Tien Tran is an American actor and writer and shot to popularity with her work in Candyman (2021), Work in Progress (2019) and Hot Date (2017). The actor is now playing the role of a queer character Ellen in the much-awaited Disney+ Hotstar show How I Met Your Father which, is the spin-off of the iconic show How I Met Your Mother starring Neil Patrick Harris, Cobie Smulders, Josh Radnor, Jason Segel, Alyson Hannigan. Tien Tran sat down with MissMalini to discuss his career, his character and the future of the show.
Do expectations make you feel anxious?
I think what’s so exciting about the show is that it is more of a standalone sequel. We live in the same universe as How I Met Your Mother, we are threading with the same spirits of friendship, love and life. What is different with the show is that we are shooting with a whole different set of characters with their own traits, so it’s going its own way. So, to answer the question, yes, it does make me nervous but I am also super excited to take this journey and see where it takes us.
What is an iconic moment from the show that you will like to recreate? Who is your favourite character?
I didn’t watch the show when it first came out but now that I’ve got the job, I’ve watched a few odd episodes and I know why people love the show the way they do. It portrays such a relatable experience of dealing with your 20’s and 30s and performed by absolute comedy legends. And I am just grateful to be in the same universe as them. And now that I have started watching the show, my favourite character on the show is Robin Scherbatsky—Cobie Smulders. I mean who doesn’t want to recreate the Robin Sparkles video? Because I was such a mall kid growing up, it is an absolute dream for me. And I will be happy even being the background dancer, I don’t even have to be Robin. I don’t want to be the lead or anything I would be happy to just be there somewhere, even if it just requires me to do something in the background.
Do comparisons affect you?
Comparisons are inevitable and they aren’t going anywhere. But that happened with the previous show as well. When How I Met Your Mother came out, it was immediately compared to Friends. When a new show comes out especially when it revolves around friendship, set in New York City, comparisons are bound to happen. But if people stick around, they will see that all the characters are their own person and have their own special traits which set them apart.
Describe your character in 3 words or more? And do you relate to your character on the show?
The three words I would use are, optimistic, incredibly confident and a little bit of a weirdo in the best way possible. And I relate to Ellen in so many ways. When I first moved to Chicago, when I was much younger and I came out, I also crashed on my straight bro’s couch for like months. Ellen is in that phase of her life where she has entered the dating scene like never before. She was married and her first relationship was her first long term relationship. When I had my first heartbreak, jumping back into the dating scene was extremely tough for me. But I love how optimistic Ellen is, even though she is nursing a heartbreak and she has been rejected a few times, she still is so optimistic. The only difference between Ellen and me is that she says whatever comes to her mind and I overthink a lot. I wish I had her spontaneity and confidence and the lack of filter sometimes.
Is there a stereotype that you want to shatter with the show?
With this one, I am just very excited that it is a group of friends that is so different from the group of friends that we see in the city these days. And the thing with Ellen is that, she has so many intersecting identities. She is Queer, Asian, and I hope that people see more to her than just that. I hope they accept her as a part of the group and not tokenise her as one of the different ones. I hope they see her just like the other friends who are trying to find someone to date, figure out her job and navigate her life in the city which can be very tough.
Romance like Ted or Hook Up Like Barney?
Romance like Ted! I grew up with rom coms, so my mind is infected with romance in the long run and I am all for romance and am a true blue romantic, so I relate to Ted more, of course!