“Pokémon Go” uses smartphone location tracking and mapping technology to create an augmented reality in which players can catch and train Pokémon characters in real locations using the illustrated Pokédex encyclopedia full of different characters to find in each region of the game. Some characters are more coveted and harder to find than others, such as a Pikachu — which at one point was highly sought after on the “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” set. And this is where Tran’s prank comes into play. “I hope that I don’t get in trouble for sharing this,” Tran said, “but I think that Rian will be okay with it. Some of my favorite memories of being on ‘The Last Jedi’ set was that ‘Pokémon GO’ just came out and we were all so involved in it. We’d get in trouble because we’d have our phones out. And on a ‘Star Wars’ set, you’re not supposed to have your phones out because everyone’s afraid that photos [of the set] will go everywhere. And I was like, ‘Dude, I’m just trying to catch a Weedle.'”
Tran continued. “One day I played a prank on Rian because we were all really excited to catch a Pikachu. So I drew a Pikachu outside in chalk, and John Boyega and I, we were about to do a take, and I was like, ‘Rian, there’s a Pikachu outside! You have to go outside!’ And we stopped the entire set. I’m going to get in trouble. I don’t know how much money we wasted doing this. But Rian went outside to look for Pikachu.” Clearly, there were no hard feelings about the prank, and Tran and Johnson are friends to this day. “He recently asked me to go on ‘Pokémon GO’ and help him get more points by becoming best friends, and so I did,” says Tran, adding, “I have so many stories like that about ‘Star Wars’ that I wish that people could have been there for. It was just a magical, otherworldly experience.”
Tran’s most recent project, the spoken-word poetry musical “Summertime,” which she executive produced, is currently in theaters.