Nerdsociety recently had the chance to interview Stephen Lunsford, one of the talented young stars of Kamen Rider: Dragon Knight. The hit action series is on the CW4Kids Network every Saturday morning at 11 am.
NERDSociety (NS): Stephen, tell our readers a little about yourself and your career. How did you get involved in acting?
Stephen Lunsford (SL): When I was just a wee little tike back in elementary school I had a huge knack for getting into trouble. At an almost daily basis I would somehow find myself in the principal’s office. I always had to be the center of attention. I tried a variety of sports, but that barely did a thing, then somehow I was thrown into an acting class in central Florida and I’ve been doing it ever since.
NS: How did you get the role on Kamen Rider: Dragon Knight? What appealed to you about the role of Kit Taylor ?
SL: My agency had sent me the script, telling me that they have already been through thousands of kids to try and find the right Dragon Knight. I took a look at it and I was sold, I had to audition for it. The characters were rich with life and the story was compelling, I wanted to be a part of this immediately.
NS: Did you watch the original Kamen Rider series called “Ryuki”, the basis for Kamen Rider Dragon Knight? If so, did you enjoy it?
SL: The day I found out I had the part I immediately ordered it online, of course it took like 7 weeks to fly it here from Japan but it was totally worth it. I loved the series and I couldn’t wait to start on our version and see what we could do with it.
NS:Will there be a love story between your character and Yvonne’s later on in KRDK? How was it working with the cast and crew of Kamen Rider?
SL: Hahaha, I can’t say I might have a Rider sent after me to make sure I keep quiet. As for the cast, I HATED THEM ALL. Hahahaha. They were a great bunch; I couldn’t have asked to work with a better group of people. I learned a lot not only from the experiences on set but from all of them, and for that I’m forever grateful.
NS:Have you been recognized on the street by people (especially kids) because of Kamen Rider Dragon Knight? Your co-star Matt Mullins said that kids often ask about the toys, now that they are out in stores, what do you think of the KRDK toys?
SL: It actually happens quite a bit, even though my hair is completely different off the set I’ll usually get recognized at least a few times when I go to the mall. I went to Disney a few weeks ago and I was literally signing autographs all day, it’s a lot of fun and I really enjoy the happiness on their faces. As for the toys, I think they’re amazing, how often can you say you have your own action figure. I’m not even 20 and I can, it’s surreal but totally bad ass.
NS: Did you receive any martial arts training before or during the shooting of Kamen Rider?
SL: I took one karate class when I was 14, I was so sore the next day that I basically said, “Forget this.” Hahaha. So I don’t have a background in martial arts, anything that I’ve ever learned has been through a trial and error basis in actual fights. Hahaha. The character of Kit had no martial arts background, he’s basically just a regular kid who is in way over his head. So we wanted to keep my character that way, so there was very little training for the actual stunts. It was basically all improvised, or we would rehearse just a few hours before hand. I did however do a lot of training for the actual role, I watched the original Ryuki series and saw that Takamasa Suga is a very skinny person. I wanted to be somewhat true to the look of his portrayal of Kamen Rider Dragon Knight, so I lost quite a bit of weight. Which was awesome because I ended up doing a lot of running in the show, hahaha.
NS: Kamen Rider: Dragon Knight feels a bit more serious and darker than most live-action kids shows of its kind. Was there a conscious effort to make the show less campy than Power Rangers and its sometimes cheesy clones?
SL: For sure, we all had a set idea of the style of the show. Nearly every day one of the directors would say, “Perfect. Now less Power Rangers-y.” The script was a lot darker than any other kids show I had ever seen and it was an interesting challenge to keep that in mind. We wanted to appeal to a huge audience. We didn’t want to disappoint the tons and tons of older fans but we had to keep in mind that it was in fact a kids show. We thought about it as the Batman Begins of kids shows.
NS: What was it like working on the massive hit Desperate Housewives for ABC ? How was the cast of that series? Do the ladies really get along?
SL: That was one of the best experiences I’ve ever had on a set. Everything was organized, everyone had a great work ethic and the food was amazing. Haha. Working with Larry Shaw was a real pleasure and I can’t wait until they bring me back. The ladies were amazing, I felt right at home the second I was introduced.
NS: How can fans contact you if they want to find out more about your current and future projects? Any projects that you are currently working on that you’d like to share with our readers?
SL: I’m currently working in association with 19 Entertainment and Simon Fuller for a new series called Santa Cruz, it’s like a cross between Entourage and Lords of Dogtown in the style of every Michael Bay movie. I’m always available for reach on my twitter. It’s:
NS: Finally, What’s been the best part of working on Kamen Rider: Dragon Knight?
SL: The cast and crew. I absolutely loved working with them. I learned so much by working with them and many of them I still keep in contact with.
NS: Thanks for your time.