In just one month and one day, Disney will unleash Star Wars: The Last Jedi onto the world, which introduces a new character in the Star Wars canon, Rose Tico, played by relative newcomer Kelly Marie Tran. Not only is the actress a newcomer to the franchise as an actress, but also as a fan as well, revealing in a new interview that she had never seen any of the Star Wars movies before starting the audition process between the summer and fall of 2015, which spanned five grueling auditions. In the long run, the actress said that it actually worked out to her benefit. Here’s what she had to say below.
“I didn’t have this expectation of what I thought this person should be like. I wasn’t trying to model her after someone I’d seen in a movie. And this is why, I’m telling you, the fact that I hadn’t grown up with Star Wars really helped me. I think I would have fallen over.”
The actress added that her 10th grade teacher was “obsessed with Star Wars” and would often have the movies playing in the background, but she never paid attention because she was too busy reading Harry Potter. In 2015, she got an audition notice for the “Untitled Rian Johnson Project,” which everyone knew was for the Star Wars sequel since it had already been announced that Rian Johnson will write and direct. The actress revealed she walked into the audition wearing a sweater vest and her “lucky Ravenclaw tie,” and noticed that every other girl was wearing “tight black,” but she got a callback and wore her lucky tie again, which is where she met director Rian Johnson for the first time. The final audition was in London, where the movie was shot, with the actress in “full hair, makeup and costuming.” Here’s what she had to say about that final audition.
“I remember every moment. Walking up the stairs, there’s a little bit of small talk, and then Rian says, ‘I want to offer you this role.’ What happens when everything you’ve ever wanted comes true? I didn’t say a word. I was terrified. It was such an overwhelming shock.”
After freezing up after the offer, director Rian Johnson had to ask, “Umm, do you want this?” The rest, as they say, is history. She had to lie to her family about the role, telling her mom, dad and two sisters that she booked two indie films in Canada over the Thanksgiving 2015 holiday, before suggesting that they go see Star Wars: The Force Awakens over Christmas, a suggestion that didn’t sit well with her father, who doesn’t like sci-fi movies. In January 2016, she moved to London to start shooting The Last Jedi, where she went to set every day, even on days where she wasn’t scheduled to be on set, since she called the production, “the ultimate acting school.”
Kelly Marie Tran also spoke about working with Leia Organa herself, the late great Carrie Fisher, stating how the best thing about her was how “purely honest” she was, no matter what situation she was in. She also describes a moment when she was agonizing the fitness regiment set forth by her trainer, when Carrie Fisher walked up and started using a treadmill while smoking a cigarette and sipping a Coke. You can head on over to BuzzFeed for their full profile on Kelly Marie Tran.