Jason Faunt

INFO: For more on McHenry native Jason Faunt, visit www.jasonfaunt.com.

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Jason Faunt

VIDEO: A highlight reel featuring some of Jason Faunt's roles.

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Once a Power Ranger, always a Power Ranger.

McHenry native Jason Faunt, who played the Red Power Ranger in 2001 and 2002, will return to the television series for a 20th anniversary special. Faunt headed this week to New Zealand, where the current series, “Power Rangers: Megaforce” airing on Nickelodeon, is being filmed.

“They went back into the previous years and hand-selected some of the Rangers that were more popular over the years,” said Faunt, a 1992 graduate of McHenry High School – East Campus, who now lives in Los Angeles.

He’s among at least 10 former stars of the show – “from the guy that was the original Red Ranger all the way to a couple on the show last year” – returning for a reunion-type episode, he said.

At the time Faunt starred in the television series, it was “Power Rangers Time Force” and “Power Rangers Wild Force” on Fox Kids.

For part of that time, Faunt played the double role of Wes Collins and his descendant from 3000, Alex Drake. Fans have recognized him ever since, seeking him out at meet-and-greets, comic conventions and other conventions throughout the United States and elsewhere.

“It’s given me a chance to see the world a bit,” he said of his numerous appearances.

Though details have yet to be confirmed, he’s scheduled to return to Chicago in early June and hopes to do a meet-and-greet with fans. 

“It should be a lot of fun,” Faunt said of the five scheduled days of filming in New Zealand. “They’re organizing a day of sight-seeing, and I guess it’s pretty beautiful there.” 

An official date on when the reunion special will air has yet to be set, he said, but it likely won’t be until later in the year. 

He also has become known for his role in the motion capture world as Leon S. Kennedy, the lead character in “Resident Evil 6,” a successful video game franchise. 

And he’s remained busy with modeling and commercial work in California, including a new Ford Focus commercial set to air in June or July.

Faunt also will appear in the children’s film “A Talking Pony!?!” scheduled for release in early September.

“I’ve been fortunate,” he said of his experiences since packing up a pickup truck in 1997 and heading to California with about $200 to his name. 

Known for his athletic talents in high school, Faunt had landed a partial baseball scholarship to the University of North Carolina, where he earned his business degree. He originally had hoped to become a Major League Baseball player, but decided to pursue his dream of acting instead after he graduated.

Before Power Rangers, he landed roles on the soap operas “Port Charles” and “Passions.” 

These days, Faunt, who has two young children with his wife, Stephanie, said he simply feels fortunate to continue working steadily in the business.

“It’s week to week,” he said. “Three weeks ago, I didn’t know I was going to New Zealand.” 

By JAMI KUNZER – jkunzer@shawmedia.com

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