'Raya and the Last Dragon' star Kelly Marie Tran proud to play Disney's 1st Southeast Asian heroine

Kelly Marie Tran has a sense of pride for both her new movie "Raya and the Last Dragon" and the hopeful message it offers to Asian Americans during these turbulent times.
LOS ANGELES -- "Raya and the Last Dragon" follows a young warrior who goes on a quest to track down one of her country's legends - a dragon who could help reunite its long divided people.

Disney's latest animated adventure is set in the fantasy world of Kumandra. Five-hundred years have passed since humans, dragons and all creatures lived in harmony.

Kelly Marie Tran lends her voice to our heroine Raya. She's Disney's first Southeast Asian heroine. The gravity of that is not lost on Tran.

"Just to be part of something like this that I know holds so much legacy is a really big deal to me," said Tran. "Because I know how rare it is. I know it's an impossible thing. I wish I could just share this experience with everyone because it's just more than I ever could have imagined it was. I'm really grateful."

Among the many messages in the movie is the importance of community and learning to trust and respect one another. Tran says that thought has been especially top of mind for her during this time when Asian Americans have been targeted by violence.

"I think especially during this time, because it is such a hard time for our community," said Tran. "Recognizing all of the horrific attacks that seem to continuously keep happening. And then to be able to share this movie at this moment in time, when it feels like our community is really hurting feels really special. To have something we can hopefully all celebrate, and remind ourselves that even though the world is teaching us to be afraid, that we can be proud of who we are."

"Raya and the Last Dragon" also features the voices of Awkwafina, Daniel Dae Kim and Gemma Chan.

It will be available via Disney+ "Premier Access" beginning Friday, March 5.
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