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Kelly Marie Tran on recording ‘Raya and the Last Dragon’ from home, and the movie’s “delicious” melting pot


(NEW YORK) — Like millions of others during the pandemic, actress Kelly Marie Tran was able to work from home — though her work was voicing the title role in Disney’s new animated film Raya and the Last Dragon. She did so while barricaded in a makeshift voice-over booth that she describes to ABC Audio as “very glamorous makeshift [pillow] fort.”

Tran adds that she felt a little bit less nervous about the role because she was able to do it from home.

“I think there’s always a little bit of nerves when you go into something like this, just recognizing how much bigger it is than you are and how much legacy these sort of movies come with,” she tells ABC Audio. “But, yeah, it was both a blessing and a curse to be able to not leave your house to do the job — but then also to have to deal with, y’know, Internet cutting out and the sound of construction happening outside.”

In the movie, Tran’s character Raya seeks out Sisu, the last dragon, who has the power to defeat an ancient menace that laid waste to Raya’s fictional home of Kumandra.

While fictional, Kumandra is reminiscent of Southeast Asia, and the cast — including Akwafina, Sandra Oh, The Good Doctor star and producer Daniel Dae-Kim, and Dr. Strange star Benedict Wong — shows the diversity of Asian talent.

The film also displays that diversity by using food as a literal melting pot to drive home a key point.

“Food plays such a big part in this movie…it can symbolize communities and how we can come together and bring the best parts of ourselves to make something delicious,” Tran laughs.  

The film opens today in theaters and is available On Demand on Disney+. 

Disney is the parent company of ABC News.

By Stephen Iervolino
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