Kelly Marie Tran, Star Wars – The last Jedi
I had the pleasure to interview Kelly Marie Tran last week, (who interprets Rose Tico in the Last Jedi from Star Wars) and I say pleasure because she was a doll. Super fun, loving, open, but mostly, charismatic and since this is her first big role she yet not know and she is enjoying every interview and taking it all in, as am I, once I left the room I couldn’t help but wonder:
- If I ever will get the chance to interview her again when she becomes a huge star and…
- Wow, hard work really pays off and helps your dreams come true
Kelly Marie is a first-generation American daughter of Vietnamese immigrants, working as an executive assistant, who had been auditing for eight years with no luck yet. However, she persisted and got her big break as Rose Tico in Star Wars- The last Jedi, and fans have supported her unconditionally the same as the rest of the cast.
Here is what we asked her:
- What would be your advice for young girls who are going to see Rose and see you, or her, as a role model?
Rose represents the idea that if you believe in something: fight for it. Even if she is not a hotshot pilot and she stays in the background, no matter who you are you can face adversity and step up to the challenge with strength
- What do you take away from this role?
She has a messy relationship with this character, because so much of who she is formed Rose, but also so much of Rose formed me at the time. I learned a lot from the character and strived to be a lot of Rose.
- How was your first day on set?
The first day was awesome, I walk on the set and look at it with awe and my senses were heightened, because so many people want to be in that set and want to be part of that movie, I wanted it to be present 100%.
- Who did you have a closer relationship on set?
John Boyega, I worked closely with him on set. He is so charismatic and funny. He was there through the audition process, so I knew him from before.
- How was it working with director Rian Johnson?
He is the best human, he writes an amazing script and concise. Rian is a big kid, I never felt like I was in trouble while making this historic film… it was friends making a movie, having fun creating movies which were: Star Wars
- Did you watch any of the Star Wars movies before?
No, I felt in a sense I was lucky because I was not influenced by it.
- Do you feel that diversity is starting to be the norm now in films?
Yes, thank God it’s about time. There are so many different types of people working in this industry that are diverse, and I wish we wouldn’t have to have this conversation but we do because we are not there yet. Representation is important, growing up I did not feel represented it in films but I’m so happy to be part of that change.
- Are you bilingual?
I am street Vietnamese, as my parents call it, which basically means knowing all the bad words in Vietnamese. Yes, I can understand it and speak it ok.
- Will you teach your kids? Or your parents?
- In terms of representation of women in media, would we be seeing Rose Tico in the future?
I know the answer but can’t answer, but would be so excited if it happens!
- What was your favorite film growing up?
ET was my favorite movie, I love all the movies that deal with science fiction and magic realism. Still, ET is my favorite movie, if you think about it the core of that movie is this little kid that loves something he can’t quite understand and how wonderful is to love something without questions. I think that is such an important principle we need to do more.
- How was your relationship with Carrie Fisher?
I did not have scenes with her, but I meet her and spend time with her. We all wished we had more time with her and we all felt very fortunate to have met her at all. I watched her work on set…even before I meted her, I had thought Leia and Carrie were going to be immortal no matter what.
I had always looked up to her ability to be open, and frank, and honest, even though it was messy, and complicated, even if she knew she was in a public platform and that I’m learning takes a lot of courage, she was not afraid to be herself.
- How did you prepare for your character in the movie?
I did a lot of different things, I read books on how to be an engineer and listen to the podcast on how their mind works. Rose mind works very logically and mathematical works in bolts and she can break it logically she is very practical and rational.
My parents are both immigrants from Vietnam, and have a very close relationship with war and so does Rose, I dug into that and considered a lot of stories and book from the Vietnam war and photos within my own family and added it to my character.
- What where the most fun parts of filming and the most challenging?
The most fun was working with the other actors, it just felt like we were collaborating. I never felt I was out of place, which says more about them than it says about me. It was my first big movie, and they made me feel comfortable.
The hardest part was to be able to concentrate and put your mind where it needs to be while giving yourself moments of awe during the process.
- How does it feel to see your face in all these dolls?
It’s so weird! I see my face and the outfit (because I wore it for so long) but I don’t associate it with myself. It’s like an out of body experience.
- Where your parents happy that you decided to be an actress?
Not immediately, if you have parents that come from a different culture its hard. They risk their whole life for the luxury of security, and for me to tell them I wanted to be an actress, it was pretty scary. There is always a moment when you doubt yourself, or it feels impossible but even though I was working 40hours a week, plus auditing and writing, it came to the point where I came to terms with the fact that I might never be successful, or financially secure but I was so happy…I was doing what I loved and I owed that to my parents.
I wouldn’t settle because my parents risked their whole lives to get me somewhere where I could have a choice, and if I would have chosen something that left me feeling dissatisfied, it would have been a disservice to them and their parents.
- What is next?
Just rest, wait and see what happens after Star Wars!
The last Jedi from the Star Wars saga is in a theater near you December 15!
P.S: another little secret, is how much Kelly Marie enjoys Disney movies and everything how to. To find out how to do an awesome Rapunzel birthday party, from one of my favorite bloggers Jenny the voice, click here … you will be amazed at how fun and easy it is to create.