Hector David Jr. of Winter Springs takes his role in “Power Rangers Samurai” very seriously. The Green Ranger has become a way of life for him.
“I just knew this was my part,” David says. “I grew up as a dancer, in martial arts, musical theater, stage performance and improv. I knew this was my juice. I was so eager.”
Viewers can see the results when David starts his second season as Mike, the Green Ranger, at noon Saturday on Nicktoons. The title has been enhanced to “Power Rangers Super Samurai,” but it’s basically the same franchise.
David was known as Hector David Rivera Jr. at Winter Springs High School. He dropped Rivera when he moved to California in 2009. ”I was getting older and wanted something for myself. I wanted to refresh myself,” he says.
The actor, who is 22, adopted a process to try to land the Green Ranger role. “Everything became green for me before the first audition, from my shoes to my underwear,” he says. “I auditioned five times. On the fourth audition, they switched me to the Gold Ranger.”
Kermit the frog taught us that it’s not easy being green. But David says it was easier being green than gold. He didn’t memorize his lines for the Gold Ranger, which turned out to be a good move.
“I did a crappy job,” David said. “I told the producer I auditioned as the Green Ranger. I told him how everything had become green. He took the script away, and I read for the Green Ranger. I read exceptionally well. I just remembered the lines.”
David has shot 66 episodes in New Zealand. “It’s my favorite place in the world,” David says. “I want to own property there. The film industry there is really passionate.”
The fast-talking actor cites his biggest challenge as adapting to the samurai lifestyle.
“I’m a rebel on the show,” he says. “The big thing for me was being more stoic, not so high-strung and energetic. I had to adapt to living like a samurai. They took me and the six cast members to New Zealand. That was hard, being away from family, doing this new job, working with new cast members. We were supposed to be there eight to nine months. I was there a year.”
David says he share qualities with the Green Ranger, such as being very independent.
“We don’t like being told what to do,” he said. “We’re both very ADD [attention deficit disorder]. Mike makes a joke out of everything. He’s a goofball, he can’t sit still, he’s trying to make people laugh. My mind’s always racing. I’m always jotting down ideas. I have Post-it notes all over the house.”
David estimated that he does nearly 70 percent of his own stunts and says he can’t do them all because of insurance purposes.
“I trained in martial arts,” he says. “I have to learn to be more disciplined in my life and on the show. You see that through the second season, how Mike grows, how seriously he takes his training.”
A background in dance comes in handy in executing the stunts. “Sometimes we’re taught a fight scene in an hour, then we film,” David says. “Dancing has put my mind at ease and helped me pick up choreography quickly.”
He is contracted with show through November and says there is talk of a motion picture. He hints at more work in television. “Watch out for Nickelodeon for sure. I’m not going to cheat on my TV network and go Disney,” he says.
David hopes to do independent films to show his abilities beyond “Power Rangers,” but remains passionate about the Green Ranger.
“The fact I play a child superhero is more than a childhood dream for me,” David says. “I have my own action figure with my face on it. I think there are 16 variations of the Green Ranger.”
But only the Hector David version talks at a dizzying pace.
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