nr:interview

Kelly Marie Tran thought she'd quit acting — then The Last Jedi put her dream into hyperdrive

Entertainment Weekly

You have this dream. You want to be an actor. But that possibility seems far, far away. You have talent, but zero connections. You love movies, and TV, and comedy. They’re a part of you. So you want to be a part of them.

You go for it.

You leave everything you know and move to where they craft movies and TV. To make ends meet, you take jobs you wouldn’t mind losing if a better gig comes along. Years go by. You book a few small roles. But you’re tired. And you’re worried. It’s not happening.

Then one day, after all that grueling work, a miracle happens. You get your break.

It’s big one. Almost too much to believe.

You get the lead in a Star Wars movie.

It happened for Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill, Hayden Christensen, and Daisy Ridley. With The Last Jedi, it has happened again for Kelly Marie Tran.

The 28-year-old San Diego native landed the role of Rose Tico, a problem-solving Resistance mechanic, just about a year after she was ready to give up chasing that dream forever.

“There was absolutely a moment,” Tran tells EW. “When I turned 25, I had been at it for some years and I was struggling to pay my bills. I was tired. I had been working [my day job] 40-plus hours a week, plus sometimes I’d have two auditions in the day and then I would write a sketch or do improv at night, or rehearse for the next auditions the next day. So, my days, I would get up at 5 a.m. and then I wouldn’t be home until 11:00 p.m. The days were like that for years.”

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“I had this interviewer a couple weeks ago who was like, ‘Tell me all the things that people ask you about in interviews and I’ll try to avoid them.’ I’m like, ‘Okay, you’re inevitably going to say something about how I look, and that it’s so strange, and a question about Star Wars. He went on this long story, and then at the very end, he was like, ‘Please just give me anything about Star Wars.

And it’s like, why? Even though it’ll be fine, you know, why put another fucking fine thing out in the world? What a completely mediocre thing to just fill up a world with more fucking shit that is going to be reduced to something that’s two sentences anyway—that’s going be about, you know, that I made meatloaf or something like that? Something funny that people can just digest and move on from. What the fuck is the point? What are we doing? You know?

It’s all with a wink. You know what this is. I know what this is. I’m going to pretend to adjust my hair in a picture, and do the article, and so long as you don’t say anything offensive, maybe that averages out to something or maybe it doesn’t. It has nothing to do with what it is we’re actually doing”—doing on a set, he meant, doing when he makes a movie—“which is hopefully creating something.

Adam Driver expressing his frustrations about doing most magazine interviews, Esquire Dec 2017

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He went on this long story, and then at the very end, he was like, ‘Please just give me anything about Star Wars.’ And it’s like, why? Even though it’ll be fine, you know, why put another fucking fine thing out in the world? What a completely mediocre thing to just fill up a world with more fucking shit that is going to be reduced to something that’s two sentences anyway—that’s going be about, you know, that I made meatloaf or something like that? Something funny that people can just digest and move on from. What the fuck is the point? What are we doing? You know? It’s all with a wink. You know what this is. I know what this is. I’m going to pretend to adjust my hair in a picture, and do the article, and so long as you don’t say anything offensive, maybe that averages out to something or maybe it doesn’t. It has nothing to do with what it is we’re actually doing”—doing on a set, he meant, doing when he makes a movie—“which is hopefully creating something.
—  Adam fucking Driver, Esquire (x)