Kelly Marie Tran Interview: Star Wars, Raya, And Musical Theater
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Kelly Marie Tran Interview: Raya, Star Wars, And Musical Theater

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BY September 20, 2021

Without a doubt, one of the brightest and most talented stars of this generation is Vietnamese-American actress Kelly Marie Tran. She was born January 17, 1989 in San Diego, California, to Vietnamese refugees. She started acting in 2011, but rose to fame as Rose Tico in the Star Wars sequel trilogy films The Last Jedi in 2017 and The Rise of Skywalker in 2019 (where there was a suspicious lack of Rose Tico screentime). Recently, Collider shared this Kelly Marie Tran interview, where she talked about her love of musical theater, voice acting for Raya and the Last Dragon, and Star Wars.

One delightfully surprising fact that we learned was that Tran did sketch comedy and has a lot of experience with improv. She’s taken away a lot of valuable lessons from it, as she talked about in the interview:

“The first rule you learn about in improv is ‘yes and-ing’ and making sure that you’re not turning down someone else’s ideas and that you are always adding to something and creating something together. That, to me, is something I want to take with me always and forever because it’s such a good way to look at the creative process.”

She even mentioned how improv helped in Raya and the Last Dragon:

“There is a specific scene with Raya that we basically improvised in the booth, and that is the prayer scene when she’s in the cave and she says a little incantation. I remember reading that scene and I remember really – the crazy thing is, I’m telling you about this experience like it was easy for me, but I remember in that moment being very afraid to ask if I could try something different. And I remember feeling like I knew what it was like to be a person in life – at this point, Raya has traveled for six years and she is at the end of her rope and she doesn’t know if any of this is going to lead to anything or if she’s just wasted those years searching for this thing – and I remember asking if I could try something different because I remember what it felt like to be desperate and I remember how I acted in those moments and what it felt like to pray to a being, in this case Raya’s praying to Sisu, that you’re not even sure exists.”

She also lit up when talking about her love of musical theater and when asked which movie musical she would like to star in, she got adorably nervous and teary-eyed. According to the interview, it seems like we might be seeing Tran in Jon M. Chu’s Wicked movie musical?!

kelly marie tran interview YES PLEASE! Image via screengrab

Tran also talked about how she used her own personal experience as a child of refugees from a war-torn country to channel the Rose Tigo character, and how excited she is to be an executive producer on Carlos López Estrada’s upcoming film Summertime.

Watch the edited video interview below:

And if you need the uncut version, you can listen here.

Kelly Marie Tran stars in Hulu’s Monsterland and can also be seen opposite Elizabeth Olsen in Sorry for Your Loss. She’s racked up quite a bit of voice acting experience from The Croods: A New Age and now Raya and the Last Dragon. She’s also an executive producer on the award-winning documentary Lily Topples the World as well as the aforementioned  Summertime. On top of all that, she went back to her love of musical theater with her Miscast21 performance, where she played both Elder Price and Elder Cunningham in a rendition of “You and Me (But Mostly Me)” from The Book of Mormon.

What do you think of this Kelly Marie Tran interview? Was there anything that surprised you? Let us know in the comments below!

Featured image via Disney

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Keilin Huang is a freelance writer that likes the Oxford comma, reading from her neverending pile of books from the library, and Reeses peanut butter cups. She thanks her Dad for introducing her to his Superman comics and probably majored in Journalism because of Lois Lane.

Kelly Marie TranRaya and the Last Dragon

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