Disney has released fifteen minutes of behind the scenes footage from TRON: Legacy as they increase their marketing campaign in preparation for the December 17 release of the film. The footage is fairly raw, unlike a traditional BTS feature, which would be inter-cut with interviews that give the context for the footage. One does get a sense of some of the technology used in making the film, as well as some of the techniques employed.
We also hear from TRON: Legacy stars Jeff Bridges and Garrett Hedlund, along with producer Sean Bailey and director Joseph Kosinski, about what it was like to make the highly-anticipated sequel.
In the footage there are a few shots of Jeff Bridges in “the vault,” which is a room of any size, painted green, and filled with sensors designed to capture the movement and facial performance of the actor. The capture is used to assist in the creation of the CGI version of Bridges as Clu – a.k.a. the young Kevin Flynn – as well as the environment in the scene as well as the camera angles. This was a process which blew Jeff Bridges away. He shook his head in wonder, saying, “Wow man, making movies without cameras — what an idea! When they first said that, I said ‘what are you talking about’!?!”
He said that the one of the the most surreal moments in making the movie was when he was first scanned, so that the computer could create a digital imprint of him in order to create his younger avatar, which audiences will see in the film. The actor said it was “Just like the first Tron (when his character is “digitized” onto the grid) but for real!”
This method of filmmaking took some getting used to for the actor, who likes to “relate to the lens and have a costume and a set.” Although, he feels that the best thing to do in acting (and in life) is to adapt to the the reality of what is happening, and adapt quickly, so for him this work became about becoming “like a child, when you don’t have all the cool gear, and you have to use your imagination.”
As far as where this new technology will lead, Bridges, as well as many others, speculate that the possibilities are endless:
“They’re going to be able to combine actors too — I’m not sure how I feel about this — but they’re going to be able to say ‘hey, let’s get Boxleitner, and Bridges, and throw in some Brando and see what happens.”
Though the cost and time commitment involved in the capture process (it took two years to create the look of Clu, and then longer to create movement) will likely limit its use in feature-film productions, at least for now.
In the footage, you are also able to also see Jeff Bridges in the capture helmet as he portrays Clu in a scene set in the “End of the Line Bar”, with live-action actor Michael Sheen.
It feels as though the scene in which “the sirens” first give Sam Flynn his grid wardrobe and identity disk is choreographed somewhat like a dance. You can hear a count out for the movement of the four exotically beautiful “programs” charged with preparing Sam for the “games,” a.k.a. “Disk Wars.” You can also see some of the choreography from the fight scenes, which Garrett Hedlund, describes as “unlike any I have ever seen.”
Take a look at the footage below:
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First time director Joseph Kosinski has a fair amount riding on the success of this film, and so does producer turned Disney President of Production, Sean Bailey. This footage may be intended to prep fans for the vastly different, and far more modern version of The Grid that they will be introduced to in TRON: Legacy.
Some fans speculate that Disney has pulled the copies of the original Tron from shelves in an effort to disassociate this film from the now dated look of the original, so that casual movie goers will not assume that they will see more of the same in TRON: Legacy. Of course, it’s possible that Disney is simply hoping to time the release of the remastered original film, with (what they hope will be) the blockbuster success of the sequel. Sean Baily would simply say “We have some big plans for the original Tron,” while emphasizing that TRON: Legacy is a “standalone movie.”
TRON: Legacy – which was green lit due to the enthusiastic audience reaction to the test footage released at Comic Con three years ago – is now depending on that sane audience to show up in force and bring ten friends each.
TRON: Legacy hits theaters on December 17