Sudarso, who is of Chinese descent, was born in Indonesia and moved to the United States at the age of nine. He and his brother, Peter Adrian, are primarily known on social media and YouTube. His beginnings in the entertainment industry began with small modeling jobs, a bit of acting and a lot of stunt work. Now, he’s taking bigger steps towards making a name for himself. He is currently starring in the newest season of Nickelodeon’s Power Rangers series titled Dino Charge, where he plays Koda, the sweet yet resilient blue ranger. But this is only the beginning of a list of projects for Sudarso, which includes planning his wedding! He took some time out after filming in New Zealand to talk about how he got started in Hollywood and his future plans for re-connecting with his roots in social media.
Audrey Magazine: How did you get started in entertainment?
Yoshi Sudarso: I began in college. I thought it would be fun to make spare money on the side, so I did extra and background work in the summer for two years. I met people through that and they recommended other jobs or to look on Craigslist to find small jobs. I did modeling, a little bit of acting and stunt work most of the time. I realized stunt work was where I wanted to be so I chose that route.
AM: Did you always want to be in entertainment when you were a kid?
YS: No not at all, not even the slightest actually. I wanted to do something with math. I wanted to be either a math teacher or an accountant. I always wanted to do martial arts and never really did it until high school because my parents wouldn’t let me. So I just kind of followed what my parents wanted me to do, which was accounting and math. Pretty much the typical Asian route, you know? I went to school for that at Cal State Long Beach and halfway through, I decided to change and do Theater.
AM: How did you become the blue power ranger? What was the process like?
YS: I’ve always loved Power Rangers, maybe a little bit more than I’d like to admit, in the sense that I’ve seen pretty much seen every season and I’ve seen the Japanese counterpart as well. Since I’m a huge fan, I always wanted to be a power ranger. One day I was doing a small stunt job for a friend. I met Sonny Sison, the stunt coordinator, who came up to me and said, ‘You’re going to play a power ranger, Spider-Man…’ different characters. So I put on the stuff, it was one of those fake five-dollar masks, then I did the movements and he said, ‘That’s the actual pose!’ And I said I like Power Rangers and I know all the poses so he said, ‘Well, if you’re into Power Rangers, I’m the guy who works for Saban and heads the live entertainment section for Power Rangers.’ I said, ‘Oh! I would love to try that!’ So for three years, I did Comic-Con, birthday parties, whatever it may be. Then two years ago, I heard about auditions for the actor. I googled who the casting director was and found her name, found her email and I emailed her saying I would love to audition for the Power Rangers. I feel like I’d be a good fit. I don’t have an agent, so this is why I’m doing this. I’m not an actor, I’m a stunt man and I’d like to jump in. She says, ‘You know what? You got a good look so come on in.’
My brother and I go in, I get cut after the second audition and he goes all the way to the end. Some stuff happened and he didn’t end up getting it. So this time around, I said I’m going to stick with stunts and you do all the acting and I will double for you. He said okay. For two years we did that and it was really fun. Then we auditioned again because he got the call saying they wanted him back. I go to the auditions with him, I get cut again after the second round and he goes on to do it. And I guess he kept emailing the producer saying, ‘Hey, you need to bring Yoshi back. You haven’t seen enough of him, you haven’t seen his full potential. You really need to see him again.’ The producer says, ‘Fine, we’ll bring him back and put him in this caveman role.’
When my brother told me I got a call back, we looked over the script and thought this character sounds really stupid. I didn’t understand how to do this character so I played it kind of gruffy. After two hours of just reading it, my brother says, ‘Why don’t you play it like a cute little puppy, like an adorable guy?’ I didn’t see it like that, so I played it like that. The next day, we go to the audition and they loved it! But Power Rangers are all about diversity. You can’t have two Asians guys, so they had to choose one or the other. Peter played the other role really well, but it just so happens they couldn’t find anybody else for this role to fit it well, so I ended up getting the role.
AM: How would you describe your character, Koda?
YS: I first saw this guy as really stupid. We had some acting and stunt training for about a month. Stunt training was easy, acting was a little bit different for me. The acting coach said, ‘I want you to tell me about your character.’ So I told her he’s kind of stupid and funny. She said,'”The first thing you don’t want to do is judge your character. You want to understand him.’ I said okay, he’s funny, kind of out of the water, not understanding of how things are going, he’s super loyal, he’s not the smartest guy but he has a heart of gold. So I think he’s a lot like a guard dog, in a sense that he’s a super sweet, nice little puppy. But as soon as something happens, he’s just on and ready to protect whoever is around him.
AM: Do you have other projects or plans for the future?
YS: I have a couple of other projects that I’ve had on my mind. I always wanted to do a Dragon Ball Z live action adaptation, which I was already working on for a while. The production company we were working with ended up taking it into their own hands, recasting and everything even though it was my idea. So, we took our script and moved on. We’ll probably do ours as soon as I get back. I’m also talking to Strawburry17, a YouTuber named Megan Camarena, and I’ve been working on a bunch of scripts we want to work together with. I think we’re going to try to do something along the idea of a Western web series. There’s not enough Asian cowboys, so that should be fun.
AM: Would YouTube be a side job or main focus after Power Rangers?
YS: I think YouTube would probably be a side thing. My brother and I already tried to do Apartment210 for a while and we just couldn’t find enough time for ourselves to do it because we kept working in the industry, which is great, but it’s kind of tough for everybody else who was banking on Apartment210. I definitely have to go back to my roots, like YouTube and social media because it’s a lot of fun to do.
AM: Ultimately, what is your career goal?
YS: See, that’s something I’m not quite sure of. I never really [wanted] to be an actor, but I’m finding it a lot of fun to be able to portray these characters. As a stunt guy, you really don’t get much say in anything you do. I love doing action. If anything, I’ll probably go cliche and be an action actor. With the Western that I want to do, it’s going to bring a lot of jobs to Asian Americans, because I’m going to try to bring more Asians into it so I really want that to work out.
AM: You also got engaged recently. Congratulations! How’s planning going?
YS: She definitely did a lot, which I feel terrible about. She knows what she wants and I don’t really mind with anything. I actually asked her to marry me when I had nothing. I didn’t have Power Rangers. After I asked her to marry me, I won Wipeout and then got Power Rangers so I said, phew! Thank you, God! She’s actually taking a break from planning because she’s in New Zealand right now with her sister. She’ll probably come visit me in March and then go back to the States.
AM: Has it been hard? Do you travel back and forth or are you just staying in New Zealand?
YS: Just staying in New Zealand. It’s definitely hard. It’s been really tough because it’s such a long job, eight months. This is the longest run I’ve ever been on. We started at the end of August, flew to New Zealand the next week and we were here until December. We had less than a month’s break and then we were back to it again. We’ll be done at the end of May. It’s the longest run I’ve had at any job, so it’s cool, but it sucks that I’m not back home where I can do other things like meeting with other people, other jobs, scripts that I could be working on. But it’s getting my name out there and people could see what I’m capable of because for a while, people thought that Peter and I were pretty boys that don’t do anything else. So I want to prove them wrong.