This is part of an interview series provided by Walt Disney:
AN INTERVIEW WITH JEFF BRIDGES FOR TRON: LEGACY
Hi Jeff! How would you describe the story of TRON: Legacy?
BRIDGES: TRON: Legacy is a father and son story set in a crazy computer world. It’s the sequel to a movie that was made 28 years ago!
How much fun did you have shooting TRON: Legacy?
BRIDGES: The movie was a lot of fun to film because every day was different. Some days, we’d be working on a sound stage with an amazing set. Other days, I’d be walking around a huge, empty warehouse wearing a leotard with little balls all over it.
That sounds a little crazy…
BRIDGES: It was very crazy and very bizarre, but it was a fun challenge because that’s how the special effects were shot. My face was covered with 100 tiny dots and I wore a helmet with two antennas sticking out of it. I am used to acting in costume, but this was very different. I soon learned to get used to it, though.
How has technology changed since you made the original movie?
BRIDGES: The first TRON movie was made nearly 30 years ago. Back then, there was no internet and there were no cell phones. There were no personal computers either. It was a completely different world.
How did you shoot the special effects for the original movie?
BRIDGES: It was all very basic back then. There was a lot of adhesive tape and tennis balls used on the set of the first film. TRON: Legacy benefits from advancements in technology since then. It’s a completely different world now.
When did you first hear about the sequel?
BRIDGES: There’s been a rumor of a TRON sequel going around Hollywood ever since the first movie was released. I kept waiting and waiting to get a script, but I never heard anything until a couple of years ago. I think Disney was very wise to wait for the right script and the right story, but it’s here now.
What went through your mind when you heard a script was on its way?
BRIDGES: I was overjoyed. To be honest, I was very excited when I heard about the original movie – and I had the same excitement when I found out that the sequel was going to be made. I couldn’t wait to read what was going to happen.
How was the original movie pitched to you?
BRIDGES: The original movie appealed to the kid in me. They said, “Do you want to play a guy who gets sucked inside a computer? We’ll be using lots of cutting edge technology to shoot the film and it’s going to be very different to anything else you’ve seen at the movies.” It was like being invited over to the house of the kid who’s got all the latest gadgets and games. I immediately said to them, “I’m in!”
How was the sequel pitched to you?
BRIDGES: The director told me it was going to be a father and son story, and he said we were going to be using cutting edge filming techniques again. It sounded great to me.
Did you hesitate before signing up for the sequel?
BRIDGES: Oh, sure. I hesitate before I sign up for anything, but I was extremely excited about the prospect of the sequel. I thought to myself, ‘I can’t wait to mess around with all that great, cutting edge technology. I can’t wait to see what the visual effects will be like now.’
What made you hesitate?
BRIDGES: I wanted to make sure the story of the sequel was strong. I knew there was going to be a lot of visual candy, but you need to care about the characters for a movie to work. As soon as I heard the story was going to be a father and son adventure, I knew it was going to work out.
Is it true that you kept your TRON helmet from the original movie?
BRIDGES: I kept the helmet and the leotard from the original film and I actually wore it for Halloween one year. I dressed up as my character, Kevin Flynn, and walked around! It got a lot of strange looks, but I didn’t care.
What science-fiction books and movies were you into when you were young?
BRIDGES: As a kid, I loved science fiction. When I was growing up, I read books by Ray Bradbury and Robert Heinlein – and I’ve always loved science fiction movies. I don’t think you can get a much better movie than 2001. However, I also like the movie Starman, which I appeared in. Science fiction is great.
Are you into video games?
BRIDGES: I was really into video games when we made the original TRON. The walls of the soundstage where we shot the original movie were lined with video games and they were all free. You didn’t have to put any money in them.
That sounds amazing…
BRIDGES: It was great! Everyone would be playing them all day long. The crew would come up to me and say, “Come on, Jeff… We need you on set.” And I’d reply, “I’m preparing, man. I’m getting into character.”
Do you play many video games now?
BRIDGES: I don’t play too many video games now. I feel like I’ve fallen away from technology. I have a love-hate relationship with the internet, although I have a website that I like to play around with.
We’ve heard a rumor that you’re interested in photography…
BRIDGES: I am! I usually take photos on the set of all my movies. In fact, you can see some of the shots on my website.
Did you take many pictures on the set of TRON: Legacy?
BRIDGES: I wanted to take lots of pictures, but the lighting was very dark on the set. I didn’t take as many pictures as I usually take, but there are a few out there.
What advice do you have for aspiring photographers?
BRIDGES: I don’t know if I have any advice! Just keep taking pictures of things you think are interesting. That’s how I started out.
And what advice would you give to aspiring actors?
BRIDGES: Train hard and practice your craft. Get involved in all aspects of drama, but keep on trying because it’s a tough industry to crack. Good luck!
TRON: LEGACY is Available on Blu-ray 3D, Blu-ray, DVD and Movie Download April 5th!