Last year, we were fortunate enough to snag an exclusive interview with Amy Jo Johnson (Original Pink Power Ranger) about her directorial debut with Bent and with Lines. “Johnson’s foray into directing has won her several accolades including winner of the Women in Film & Television (Toronto) Awards for best short film. Not only that but her Indiegogo campaign has blazed a trail of humorous “Sing Song” clips on YouTube and a legion of nostalgic Mighty Morphin Power Rangers fans wishing and hoping that Johnson will suit up again.
This year, Johnson is back to tell us about her first full length feature film titled The Space Between, which is about a couple in their late 30’s dealing with fertility, trust, and identity issues. The precursor to the film, Shooting Blanks, is realistically shot and leaves the viewer engaged and swept away in the couple’s struggles with conceiving.
Courtesy of Amy Jo Johnson
Amy Jo Johnson, who has been in the industry for the past 20 years with a litany of acting credits to her name, recently chatted with me about her film making experiences as well as her notable roles in Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, Susie Q (Cutest Chick Flick ever), and Flashpoint.
She even answered the biggest question I ever had as a fan: Did she ever crush on Jason David Frank aka THE ORIGINAL GREEN RANGER!!
Mighty Morphin Power Rangers
Sherryn: What was your most favorite episode of Power Rangers and what was your least favorite? Why was that the case for both?
Amy Jo: Hmmm? I guess “Bloom of Doom” was my favorite because I felt like I got to actually act a bit ;-). AND my least fave episode was when–I’m trying to think— I guess, this may sound weird, but any episode that I was hardly in. At that time in my life ALL I wanted to DO was sink my teeth into something.
Sherryn: Has your time on Power Rangers influenced your musical career?
Amy Jo: I think my musical hobby career really began on the set of Power Rangers. Shuki Levi, the producer on the show, was a great musician and even helped me write the song “Down The Road” for the show.
Sherryn: I’m sure you get asked this a lot but as a hardcore fan of the show, I got to know: Did you ever date (or have a crush on) Jason David Frank when you were on the show?
Amy Jo: You little sneaky devil… Now I really shouldn’t answer that question. BUT yes, I did have a crush on Jason. I think everyone did.
Sherryn: Have you gotten over your fear of going to fan conventions? Will you go to more of them in the future (like in D.C or in Baltimore, MD)? I read that you developed this fear early on because of strange experiences with your fans.
Amy Jo: Actually at this time I am so damn focused on getting The Space Between off the ground that I don’t have time to travel to conventions. The Space Between is truly my priority after being a good mom.
Sherryn: Do you still have your original costume from the show? If so, have you ever dressed up as the pink power ranger for Halloween?
Amy Jo: I DO NOT!! And I wish I did!! I’m actually going on a hunt this weekend for a Ranger In fact, if we reach our goals for the Indiegogo campaign, I might have something up my sleeve ;-)!!
Sherryn: During the 90’s you starred in notable TV films such as Killing Mr. Griffin, Sweetwater, Perfect Body, and Susie Q. Out of all of the TV movies you have done in the 90’s which was your most and least favorite? And why?
Amy Jo: I have always loved every job I have ever done. Looking at the names of the shows you mentioned above, I have real sentimental memories for each one. When it comes to filming a movie, it’s always like going away to summer camp. You fall in love, do bad things, and HAVE TOO MUCH FUN!!
Sherryn: This is random, but my friend Kim and I still obsess over your 1996 film Susie Q since your role was quirky, fun, and memorable. In some ways I see that quirkiness in your short films “Bent” and “Lines.” Do you ever feel like maybe you are Susie Q?
Amy Jo: Ha! I did at the time. Susie Q was my first real lead in a film and all my hopes and dreams were as big as the universe. I cherish that feeling and that time on that set.
Sherryn: We’ve also tried to find the show on Hulu, Netflix and even on Amazon and weren’t able to find it. Do you have any advice for us on how we can find some of your older films from the 90’s? Especially, of course, Susie Q.
Amy Jo: I would love for Susie Q to be rereleased: Wouldn’t that be fun! I couldn’t find it either. I would love to show my daughter a version of it that isn’t all grainy on YouTube.
Sherryn: Enrico Colantoni is one of the stars of your short film Tell us more about your relationship with him on and off-screen.
Amy Jo: Rico is a dear friend and mentor to me. I have spent hours and hours with that amazing man on set, sitting in an SUV, waiting for the first AD to call action. OMG! We’ve definitely had some funny moments. Let me tell you that he’s a brilliant talent and I feel very lucky to have spent five years on the same show with him.
Sherryn: What’s the most difficult scene you have ever done on the show?
Amy Jo: Actually, during my 3rd year of Flashpoint, I had a pretty ugly miscarriage and I was on set. Doing those scenes were by FAR the toughest in my entire career.
Sherryn: Do you miss the show? Do you feel that there needs to be an extra season?
Amy Jo: I do miss the show and all the people. BUT I think, unfortunately, everyone has moved on.
Sherryn: Do you still make oil and acrylic paintings? If so, do you make landscapes, portraits, or even paintings on fruits? Also, can your loving fans purchase your work online?
Amy Jo: Guess what!? This is actually is a perk in the Indiegogo campaign! I’m going to paint a picture and write a song based off a letter the person has written me.
BENT/ Lines/ The Space Between
Sherryn: Tell us more about your new movie The Space Between.
Amy Jo: The Space Between is a heartfelt comedy about a proud new father who finds out his wife had taken his infertility into her own hands.
Sherryn: How has your previous work with Bent and with Lines help shape this film?
Amy Jo: The Space Between is a departure from Bent and was inspired by that story. BUT it is not a sequel. Making both of these films has given me the confidence to tackle my first feature film! I’m beyond excited about that.
Sherryn: What’s it like directing a full-length film in contrast to a shorter-length film?
Amy Jo: It’s going to be a lot more WORK, that’s for sure, BUT I also get to actually dive into the world and really paint a full picture.
Sherryn: What inspired you to use crowd sourcing platforms like Indiegogo?
Amy Jo: Well I could not make any of these movies without Indiegogo and without all of the people who support my career. There would just be no way for it to happen! I love this because it actually gives the film a life before it’s even shot. And it gives us all a huge jolt of energy to get the damn thing done. FUN!
Sherryn: What’s the most interesting “Sing Song” that you ever made for your fans?
Amy Jo: My favorite “Sing Song” was the one in which my nanny jumped in. IT’S SO FUNNY! She was cleaning in the background. You can find it on my YouTube channel under “GOD” since that was the song I sang.
Sherryn: Where do you plan to distribute your new film?
Amy Jo: We are sorting that out right now! BUT for sure we’ll definitely distribute it on iTunes and hopefully Netflix and other forms of VOD. I would also love to have a theatrical run as well. We shall see!
Sherryn: Does this film have any original Amy Jo Johnson songs in it?
Amy Jo: Of course! The sound track is going to be amazing. My good friend August Cinjun Tate, who was the lead singer of the band Remy Zero, will be lending some songs to the film; as well as other awesome musicians! The soundtrack is going to be fantastic!
Sherryn: Tell us more about the character dynamic of the film. Are any of these characters based off of people you know?
Amy Jo: At this point, in The Space Between, all of the characters are fictional. BUT I do always add nuances of people I know within each character. For instance, Mitch, who will be played by Michael Cram, has some of his own quirks.
Sherryn: Out of all the awards you have won so far in filmmaking, which one left an indelible impression with you?
Amy Jo: Well, I haven’t really won that many awards. BUT when Crazier Than You, a feature script I wrote, won a few awards, that made me not only proud but it also gave me a lovely feeling of validation in that my pursuit of a different career path might be the right one for me. I also love writing and truly enjoy the process.
Sherryn: What inspired the script? Were there any scenes you had to take out of the final movie?
Amy Jo: Well, we are still in the process of writing the script. We are on draft 3 now!! AND I’ve also learned a new rule in writing: you must be able to murder your darlings. Meaning, you must let go of those nuggets you write and think are so funny because the writing process is all about evolving and letting go. We will shoot the film in June, 2015.
Sherryn: What’s your secret to your funding success for your short and full-length films? What advice would you give to your peers in Hollywood if anyone wanted to raise funds for a full-length film?
Amy Jo: I think the secret to my funding success is the amazing support from the people who have always followed my entire career through social media. I could NOT have made these films without them.
Sherryn: What are your plans for the future?
Amy Jo: To make more movies, of course!
Amy Jo’s Indiegogo campaign for The Space Between started October 19, 2014 and has been gaining strong traction online. If you are an Amy Jo fan (like myself), support strong directors with a vivid vision, AND want to receive perks such as personalized songs, art, AND Power Rangers memorabilia please head on over to this link: http://igg.me/at/thespacebetweenfilm and support her campaign.
The campaign will run for 35 days! Be the impetus behind The Space Between and check it out today.