McHenry’s Faunt remembers Power Ranger role

McHenry native Jason Faunt has played many roles since his days as a Power Ranger.

But he’ll always be proud of the experience and flattered by the attention he’s gained from it.

Faunt starred as Wes Collins, the red Power Ranger beginning in 2001 on “Power Rangers; Time Force,” a Fox Kids television series.

He and Erin Cahill, who played the Pink Power Ranger on the series and most recently starred in “Beverly Hills Chihuahua 2,” will take part in a Blues-N-BBQ event designed to celebrate the renaming of the McHenry YMCA to the Sage YMCA of Metro Chicago.

The celebration takes place from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. June 3 at the YMCA, 701 Manor Road, Crystal Lake.

It’ll include performances by Geneva Red (also a McHenry native) and The Roadsters Blues Band as well as the Jesse White Tumblers. For information, call 815-459-4455 or visit www.ymcachicago.org/mchenry/.

To preview the event, Sidetracks caught up with Faunt, a 1992 graduate of McHenry High School-East Campus, where he was known for his athletic skills.

He won a partial baseball scholarship to the University of North Carolina, earned his business degree, then packed up his truck and moved to Los Angeles with about $200 to his name.

Determined to become an actor, he succeeded. He’s now working as the lead character in a notable video game franchise and has appeared in numerous print advertisements for products, such as Mike’s Hard Lemonade and Sketchers.

How did you get the Power Rangers job?

At the time, I was on the soap opera “Passions.” [The Power Rangers job] was really a three-month audition. I auditioned five different times. It was just an audition that went well. At the time, they were seeing people from all over the country.

You played the double roles of Wes Collins and his descendant from 3000, Alex Drake. What was it like to play two roles at once?

There were times when I was playing opposite myself, which was fun. The only thing that was difficult was that my hair was dyed light for Wes and then black for the other guy. There were times when they would have a stand-in playing the back of me. When I was talking to me, I was actually talking to a stick. I think the most difficult part was just having to jump in the shower and wash out the black hair.

Did you do any of your own stunts or wear the Power Ranger costume?

I never actually did. I had a stunt double that did all the action and explosions they did. They couldn’t risk us getting hurt. When we fought, we would morph into Rangers. We had stunt doubles. Toward the end of the year, they would let us do some things. But if we got hurt, they’d have to shut down production.

(Married, Faunt has two daughters, ages 6 and 3) What do they think of their dad as a Power Ranger?

I don’t think they really get it. They see my action figure that looks like me. The call it Baby Daddy. They play with it, but I’ve never really talked about it. They don’t watch the show so they don’t know much about it.

What has been your favorite role so far?

Alexandar the Great (in “Battleground: The Art of War” in 2005) was probably my favorite role because I was able to do all my own stunts.

What would be your ideal or dream job?

I think I always would have liked to play a role in the sports field. I would have loved to have been in any kind of a sports movie, like a “Bull Durham” or something like that with sports involved.

What’s the weirdest thing a fan has ever asked you?

To come to their prom.

What are you up to now?

Right when I get back, I’m filming on the video game, working with a lot of the people that did “Avatar.” That’s a lot of fun. They’re unveiling the new chapter of this very mainstream video franchise and I’m the lead guy. Everything you hear and see in this video game is me. You’d know the video game if I said it. (As not to negatively impact the franchise’s current part five, he could not release the name of the game yet.)

Do you ever get kind of tired being known as a Power Ranger?

No, I was proud of it. It was a great experience. It was so long ago. That show was a great show and has one of the largest selling toy franchises in the world. It just keeps going. At the end of the day, I can say I have an action figure. I’ve always thought that was kind of fun. The longer it goes out, years later, it doesn’t bug me... I was fortunate to get the job, happy to get it. It is what it is.

WHEN AND WHERE
What: Blues-N-BBQ event designed to celebrate the renaming of the  McHenry YMCA to the Sage YMCA of Metro Chicago. Actor and McHenry native Jason Faunt and actress Erin Cahill will sign autographs.
When: 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. June 3
Where: YMCA, 701 Manor Road, Crystal Lake.

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