“It’s insane to me that it’s me.”
Kelly Marie Tran has discussed her role in Star Wars: The Last Jedi.
28-year-old Vietnamese-American Kelly Marie Tran, who plays Rose Tico in Star Wars: The Last Jedi, is the first Asian-American woman to star in a Star Wars film.
Described as the “biggest new part” in the franchise, Rose Tico is a maintenance worker turned resistance hero.
Speaking to Channel NewsAsia, Tran expressed her excitement and her rollercoaster of emotions for being part of the film.
“I do feel like everything I do right now is either the first time or the last time it’s happening. And everything feels very important and very emotional,” she said. “It’s both an honour and a responsibility to be representing.”
“I’m so happy that’s finally happening,” she said. “It’s insane to me that it’s me.”
From a young age, Tran had always wanted to be an actor. “I remember being a little kid and wanting to be an actor and wanting to write and make movies and thinking that it was impossible because there were rarely any people like me doing that. And I can’t believe that I’m now doing that”
Tran added that her role in Star Wars: The Last Jedi is the big break she has been long waiting for. “For so long I was auditioning for the same sidekick female character,” she said.
Playing Rose, Tran has learned a great deal from the character but also injected inspiration from her own life experience whilst playing her.
“I think that there is no end and beginning. Rose has taught me a lot of things and sometimes I think that I taught or I informed that character (with) my life experience and my family’s life experience and their relationship with war,” Tran explained.
“But there are also things about her that I love that I try to bring into my life … Like sometimes I think, ‘Oh, what would Rose do in this situation?’”
“I think I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t scared. Or if I said that I was completely brave the whole time,” she admitted. “I was scared for a really long time. Because you don’t know what it’s going be like.”
The Asian-American actress has created an all-female improvisation comedy group called Number One Son in an attempt to erode the caricatures Asian actresses are forced to play on screen.
“(Asians) can be loud and annoying and crazy!” she said. “I have such an amazing support group in those girls. The best part of it was that because we are all Asian women, we would be going for a lot of the same auditions. It was just all completely supportive all of the time and that is really rare I think.”
Tran also hopes to create her own content in the future. “I’m excited to see what happens after the movie and I’m excited to eventually write, direct and produce my own things,” she said.
In October, Tran revealed that landing her role in Star Wars: The Last Jedi was the first time her parents supported her.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi will be released on 15 December 2017.