SEATTLE — Lana Condor had a secret: Over the past three years as the Seattle Kraken franchise emerged and made a name for itself in the hockey world, the Queen Anne-based actor was a kraken, too — lending her voice to bring DreamWorks Animation and Universal Pictures’ latest film to life.
In “Ruby Gillman, Teenage Kraken,” Condor voices the titular character — a 16-year-old Oceanside High School mathlete who has her own secret: She’s a princess descended from a long line of powerful gigantic female kraken warriors masquerading as a human.
“There were many days where I was, like, at one of the Kraken hockey games and I kind of felt like I have a secret,” Condor said. “Like, I, too, am a kraken and just no one knows.”
In a brief interview, Condor reflected on the movie’s themes and talked about her love for Seattle and the Kraken. This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
Is home base still in Seattle?
As of right now, home base is still in Seattle, my hometown. I love it so much. It’s so funny. Whenever I go anywhere else, the air quality is just so much worse than Seattle. Whenever I go back to Seattle, I can breathe so much better, so it’s still my home base.
How big of a Seattle Kraken fan are you?
Oh my God, I’m like the hugest, hugest! Well, maybe not the hugest, but I’m pretty pretty up there in terms of Seattle Kraken fan. My dad actually works for the team, so it’s kind of like a family rite of passage to love the team. I’m so proud of our team this season. I thought they did a really great job. I went to one of their playoff games, but I watched every single playoff game on my iPad. I was just so excited to be cast in “Ruby Gillman,” because I was excited to tell my dad that I, too, am a kraken.
What was your dad’s reaction?
He was thrilled. He was like, “Yes, keep it in the family.”
One of the themes of “Ruby Gillman” is finding family and learning about her kraken heritage. You’ve publicly talked about your adoption story and visiting Vietnam. Have you also taken a similar journey as your character in trying to find your roots?
I’ve gone to Vietnam a couple times in pursuit of finding my roots and seeing where I come from and how this environment makes me who I am, and so I think in that way, I can relate to Ruby. Not in the way of the family part, but I can relate to her knowing that there’s a whole other world out there meant to be explored and can be educational and informational to who I am as a person — like, who is Lana Condor?
Ruby Gillman describes herself as a monster and an outsider who never fit in. How much do you relate to this character?
I think now more than ever, I’m very confident and comfortable in my own skin, but I think that it took, as it probably takes everyone — it took me a lot of trial and error and a lot of days where I was super insecure, a lot of days where I did feel like an impostor.
I remember in elementary school — like, you know, sixth, seventh, eighth grade, even freshman, sophomore — I would try so hard to fit in. I really didn’t want to stand out. I really didn’t want to be different. I wanted to fit in. I wanted to fit in with my peers. I didn’t want to pull focus at all. And I think it took many, many years for me to realize that who I am at my core is more than enough. That it is something to be celebrated and people will like who I really am. It took me years to understand that. It took me years of pushing myself out of my comfort zone, putting myself in situations that I might used to avoid because I just kind of wanted to lay low, and so I think in many ways that is a very relatable thing.
We sometimes try to make ourselves small and we don’t want to take up a lot of space because we’re afraid if we take up space … I don’t know what we’re afraid of, but there’s insecurity there and I think it’s taken years of working on myself and positive self-talk and working on my mental health and discovery to get to a place where now I am. I’m stoked to take up space, man.
Favorite thing about Seattle?
I’ve been very nomadic my entire life, but one place I’ve called home was Seattle. Growing up on Whidbey Island defined so much of who I am now, so even though I’m very nomadic and I travel for work and I’m never in one place for a long time, Seattle is the only place that I’ve really ever felt like is truly like coming home.