We love a talented, yet sensible teen actress, and when we talked to Thalia Tran, who appeared in the comedy Little that came out earlier this year, it’s clear that she is just that.
Tran is 13 and lives in California. She’s pursuing a burgeoning acting career, but also singing, piano, guitar and Kung Fu. Read our interview with her to hear Tran talk about how she found her way into acting, preparing for her first big film role in Little and what else she’s interested in.
College News: First of all, tell us a little bit about yourself.
Thalia Tran: Hi! My name is Thalia Tran. I’m thirteen years old, and I live in California with my two amazing parents and the best little sister in the world. I’ve always been interested in the arts. I’ve been singing for as long as I can remember. I’ve played the piano since I was six years old, and I also play guitar. When I have some free time, I would love to start learning the drums and devote more time to music composition which is something else that I enjoy. As for my interests that are not related to music or acting, I’ve recently started learning martial arts. It’s definitely been difficult for me, but being the type of person who loves a good challenge, I decided that Kung Fu was perfect for me. My enrollment has been interrupted several times by my filming schedule, but as with anything, you just have to keep pushing forward. As my instructor always reminds me, Kung Fu is not only about training the body but also about training the mind. Through Kung Fu, I have learned a lot about hard work, dedication and perseverance.
CN: What inspired you to get into acting?
TT: Something that not everyone may know about me is that I actually did not start out in acting. My first love was music. My parents always tell me stories about how I used to hum myself to sleep as a baby. From there, my love for music only grew. I sang anywhere and everywhere, and to this day, I still do the same. I had been taking vocal lessons for a while when my vocal coach recommended that I take acting lessons. He said that it would be a great way to improve my performance skills. I signed up for a lesson just to try it out, and I simply fell in love with acting. If it hadn’t been for that one vocal lesson, I would probably not be involved in acting today.
“My first love was music. My parents always tell me stories about how I used to hum myself to sleep as a baby.”
CN: Have you done any theater acting? How is that different from your experience acting on film sets?
TT: I have been involved in some wonderful theater projects with some wonderful people, and although I don’t see theater work as my ultimate goal, the experiences were incredible and extremely valuable. There are multiple differences between theater and on-camera acting. While you have the freedom to redo scenes and edit out mistakes in film and tv, on the stage, you only have one chance to take your audience on a journey. Something else about theater acting is that your movements and expressions must be seen by everyone, including those in the back row. When you are on camera, your actions and expressions can be more subtle, and you can speak at a normal volume. However, despite these differences, theater acting has taught me several lessons which are helpful in on-camera acting as well.
CN: Is Little your first big film?
TT: Little is my first big film, and it truly was everything I dreamed of and more. Everyone was so welcoming and kind, and they all inspired me with their incredible dedication. I am so grateful to be a part of a project that not only entertains the audience but also promotes positive messages to the world.
“I am so grateful to be a part of a project that not only entertains the audience but also promotes positive messages to the world.”
CN: How did you prepare for your role in Little?
TT: In preparing for my scenes, I had to put myself in Raina’s shoes and consider her circumstances. Every person has a different point of view, and it was fascinating to explore what it’s like to see the world through Raina’s eyes. What was so amazing about working with such talented people was that their commitment to their characters made it so much easier to be present in the scene and have genuine reactions.
CN: As someone so young who’s still figuring out who she is, what is it like to immerse yourself in being someone else?
TT: Being in the industry at a young age, it is especially important to surround yourself with people who ground you because it’s easy to get caught up in all the craziness of Hollywood. I am so grateful to have such an incredible support network of friends and family who have encouraged me endlessly and stood by me through every single challenge. Acting has definitely had a huge impact on my outlook on life as well as my personality. I learn something from every character that I play. By getting into the mindsets of these different characters and learning where they are coming from, I feel that it helps me to become a more sympathetic person. Realizing people’s motives behind their decisions allows me to better understand them.
CN: What other types of roles would you like to play one day?
TT: One of my goals is to play a superhero someday. I’ve always loved fantasy and magic, so I would love to play a character who lives in a world where anything is possible. Long before I started acting I always loved to imagine what it would be like to have superpowers. Also, the superheroes portrayed in the movies often become the role models of children. It would be amazing not only to bring the superhero of my childhood dreams to life but also to inspire so many young children.
“One of my goals is to play a superhero someday. I’ve always loved fantasy and magic, so I would love to play a character who lives in a world where anything is possible.”
CN: Are you working on anything else at the moment?
TT: I recently finished filming Council of Dads, an NBC drama pilot based on Bruce Feiler’s bestselling novel. It’s about a father, Scott Perry, who is diagnosed with cancer, so he gathers his close friends to become a father figure for his children in case he doesn’t survive. I play Charlotte Perry, his adopted daughter who is struggling to figure out who she is. It tells the story of how all of us cope with the devastating news of the cancer diagnosis while simultaneously struggling with the other challenges of our lives, challenges that are magnified by the prospect of losing Scott. The script is so beautiful and powerful, and I truly believe that this is the show that the world needs right now.
CN: What else do you like to do with your free time?
In the little free time that I have, I love to spend time with my friends and family. It’s really important to take time to just be a regular teenager. Whether it be watching a movie or just playing card games at someone’s house, as long as we are together, it’s always fun.
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