One cannot help but wonder if Joseph Kosinski knew what he was getting into when he agreed to hold the directorial reins for Disney's blockbuster-in-the-making Tron Legacy. Judging by the answers he gave in a recent Q & A session held with Collider, Kosinski seems to at least know what he's doing now.
Tron Legacy revolves around one Sam Flynn (played by Garret Hedlund), who journeys into the digital realm of Tron - a creation of his father (and star of the original Tron film) Kevin Flynn (Jeff Bridges). The two join forces with Kevin's confidant, Quorra (Olivia Wilde), in order to escape from the dangerous cyber world and the Master Control Program that seeks to destroy them.
The film was shot in true stereo sound with real 3D cameras - so no sloppy post-production conversions a la Clash of the Titans - and required the extensive use of cutting-edge CGI and technology in order to fully realize the world of Tron. Perhaps the most unusual FX-oriented challenge of the film concerned that of the character Clu 2.0, which Kosinski addressed in his Collider interview:
"We decided to create a photo-realistic digital human being as one of our main characters in the movie, played by an actor who’s also one of your other characters in the film, and we had to try to figure out how to shoot scenes where he plays against himself."
Bridges is the actor in question who not only (literally) had to play against himself, but a younger version of himself at that. Clu 2.0 is a virtual creation designed to resemble the younger version of Bridges who appeared in the original Tron - and judging by the glimpses we've gotten of the character so far, the results are pretty impressive (though understandably imperfect).
Whenever the term "reshoot" pops up, we cinemaphiles tend to get a bit anxious and begin worrying about things like studio interference or (even worse) that the filmmakers are trying to salvage a mediocre final product. In reality, pick-up shoots are actually quite common and often signify improvement in a film.
Now for the (multi-)million dollar question: What exactly has Kosinski and his crew been working on during their recent reshoots for Tron Legacy?
"... We added about five or six minutes to the movie, most of it in the first 20 minutes. Most of the shooting was done to set up Sam a little bit better and to give him a little more context. A couple scenes were done to bring to the surface some of the themes of the movie and to show the relationship of Sam and his father a little more clearly. Some of it was just picking up visual effects plates and inserts that we just were never able to get when we first shot."
Work on Tron Legacy has been ongoing for some three years now, including 18 months of post-production, which Kosiniski revealed allowed him and his crew to "... actually watch [the film] and still have nine months left to say, 'All right, let's go tweak this, this and this, and remove this,' and it helped."
Will Kosinski deliver something truly cutting-edge with Tron Legacy? The footage released so far has been quite visually stunning and it certainly sounds like Kosinski and his crew are putting forth a good deal of effort into making the film as good as it can be. That's as much as anyone can ask for at this point.
Tron Legacy will hit 2D, 3D, and IMAX 3D screens in the U.S. on December 17th, 2010.