"It is my hope that watching me — very awkwardly — learn how to write poetry can encourage those who, like me, might feel afraid to try something they've always wanted to do," says Kelly Marie Tran

By Jen Juneau and Nigel Smith
July 07, 2021 01:06 PM
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Kelly Marie Tran is tapping into her inner poet.

The 32-year-old actress serves as executive producer on Summertime, "a spoken-word poetry musical set in Los Angeles, following the intersecting stories of 27 young Angelinos over the course of a single day."

Summertime, which premiered at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival and is set to hit theaters beginning Friday, is a project that "changed" the actress, 32, "on a molecular level," she tells PEOPLE.

The star adds that she was also excited to reunite with director Carlos López Estrada, whom she worked with on Disney's Raya and the Last Dragon.

"Working with the incredible young poets of Summertime has changed me on a molecular level," Tran says. "It is my hope that watching me — very awkwardly — learn how to write poetry can encourage those who, like me, might feel afraid to try something they've always wanted to do."

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Kelly Marie Tran
Credit: Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images
Summertime Group Sundance shot
Summertime group photo
| Credit: Good Deed Entertainment
CLE and KMT in their matching shirts
Kelly Marie Tran and Carlos López Estrada
| Credit: Good Deed Entertainment

"Open those notebooks. Start that screenplay. The world needs your voice!" the Star Wars: The Last Jedi actress encourages other would-be creatives.

"And if you need some nudging, go watch Summertime. It opens in theaters this week, and is full of people doing things that scare them," Tran says. "May their bravery and vulnerability inspire you the way it did me."

According to an official synopsis, the film brings together "a skating guitarist, a tagger, two wannabe rappers, an exasperated fast-food worker, a limo driver" and more who "all weave in and out of each other's stories" during a summer day in L.A.

"Through poetry they express life, love, heartache, family, home, and fear. One of them just wants to find someplace that still serves good cheeseburgers," the synopsis adds.

Summertime FINAL KEY ART
Poster for Summertime
| Credit: Good Deed Entertainment

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In a release, Estrada, 32, says that Summertime was "the scariest artistic experiment I have ever worked on, but I would also be lying if I said that it was not the most rewarding creative experience of my life."

"Everything about the process behind Summertime was unexpected and reaffirming," he continues. "A sunset overlooking downtown from the roof of a Cadillac limousine, an entire improvised day shooting on an iPhone, the radical sincerity these artists brought to set every day. It is the kind of sincerity that, I believe, has the power to inspire lasting change."

Tran says in the release that watching the movie felt "like falling in love for the first time."

"It's a love letter to Los Angeles and to the many incredible artists and individuals living in it. I can't wait for you to fall in love with these incredible poets — fully, completely, and inexplicably — the way I did," she adds.

Summertime hits theaters in Los Angeles and New York City on Friday, expanding to additional theaters July 16.