Fans anxiously awaiting the release of Tron: Legacy aren't just salivating over glimpses at the film's incredible special effects. Some of the most memorable imagery from the trailer and posters has centered on the character of Quorra, played by Olivia Wilde.
While her skin tight costume was assuredly designed to raise eyebrows, Wilde's new interview with Collider may raise your expectations for Tron Legacy as well.
Although the 26 year-old actress has worked steadily in film the last several years, she's probably best known for her roles on television shows like The O.C. and House M.D. The long-awaited Tron sequel certainly represents a major step forward in her career, but it isn't the only tentpole movie she has on the horizon - Wilde will also appear in Jon Favreau's upcoming adaptation of Cowboys & Aliens.
In Tron: Legacy, the original film's protagonist, Kevin Flynn (Jeff Bridges), has been trapped in the cyber world that he created for twenty years. Quorra is a skilled warrior that has been instrumental in Flynn's survival and the two have developed something akin to a father/daughter relationship. When Flynn's son (Garrett Hedlund) is also pulled into the digital landscape, the three of them team up and formulate a plan to escape.
Wilde admits that training for Tron: Legacy was a challenge, but that it allowed her to connect with her character on another level:
I enjoy the physicality because it was a tool with which to unlock who Quorra was. I was doing a tremendous amount of research on Joan of Arc and Buddhist warriors, and all sorts of things that informed who she was, but it wasn’t until I had physically transformed through the martial arts training and cross-training, and everything else we were doing, that I was like, “Oh, this is how she feels. This is how she walks.”
Apparently Joan of Arc wasn't just an influence on Quorra's personality. Wilde reveals that the Catholic saint served as the inspiration for her character's appearance as well:
My first conversation with Joe about the look of Quorra, I said, “Joe, she’s Joan of Arc. We should cut off all her hair. She should be androgynous. There’s nothing about her that’s sexy and flowing. She doesn’t need to pile on sexiness because it’s inherent in that suit. Because she is this powerful warrior, she is sexy. We don’t need to push it at all.”
That's a pretty insightful observation on Wilde's part and one that I wholeheartedly agree with. She also demonstrates a keen understanding of the original Tron's theme and how Tron: Legacy expands upon it.
The question of the first Tron movie was, “What would happen if technology overtook our lives and this new thing became more powerful than us?” That was the premise. Now, 30 years later, the film is not asking that question. It’s saying, “Technology has taken over and we are slaves to technology, so now what? Can we escape this? Can we recapture what it is to be human and appreciate that, and harness the technology we have created for good?”
Sure, this is ground that has been well-covered by numerous sci-fi films including The Matrix and the Terminator franchise (a fact Wilde openly acknowledges) but Tron: Legacy boasts an incredibly distinctive visual style and tone which suggests that even if you've heard this story before, it hasn't been told quite like this.
Wilde remains undaunted by the twenty-eight-year gap between the original Tron and its sequel. In fact, she believes this is the perfect time for a follow-up and that audiences will appreciate the film in a way that wasn't possible until now:
The reason this one is happening now is because technology has just gotten to a point where this film can be as revolutionary as the first. If you had made this film 10 years ago, it would have fallen short because it couldn’t be as new, groundbreaking and beautiful. That’s why I think it’s the right time for it and that’s why I think people will enjoy it.
The full interview at Collider is a great read so check it out for more information on the film, Wilde's character, and even a little bit about Cowboys & Aliens.
I have high hopes for Tron: Legacy and I'm keeping my fingers crossed that the filmmakers deliver everything they've been promising. I'm surprised and delighted that so much of Wilde's interview revolves around character relationships and the film's message rather than the special effects or 3D technology.
Obviously this is an effects-heavy film like its predecessor, but the reason Tron still works for me (despite its dated imagery) is because of its characters, the performances of the lead actors, and its sense of adventure. In another ten years, effects that are groundbreaking today will already look passé.
So if it wants to stand the test of time as well as the original film has, Tron: Legacy will have to be more than something that's cool to look at. Fortunately, it sounds like Wilde understands that.