Nate isn’t what we’ve come to expect from a Ranger. He’s not buff or super athletic and spends little time outside. He’s the brain of the team in a way we’ve never seen before. Even compared to the original brainy character of Billy from Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, Nate still brings something unique in how he interacts with his fellow Rangers.
Abraham Rodriguez, who plays Nate, takes all this as a challenge. He’s not your typical hero but that brings a depth Rodriguez enjoys. In our interview for The Fourth Wall podcast, the actor recalls his initial ideas about the character, becoming the Gold Ranger, and what fans can look forward to with his robot “brother”, the Silver Ranger.
When you first found out who Nate was, what do you do then as an actor? How did you prepare to be this character?
After getting to know some basic general story points about Nate then I had to do my work and go back and really create a backstory and a life story. Everything about his parents and how he grew up, where he was born, what his role exactly is in Grid Battleforce, and what his relationship is with everyone. It was really, really awesome to step in his shoes and go through things like his birthday or how he celebrates things like that and the type of person that he is and how he would react to certain situations.
In that process, what did you create in your mind to help act out the character? Obviously a lot of it’s not going to end up on the screen or might be contradicted by later episodes, but what sort of things did you come up with to get into that character’s head?
When I first read about Nate, I learned that his parents are away so he doesn’t live with them. He also is a child prodigy and the boy genius. He started working at Grid Battleforce since he was six years old. That was definitely a big thing, that I don’t have my parents and I’ve been working in this facility since I was six developing things. He didn’t have a normal childhood. That definitely affects him in the way that he acts with other people his age or just people in general because he’s grown up in this working environment, always developing new things.
He’s the brains of this whole corporation that is the ranger team. It was definitely interesting because I personally come from a big family, so I’m used to there being ten thousand million people around me all the time. It was definitely interesting for me to create Nate and know that he’s not used to having actual blood family members around him and that he uses the people like the Commander as like a mother figure and to get that kind of family sense from that.
Tell us a little bit about those first days shooting, especially when you’re getting used to the whole process. Being a regular, being a big part of the show. What was that like?
It was so much fun but also so much hard work because it was so new, not only for myself but for the rest of the cast. It’s been amazing to be able to experience all these first new things with everyone. It was definitely hard to get used to just waking up every day so early and getting in that routine. Going through hair and makeup and wardrobe, being on set for 14 hours, getting home and memorizing lines to come back the next day, and do it all over again. It was definitely new.
I’ve never done a project for this long. Usually I’ve filmed for a few days, a few weeks, so this is definitely different to shoot two seasons, 44 episodes off the bat for nine consecutive months. Especially in another country because filming a TV show on its own is a challenge. But also, being away from your family for so long and moving to a foreign country for that long and not being able to do things with your family or what you’re used to. But it was so much fun and I really enjoyed it. Now we’re all pros and are ready for what’s next for each of us.
Nate is a Ranger that we aren’t really used to. He’s not super athletic. He seems to have spent most of his life inside. What is that like playing a different sort of Ranger?
It’s definitely special and it touches my heart because I’m so happy to be able to play a character, especially a ranger that defies stereotypes and proves to not just kids but also everyone that anyone can be a Ranger. It doesn’t matter your physical characteristics, but you know what you have on the inside and the person you are. That’s what makes you a Ranger. Being able to play Nate and know that he is different has definitely been a challenge because I think it’s easier to just be the hero that everyone expects to see.
Even when we do scenes, like we’re all playing outside, like a sport or something, I have to think, “Oh well, Nate’s never really played sports.” He’s always inside developing some new weapon or technology or something. I have to play that into there. Nate wouldn’t really know how to throw a football or this is all new where he’s practicing how to catch. He’s not going to be perfect,. It’s actually been fun to be able to do those little things and show kids that you’re not perfect and that’s okay. You’re still just as strong and a hero as anyone else.
We talked about your first days on set just as being Nate but tell us about the first day you were the Gold Ranger on set.
Oh my gosh, that a highlight of this entire experience and something I looked forward to because before coming here knew I was going to be the Gold Ranger. Then getting here and shooting seven episodes of just being Nate and not being the Gold Ranger? I definitely got used to Nate the science guy. Once the eighth episode came around, when I become the Gold Ranger, it was like, “Whoa, like it’s happening. We’re finally there. I’m finally going to be a Ranger now. I’m not going to be just Nate, the science guy. I’m going to be Nate, the science guy, that’s also the Gold Ranger. That initial scene where I morphed into the Gold Ranger was one of the most special moments and experiences here. I remember that day on set and waking up and being so pumped about it.
When that first clip came out of you morphing and becoming the Gold Ranger, there was just an outpouring of love from the fans for you and your character. What was that like?
Honestly, it was out of this world. Before that, I knew how amazing and loving Ranger Nation is. But once that came out and I just saw all the comments and tweets and reposts and messages that I got from everyone, it was just a whole other experience of love and support that I received from everyone. It just made me want to work even harder to show everyone who Nate is. It just motivated me to be someone that people can look up to knowing that there’s so many kids and people that watch this show and look at Nate and see themselves in him.
You’ve also got the Silver Ranger who’s hanging out with you as well. What is that like having to act with a robot basically, or a suit actor I should say?
At first I was definitely a little nervous because I had no idea how it was going to be like to have a robot as a scene partner. He’s not just anyone to Nate; he’s Nate’s brother and Nate created him as well. It’s the one brother that he’s always wished and dreamed of having. There are definitely a lot of scenes where they really connect and have really deep real moments. At first I was curious to see how it’s going to be to look at a robot head instead of someone’s eyes but as it went on, it just became so easy. It’s just so natural now. We don’t even think about it, but Reid, who’s the actor that plays Steele, has been so amazing as well. He’s with us every day. He’s a part of our main core cast.
What can fans look forward to as Beast Morphers continues, especially for Nate?
They can definitely expect to see a lot of awesome storylines with Nate and Steel. Steel is a new character coming into the show now and there’ll be able to really see their dynamic and their brotherly relationship. That’s what Nate has always wanted. That’s definitely a big thing for Nate coming up in these new episodes. Also just learning to be a Ranger. He’s always been the guy that’s had been helping the Rangers, but now he’s one of himself. It’s going to be cool. I know I’m excited for the fans to see how he uses his science side along with now his Ranger side and he gets the best of both worlds.
The Fourth Wall podcast seeks to allow creative people behind the scenes to break through the illusory “fourth wall” of stage and cinema to speak directly to the audience of their work. Our interviews with authors, composers, set designers, and others give voice to a whole host of artists we wouldn’t normally get to hear from. Subscribe so that you never miss an episode, or simply listen to the latest episode below!
In the full audio of our interview with Abraham Rodriguez, we go into the original character he tried out for, his thoughts on the entire Beast Morphers cast, and what his family thinks of his character.