Indie-short filmmaker Dean Israelite is currently in talks with Lionsgate for the upcoming Power Rangers reboot. Known best for his recently released, feature film debut, Project Almanac (2015), reports say Isrealite is a “huge fan” of the property and excited to take it on.
The cousin of Jonathan Liebesman (director of Battle: Los Angeles  and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles ), Israelite's strongest accolades lie with short film. Acholiland (2009) won him a best director award at the ATAS Foundation College TV Awards and best film at the Ashland Independent Film Festival. Israelite is a young director, but not without connections, particularly from the Michael Bay camp of filmmakers at Platinum Dunes.
It comes at somewhat of a disappointment that Lionsgate isn't going in a different direction with this project. Granted, indie-directors making massive budget films aren't anything new-- Gareth Edwards merely had Monsters (2010) under his belt before directing Godzilla (2014). Colin Trevorrow jumped from a time travel comedy to Jurassic World (2015). Marc Webb's only feature was 500 Days of Summer (2009) before The Amazing Spider-Man movies and of course who could forget Chris Nolan's leap from Memento (2000), to Insomnia (2002) and then Batman Begins (2005)!
The difference is all of these directors were really hot to Hollywood because their under budget, feature films had generated great interest. Israelite's Project Almanac was no independent production. It was backed by Michael Bay's Platinum Dunes and barely made an impression on audiences, much less critics.
And to compare, how successful have the biggest indie-to-Hollywood filmmakers really been? Sure Nolan is praised far and wide, but Edwards polarized many with Godzilla. The jury is still out on his ability until his resume grows. Marc Webb's Spider-Man movies have been abandoned in favor of a Marvel reboot and Trevorrow's Jurassic World has yet to be released. Can Israelite, with far fewer accolades and barely any demand, adequettely capture a project as difficult as Power Rangers? Or is he merely a director for hire?
Perhaps I'm too quick to judge. Israelite has been mildly praised for his direction of young cast members in Project Almanac and that likely has a great deal to do with his involvement in Power Rangers. It also points at the studio casting fairly young, if Almanac is any indication. I hope Israelite's interpretation has a lot of thought behind it and this won't be a simple schedule filler for Lionsgate.
Written by Ashley Edward Miller and Zach Stentz, Power Rangers is expected to film this year.
Power Rangers is scheduled to hit theaters July 22nd, 2016.
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Power Rangers March 24th, 2017
More about Power Rangers (movie)
High school teenagers (with attitude) are summoned to become superhuman heroes who defend the world against evil. At their disposal is an arsenal of powerful weapons and colossal vehicles known as, "zords".
Directed by Dean Israelite, Power Rangers's release date is March 24th, 2017.
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