Kelly Marie Tran reflects on what it means to be in ‘Star Wars’

Kelly Marie Tran

photo: Gareth Catmore (Getty Images)

Asian American and Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander Heritage Month, Kelly Marie Tran (raya and the last dragon) sit down Star Wars Network Discuss her experiences of being involved star wars When she was cast as Rostico, she was a first-generation Asian American Star Wars: The Last Jedi. In public conversations, she raised the what did she go througheverything she took away from joining the Lucasfilm family was life-changing.

“Oh my god, the impossible is possible,” she shared, “…that’s the best part. And on the other end, it’s just sulfuric acid. I think it needs to be acknowledged, I really Not sure what to say, except that every experience in life has good and bad things. So I think all of those things really impacted me and probably still impacts how I think about representation.”

Conversation focused on what it means Actors and creatives from marginalized communities are allowed to be part of a mega-franchise And to draw attention during AANHPI month, “I never thought I’d actually get it.” She said, “I grew up watching those movies, and they were all white. So I was like, ‘Oh, I’m obviously not going to get this, but one day I’ll tell my grandkids how lucky I was to audition for this thing and I did a cool thing’.”

Thankfully, she was indeed chosen as Rian Johnson’s ensemble center The Last Jedi. It was her dream of growing up with immigrant parents to surprise her family, “I would say, because of the world I grew up in, there are a lot of things that, instinctively, I do or I think I have to forget about that because I’m so socialized that I believe some people belong to certain spaces and others don’t.” This is something I know very well because it’s fairly common in working-class upbringing, They prioritize finding a stable job over pursuing a creative career. It’s not that her parents didn’t want her to be successful in the show business, it’s that they just wanted what they thought they could get from their life experiences, Tran explained, “From my parents, I learned to really work hard and work hard. Worth. I think that’s because they are immigrants to the US, they don’t speak English, and they have to learn a lot. From a very early age, I realized that there are people in the world who have to jump more hoops or It takes more hills to climb to get to the baseline of a certain lifestyle.” But when she won the role, they couldn’t be happier when her life changed, “I think it’s the best thing I’ve ever experienced. One — my parents, their minds were basically blown away, like, ‘Oh my god, wait, this is possible,’ and I think it’s pretty amazing,” she said. Yes, as someone who saw her do it, I can attest to her proof that more of us can do it.

Talking about auditioning for Star Wars, which took Tran six months, she explained that the role came to her because of her culture, “Rose felt like I was close to me just because her family came from A war-torn planet. Her parents were stripped from where they lived, and that’s what my parents went through. So yeah, culturally, it’s almost uncomfortable. And her sister The scene before you met Ross – the idea of ​​people sacrificing themselves for a greater cause – I think it was also a very cultural idea in my family, at least. I saw my parents sacrifice themselves to support their family happiness and personal desires. So yes, it’s definitely influenced by culture.”

Every step of Tran’s journey, the actress has navigated the good and bad of fandom with grace and awareness of someone who both has to fight to take up space and also who wants to raise awareness of the expectations of representation. “I still find myself at tables where I’m the only person of color or only woman, or both. So it’s hard, and it’s something that I wish I didn’t have to think about, but it’s so intertwined with my identity and so intertwined with the way I interact with people.” she said, “When I think about people who don’t have the sort of burden of representation, they just get to have fun and do whatever they want, whereas every role that I read I feel like I have to think about all of these things because I don’t want to make a movie that stereotypes — and this is sad because it shouldn’t feel like such a heavy decision every time.”

She added, “it does become easier when you have a community behind you, or if you have someone who believes in you” And despite naysayers, Tran is aware her AANHPI community, fellow children of immigrants (hello, there!), contemporaries in the field, allies and a legion of fans that have her back. And she has theirs, “The hope is that it’s normal to imagine yourself doing impossible things no matter who you are or what you look like. I want everyone in the world to believe that they can do anything and that it’s in their grasp somehow, even if they grew up in a household like mine where you’re not around people who work in creative fields, where your family is very much in a working-class environment. Our society would be better if we all were just given the opportunity to dream, to believe, and to pursue the things that make our heart sing.”

Want more io9 news? Check out when to expect the latest Miracle and star wars Release, what’s next DC Universe on Film and TVand everything you need to know Dragon House and The Lord of the Rings: Ring of Power.

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