The 1982 film “Tron” was not a major commercial success but it became a pivot point in Hollywood history as the first feature film to use computer-generated animation in a big way. The movie holds a special (and quirky) spot in pop culture history and there are passionate fans of its legacy. One of them is Jay West who has written a series of guest columns on Disney’s elaborate promotions for the sequel, “Tron: Legacy,” which is due out Dec. 17. Here’s his latest dispatch.
In both “Tron” and its upcoming sequel “Tron: Legacy,” characters are transported into a computer generated reality, an alternate digital realm. It’s fitting, then, that the company creating the high-tech visuals for “Tron: Legacy” is Digital Domain, the Venice, Calif.-based visual effects production outfit that won Academy Awards for its work on “Titanic,” “What Dreams May Come” and “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.”
I recently visited Digital Domain as part of my ongoing coverage of “Tron: Legacy” — I attended a Disney-sponsored media event with presentations and interviews given by all of the principal filmmakers, cast and artists associated with the movie. Approximately 30 minutes of the film was shown, including test footage and scenes with Jeff Bridges (Kevin Flynn/Clu), Garrett Hedlund (Sam Flynn) and Olivia Wilde (Quorra). I have to say, the visuals were striking.
Here now from that visit is the first in a series of exclusive videos that can be seen only at Hero Complex. Below is a 15- minute Q&A held with Bridges, Hedlund and Wilde. In it, the actors discuss their work in “Tron: Legacy” — elaborating on some of the more challenging aspects of their performances, including working with the computer generated, 35-year-old version of Bridges as the villainous computer program Clu.
Bridges also talks about how he became very excited about the prospect of returning for a sequel to the original “Tron”: “The kid in me responded (again) to playing a guy who’s sucked inside a computer and getting to play with all of the cutting edge gadgets that are available now to bring the whole thing into reality, but that wasn’t quite enough…. I was hoping that the story would be significant in some way, that it would serve as a modern-day myth. I saw it as an opportunity. It could be a myth about technology — how are we navigating those waters, because it’s pretty challenging… All this technology, it could bring us together, and it could also drive us apart. I was concerned if the story was going to be strong … and I was very pleased to find out that Steven Lisberger — the original writer and director [of the first “Tron” movie] — was going to be included in all of this … because I knew he would kind of ‘keep us on track’ and our thinking was aligned. They said: ‘Come on … get into the story with us’, and I got involved with that. I’m really pleased with the story. I think it’s a good one.”
Wilde discusses the physical demands of playing her character, Quorra, saying she wanted her character “to be like a cat … very strong and nimble,” adding: “For me, Quorra was a complete physical transformation … which was really exciting.”
Hedlund speaks about using his imagination and memory skills when acting with the digital version of Bridges as Clu, as well as with the blue screen environments when filming. Given the fantastical settings and gadgetry of this movie, I asked Bridges what excited him the most about working on “Tron: Legacy” and what made him “geek out.” Watch the video below to hear his answer and to hear more of this Q&A with the actors.
* This video was shot in a very dim screening room with a limited light source and has been “punched up” and enhanced to make it brighter. This is the full Q&A with Bridges, Hedlund and Wilde — there are no edits or cutaways so that you may view this session in its entirety as it actually occurred. The music at the beginning of this video is a sampling of Daft Punk’s track “The Game Has Changed” from the original motion picture soundtrack the band composed for “Tron: Legacy” — set to a portion of the 2008 “Tron: Legacy” Comic-Con VFX test footage, along with an image of the theatrical poster superimposed upon that.
Stay tuned to Hero Complex for more exclusive video interviews with the cast and filmmakers of “Tron: Legacy.”
- Jay West
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