After playing lots of supporting roles, actress Beau Garrett now has a main role on the CBS television series, "Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior." She also appears in TRON: Legacy as "Gem."
AN INTERVIEW WITH BEAU GARRETT FOR TRON: LEGACY
How does it feel to be part of TRON: Legacy?
BEAU: It feels amazing to be part of the TRON universe. I had no idea what I was getting myself into when I first signed up for this role because I hadn’t seen the original TRON movie. I was born in 1982, which is the year that the first movie was released, but I’d never heard about it until I signed up for TRON: Legacy. I didn’t know anything about this amazing, futuristic world. It was completely new to me.
How would you describe the movie?
BEAU: TRON: Legacy is a classic adventure where a guy called Sam Flynn gets transported to a world we don’t know anything about. The new world is very seductive and dream-like – and it’s filled with danger.
Does the audience have to know much about TRON to enjoy the sequel?
BEAU: No, and that’s why it’s such a great movie. This movie stands alone, so you don’t have to know anything about TRON to understand the story of the sequel.
What attracted you to the role of Gem?
BEAU: I was shown loads of wonderful pictures of the TRON world when I first met with the director [Joseph Kosinski] and producer [Steven Lisberger]. The pictures depicted how they wanted this amazing, futuristic lair to look – and I was blown away by the imagery. I jumped at the chance to work on the project. This has been such an exciting experience for me. I’d never done anything like this before with all the special effects, crazy wardrobe and fantastic makeup. It was really fun to step into this futuristic world and play something completely different.
What can you tell us about your character?
BEAU: When I first met the movie’s director, he described Gem as a half-robot, half-woman character. She is emotionless and curious. She is sensual in a lot of ways and she’s very aware, but she’s a little robotic in her movements. She’s a program in the futuristic world of TRON.
What went through your mind when you saw the finished film for the first time?
BEAU: I was overwhelmed. I was blown away. I didn’t know what to expect, but I was so proud to be part of something so amazing. It took them a year and a half to finish the film after we shot it because they had so much CG work to do. It took my breath away when I finally saw it.
What was your biggest challenge on the set of the movie?
BEAU: I would definitely say that my costume was a huge challenge because it was extremely constraining. It’s a beautiful costume that lights up and it was an amazing feeling to walk onto the set wearing something like that. It was such a strange and powerful feeling, but it was also incredibly constricting at times. At first, I struggled just walking around in the suit. It even gave me bunions and my feet hurt because the shoes were incredibly high. I couldn’t take the outfit off all day, so it was a physical challenge that became a mental challenge, too. It was tough to focus in the beginning, but it became awesome. It looks stunning on screen, so it was worth the pain.
Did the costume help you get into character?
BEAU: As soon as the suit was on, I became Gem. A lot of the other actors on the movie had to work on green screen, but I was lucky because most of my scenes were in the club and they’d built a practical set for those sequences. The club set amazing and there was a crazy attention to detail. We had hundreds of extras on the set and Daft Punk were playing in the DJ booth. It immediately took everyone away to this modern, high-tech world. It blew everyone away.
How long did it take you to get ready for Gem every day?
BEAU: Getting into the costume was a hugely detailed process that took about six hours every day. Some days we’d get it down to five hours, but usually it was more like six hours in hair, makeup and wardrobe.
Can you take us through your daily routine?
BEAU: The first step to creating Gem involved her wig. They would spend an hour working on my hair. Then I’d head over to the Makeup Department where they would ‘white out’ my skin so that you couldn’t see any lines on my face. After that, it was back to the Hair Department to finish the wig. That whole process would take two and a half hours and I wasn’t even in costume yet.
When did you get into costume?
BEAU: The costume would come next. Well, part of the costume anyway. I’d get into the base of Gem’s suit, but then I would head back to Makeup for more touch ups. It took so much patience to get into the costume every day, and that’s something I struggled with. It was also painful. The wig was extremely heavy and there were bobby pins sticking into my skin. It was tough.
Was it easy to get out of the suit at the end of the day?
BEAU: It was easier to take it all off, but it still took a long time. The suit had four layers, including a corset and various other parts. I hung out in it a lot because once I was in it; I was in it for the whole day. They actually redesigned it at one point because it became too much. Originally, the shoes were attached to the rest of the costume. It was a huge one-piece, but they ended up separating the shoes so that I could take them off and relieve my feet during the breaks in filming. That was a huge relief.
What was the atmosphere like on the set of the movie?
BEAU: The atmosphere was electric. Everybody on the set was extremely excited and they gave 110 per cent. There were people who were willing to say, “Yes, take off my eyebrow for the character. Do whatever you want!” It was amazing.
What was it like to work with Jeff Bridges on the movie?
BEAU: Working with Jeff Bridges was fantastic. I only had to do a few scenes with him, but he is such a doll. He’s the easiest of people to work with. It never felt intimidating to work with him; it was easy and fun.
And what was it like to work with the director, Joseph Kosinski?
BEAU: Joe has created a film that will blow people away. He is a genius. He had a great vision for this movie and he gave us loads of freedom to play around with our characters, so it was a really collaborative process. This is Joe’s first movie and he’s nailed it. He’s got a quiet, strong presence about him, but he’s created an incredibly detailed and mysterious world. I was overwhelmed when I saw the first finished shots. The music takes you away and the visuals are amazing. You’re going to love it!
TRON: LEGACY is now available on Blu-ray 3D, Blu-ray, DVD and Movie Download.