Friday, April 1, 2011

Jeff Bridges' TRON: Legacy Interview, Part 1

Walt Disney provided this interview for the general press:


What was your initial reaction when you heard that Disney was interested in making a sequel to TRON?

BRIDGES: There have been rumors of a TRON sequel circulating for many years. The first rumor probably started about 20 years ago, so I gave up on the idea because it never looked like it was going to happen. I guess Disney had the sequel on its back burners and they weren’t satisfied with any of the scripts that turned up over the years, so they waited and waited. I’m very happy they did because they held out to find the right guy to be at the helm: director Joseph Kosinski. I think they really found a terrific leader in Joe, and they also found a terrific script.

What makes Joseph Kosinski a great director?

BRIDGES: It’s always interesting to discover where a director comes from, whether he’s a writer, an actor or whatever. Joe was an architect and to have an architect at the helm of this movie was terrific. He was up to date with all of the modern techniques in special effects and he had a great visual style. He was also terrific with actors and he had great ideas. When this project was presented to me, I thought to myself, ‘This sounds like something I would love to do.’ The first movie tickled the kid in me – and the sequel did exactly the same. I get to play a guy who is sucked inside a computer and I get to play with all of the new toys that we have available to us with modern technology and filmmaking. To be involved with something so cutting edge was extremely exciting to me. I jumped at the chance to sign up.

What did you think of having Garrett Hedlund play Kevin Flynn’s son in the movie?

BRIDGES: Garrett is a great guy. I have three daughters and no sons, but when I look at Garrett, I can see that he could be my son. There’s something about him that reminds me of myself, which is why casting him as my son was perfect. He was a joy to work with and I think he did an amazing job in TRON: Legacy. He’s going to go far.

How does it feel to see people excited about the world of TRON again?

BRIDGES: It feels great. It’s very exciting. I have taken a number of trips to Comic-Con with TRON: Legacy over the last few years and you can really feel the energy of the fans at events like that. They have been really excited about the project. In fact, the fans have been an integral part in getting the TRON world back together. A few years ago, we went to Comic-Con to test a couple of minutes of film with audiences. The director, the production designer and our special effects supervisor joined forces to give audiences a two-minute taste of what the movie might be like if this project could fly and to see if people really wanted to see it. The audience really enjoyed that Disney felt they wanted to make this fantastic world come to life again. Comic-Con was very instrumental in getting this movie made.

What was the most challenging aspect of the film shoot?

BRIDGES: As an actor, I really enjoy costumes, sets and makeup. These elements inform your performance and you learn to count on them. However, a lot of TRON: Legacy was filmed without costumes, without makeup and without sets. When you don’t have these things around you, you’re thrown back to your childhood – to the time when you were a little kid playing in the garden. Back then, you didn’t have a castle and you didn’t have a sword. You had to use a stick as a sword and your castle was a box. It was all in your mind. That’s exactly what we had to do in this movie. We had to play ‘pretend’ because we didn’t have the costumes or the sets or the props. It was fascinating.

Do you ask a lot of questions when you work on a film set in an alternate universe with its own rules?

BRIDGES: Oh, sure. I ask a lot of questions with whatever film I’m working on – and the director is always the guy to go to.

What kind of questions did you ask about TRON: Legacy?

BRIDGES: Joe Kosinski was very inclusive because he allowed me into the writing process and the development of the story. I was interested in creating a modern myth, so I didn’t want the movie to just be about design and the battles. I wanted the movie to have something to say and I wanted the story to be enthralling and captivating.

What appealed to you the most in the movie’s script?

BRIDGES: One of the things that drew me to this movie was a chance to be part of creating a modern day myth. Myths are so important for us to help navigate the treacherous waters of being alive. Each age has its own challenges and I feel that technology is certainly one of ours.

Are you not happy with today’s technology?

BRIDGES: In some ways, technology is wonderful – but there is a darker side to it that we don’t examine as much as we should. We need to think about the ramifications of what we’re doing. We drink water from plastic bottles that we think are biodegradable, but then we discover that they last for hundreds of years. We bitch about oil spills, but every year we put 100 million tons of plastic into the ocean. That’s worse than the awful oil spill in 2010. I think it’s a matter of educating people and thinking about where we want to go with technology – and what we want to do with it. We could use it in beautiful ways, but I think it’s natural for us to want immediate gratification.

Are there any positive aspects to advances in technology?

BRIDGES: What are the good things about technology? Like most things in life, technology is a double-edged sword. When we made the first TRON movie, there was no internet. Now, it’s a huge part of our everyday lives. The internet gives us the chance to link up and be connected – and that’s a great thing.

Can you survive without the internet?

BRIDGES: Listen, I don’t Tweet. I don’t Facebook. I don’t do any of that stuff. It’s all too much. I have a website and I draw, but that’s about it. I went to the internet because I thought it would be a way to release an album that I created years ago. I can put it out there in the world and then I get messages from people in places like Russia saying, “I dig your thing, man.” That’s exciting. That’s a positive thing that technology can do. That’s a positive link. I’m very happy about that. Very happy indeed.

TRON: LEGACY is Available on Blu-ray 3D, Blu-ray, DVD and Movie Download April 5th!

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