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Meet Naomi Scott, co-star of 'Saban's Power Rangers'

The young English actress and singer talks says she can't wait for the day talking about strong female characters isn't necessary.

Naomi Scott had a big problem while making “Saban’s Power Rangers”: There was a pizzeria under the apartment she was staying in.

“It was the best pizza in Vancouver, and the best gelato. It’s the worst combination when you’re trying to be strict,” the actress recalls. “Every now and again, I’d treat myself to a pizza.”

Scott still kept in shape while making the new blockbuster, which reboots the ’90s children’s show about a quintet of superpowered high schoolers who fight big monsters, sometimes while joined together as one big robot, “Voltron”-style. But Scott refuses to adhere to the idea of starving yourself to look fit.

“You need the energy. You can’t be eating just leaves,” she tells us. “I don’t like to deprive myself. I’m good at being strict and I know what I have to do to stay in shape. But on a weekend, I’m going to have a dessert.”

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“Power Rangers” is Scott’s second big Hollywood movie, but her first in a co-lead role. (She had a small part in “The Martian.”) She plays Kimberly, aka the one in pink. The new film isn’t exactly a gritty reboot, but it does try to add some seriousness to the smackdown fun. Kimberly is one of five teens who are tasked with becoming defenders of Earth, and must battle an alien invader named Rita Repulsa (Elizabeth Banks.)

Kimberly is a strong female character, but Scott wishes we didn’t have to have the discussion about how Hollywood should create meatier roles for women.

“It’s a conversation that obviously needs to happen, but it’s crazy because it shouldn’t need to be,” Scott says. “It’s like, ‘We have to talk about it, but why?”

That said, while Scott, 23, doesn’t have vivid memories of watching the show as a kid, she does remember one thing that made it ahead-of-the-curve: its casually diverse cast, with different genders and ethnicities.

“What I do remember is playing Power Rangers. And the reason I was very excited to play it was that there were girls. That’s something so simple but it’s actually really important. That’s why so many girls still like it,” Scott says. Back then there weren’t many superpowered female characters on television. “There was Wonder Woman, the old school one, but there wasn’t a lot.”

Scott, born in London, where she still lives, has been acting since her teens, having had roles on “Terra Nova” and, recently, the British detective show “Lewis.” She cites the likes of Meryl Streep, Julianne Moore and Rachel Weisz as influences.

“The actresses I look up to, a lot of them aren’t necessarily young. They’re over 40, because I always look at the careers they’ve paved for themselves,” she explains. “These women do such good work, and do so unapologetically. They don’t even have to talk about being strong. They just do what they do, and the work speaks for itself. That’s what I look to do.”

Scott is not just an actress; she’s also a singer, with two albums to her name. “I’m independent, so I basically do everything myself,” she says. “I get to be in completely creative control. Music is my first love; it’s something I want to give the time to grow organically. I want to do it right and do it properly.”

Follow Matt Prigge on Twitter @mattprigge
 
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