unattainable. I always used to hear “Good luck on the dream”, especially when I moved to L.A. and I used to always think to myself, “It’s not a dream, it’s just a goal. Like any other…” I think by labeling an ambitious goal as a “dream”, it all of a sudden gets put into some unreachable space that we convince ourselves is insurmountable. Is something a dream because it’s unattainable unless you put in consistent hard work? I am surprised and utterly grateful to be right where I am in my career, but at the same time I’m not surprised because I worked hard and efficiently for it. I challenge everyone reading this to go chase that ambitious goal of yours, it just takes efficient hard work and consistency.
What are the perks of where you are in your career right now?
COLBY: Something that is so nice is finally being able to get momentum without me doing all of the pushing. The other day, my manager called me and said that a casting director wanted to know if I was available to shoot for a film and if I could go directly to a director’s session. I had never auditioned for this casting director before, nor had I heard of the film before. At that moment, I realized that there’s some talk going around about me and I’m not the one trying to get it started. My hard work is finally paying off and, hopefully, one day I will be at the point where people will be calling me to be in their film, not the other way around. Now don’t get me wrong, I love the grind, but direct to casting would be nice every once in a while.
What has been your proudest achievement as a working actor at this point in your career?
COLBY: I don’t know if I have a proudest achievement per se. Obviously, Power Rangers is a very exciting accomplishment, but I would like to think I’ve had a million tiny victories and all of them make up my career, which I could consider my proudest achievement. I am living my dream job and I couldn’t be prouder of something else. I will say though, having my own action figure is definitely a close second.
What advice would you offer to other upcoming and aspiring actors?
1. Be the hardest working person you know. There’s no goal too big when you are grinding every day towards it. This career is definitely a marathon, not a sprint… actually, more like a triathlon.
2. Take Intro to Business, Marketing and Entrepreneurship classes on top of acting. Triple threat means something completely different in this business.
3. Another thing that has really helped me is learning to become hyper self-aware. Watch yourself on tapes, ask a respected professional in the business what you can do better. Know and hone your type cast, but then learn how to push your boundaries. You’re not stuck in your typecast forever, but it’s a nice way to book those beginning roles and break into the business.
Do you have any other upcoming projects that you can share that fans should keep an eye out for?
COLBY: There are some things in the preliminary stage but, unfortunately, I can’t say anything yet. Until then, keep following Blaze! Some exciting things are coming!
POWER RANGERS BEAST MORPHERS currently airs Saturday mornings at 8:00 a.m. on Nickelodeon.
POWER RANGERS BEAST MORPHERS – Blaze Morph:
POWER RANGERS BEAST MORPHERS -Blaze and Roxy in Cyber Dimension: