Tron: Legacy has been one of the most anticipated events at Comic-Con for the last three years. Today, at a press conference for the film, Jeff Bridges, Olivia Wilde, Michael Sheen, Garrett Hedlund, Bruce Boxleitner and director Joseph Kosinski talked about the original film and how it has been reinvented 28 years later for one of the most anticipated movies of the year.
The press conference kicked off with a question for the actors new to the franchise. Olivia Wilde mentioned that Tron came out two years before she was born, but that she was familiar with the film growing up because of its impact on popular culture. Michael Sheen said he was 11 when the film came out and cracked a joke about the “phenomenal acting” of Jeff Bridges.
Interestingly, star Garrett Hedlund never saw the original film until 2003. He watched it on a laptop overseas. He was impressed that the film still “played so well” despite being over 20 years old.
Someone asked why they decided to leave out certain characters from the original Tron and Kosinski explained that when you’re approaching an established film franchise, you have to make difficult choices about what you want to tell, and that for Tron Legacy they wanted to focus on a a father-son story.
A follow-up questioner asked about the design of the movie. Kosinski touched on his background in architecture and explained that while it was “quite a task to sit down and look at the next generation of [Tron],” bringing people together from the architecture and auto industry helped to make the film feel real.
Kosinski also was very excited about the 3D camera system they used for the film. It is the same technology that James Cameron developed for Avatar. Kosinski said that Tron Legacy will be a “true-3D” movie and that they used two cameras to shoot every scene.
Next, Jeff Bridges spoke about his feelings on coming back to the film 28 years later. He said there were rumors of a sequel for 20 years. So many rumors in fact that he gave up on it. Disney had a script, but they had put it on the back burners until they got a version they liked.
Once they got a good script and a good director (Bridges called Kosinski a “terrific, terrific leader”) they moved forward and Bridges said to himself, “This sounds like something I would love to do.”
Someone asked about the new direction of technology and how the world of social media might present challenges for the filmmakers. How could they reach an audience that is already technologically saturated.
Producer and co-writer of the original Tron, Steven Lisberger, said it was “not a problem.” Specifically, making the technology of the film work wasn’t a problem because when they first made Tron, it felt like they were shooting in 3D because of the complexity of the computer graphics at the time.
Lisberger went on to explain that for the first film, “all we had to was dream about what the tech might do,” whereas the new generation of filmmakers had to take what their generation thought up and make it real. Lisberger also touched on a theme for the movie, the fact that technology is supposedly about bringing people together, but it also has a dark side.
Eddy Kitsis and Adam Horowitz, who wrote Tron Legacy, talked about how the tech of Tron actually made it easier to write their script. Joe Kosinski would send them a sketch or design idea and they would incorporate that into the script. Kitsis and Horowitz also said that, above all, they focused on character and maintaining the father-son perspective.
The producers talked a bit about the viral marketing campaign for the movie and how the goal was to “map the mythology” of the Tron universe from 1982 to 2010. A lot of the intermediate parts of the Tron mythology were discussed during the Tron ARG and viral marketing and some more of it will be discussed in video games.
Joe Kosinski touched on Daft Punk’s score for the film and how he originally hooked up with the famous electronic musicians. Over a pancake breakfast, they discussed their passion for Tron and how seriously they took it. Daft Punk began work on the score very early, which was instrumental to the shooting process. Kosinski called it an “amazing fusion of music and picture.”
Someone asked Michael Sheen what it was like to be at Comic-Con and he joked that he just did Tron to be at Comic-Con. Sheen said that he was supposed to come for a few years for Alice in Wonderland and Twilight, but joked that he held off to “build up a head of steam” for his first convention.
Bruce Boxleitner, a hero of the original Tron, said he was intrigued at the prospect of working with Jeff Bridges again and “finding out where these characters went after all these years.” Boxleitner also joked about the old costumes which were “spandex tights and magic markets” compared to the new ones.
Olivia Wilde, Garrett Hedlund, and Michael Sheen all talked about the new costumes and how “totally revolutionary” they are. Wilde talked about how the suits’ built-in luminescence changed everything about the production, particularly how they lit the scenes.
Hedlund talked about being “cyberscanned” for the suit and how it is a perfect mold of the actor’s body. He also said that lighting up the suit is satisfying. Michael Sheen talked about how fun it was to watch all of the suits light up during filming. In fact, he said that he sometimes lost track of filming because of it: “The whole room goes “bing” and you forget to act.”
The panel quickly ended there as the cast was rushed into Hall H for their big presentationto the fans. Here’s a link to our coverage of the Hall H event. We’ll also have footage of the press conference later. We will update this article at that time.