Olivia Wilde dishes the Tron: Legacy family

Oct 26, 2010 at 11:44 a.m. ET

SheKnows is in Venice, California at Digital Domain, the home of modern special effects wizardry, to update you on the upcoming film Tron: Legacy, the glossy, technically-forward sequel to the 1982 ground-breaking film Tron. Our overall impression? If you threw out all the amazing production design, costuming and state-of-the-art motion capture, at its core, the film is about family -- forming it, missing it, keeping it and fighting for it.

After seeing clips from the film, we're in a casual office setting getting great info on the actors' personal families and their characters' relationships, challenges faced on set, their opinions on the pros and cons of all our modern tech gadgetry and we're asking how would a computer program and a human user hook up anyway...Or can they? Olivia Wilde, who plays computer program Quorra, clues us in.

Olivia Wilde in Tron: Legacy

Later, in Part 2, we chat with Jeff Bridges [Flynn] and Bruce Boxleitner [Alan Bradley (Tron)] who were in the original film about a programmer sucked into the world of the video game he has created. We have more from hot lead young actor Garrett Hedlund [Sam Flynn] and wonderful actor Michael Sheen [flamboyant club owner Castor].

Now, let's join Olivia. Read on or be "derezzed."

Tron: Legacy's leading lady

SheKnows: Olivia, Garrett has said that he has a newfound respect for somebody who can do a high roundhouse kick in four-inch heels. That would be you, of course.

Olivia Wilde: [Laughs] Well, when we first all got into our [light] suits, there were a lot of jokes about "turning each other on."

Olivia Wilde, Tron's director and Jeff Bridges

SheKnows: Why will women especially enjoy Tron: Legacyand your character Quorra?

Olivia Wilde: Women will enjoy the vehicles, the effects, the family story, the performances and the fashion. [The movie] is very interesting and futuristic in its fashion and also in the design of the film from the streets of the Grid to the lines of the suits and hair. I think women will empathize with Quorra because she is not just a sexy vixen. She's not the temptress. She's not there to serve the men as eye candy which can happen all too often in sci-fi films. She's, on her own, quite powerful. She is unique in her child-like innocence. She's enthusiastic and quirky and awkward in an enjoyable way and she's really smart. I think women will like that.

SheKnows: Would you go as far as saying she's a role model for young women?

Olivia Wilde: Yes. I think young women will, hopefully, look up to her and have her as a role model in a time when I think there is a lack of sci-fi female role models for kids. When I was little it was Wonder Woman [The 1970s TV show with Lynda Carter in the role] and she stood for social justice and truth. Who now do kids have to dress up as for Halloween who stands for social justice and truth? They dress up as princesses. That's boring. So I think that Quorra will hopefully be that for young women. I was grateful I was able to make her like that. It would have been quite easy to make her just the sexy character.

Olivia WildeWomen & Sci-Fi

SheKnows: Do you consider yourself a geek or sci-fi geek?

Olivia Wilde: Yeah. I think nerd would be a better term because geek implies that I have some sort of expertise in the technological or gaming world and I'm completely naive about that but I'm a total nerd because, coming into a project like Tron, you could have focused on the cool cars and sexy suits. I was thinking, "Oh, Quorra is Joan of Arc. She's an ancient Buddhist-Korean warrior." I was bringing in all these elements that, thank God, our creative team was so receptive to. But, I completely nerded out. We're all nerds in this movie so we did well together.

SheKnows: Did you know about the original Tron? Had you seen it?

Olivia Wilde: Yeah. What struck me about the original Tron was it's very funny and it was so unusual. I think the look of it is actually quite beautiful. The black and white with the colors in the suits. That was a beautiful choice and very revolutionary at the time. CG had never been used before like that. Tron became part of the cultural fabric of the last 30 years. It's been showing up in everything from Family Guy to The Simpsons to Chuck. Even if you haven't seen it, it's not something that you wouldn't be aware of. Like a lot of people still haven't seen Star Wars but they feel like they have because it's part of the earth now.

SheKnows: Tron: Legacy is full of electronic gadgets and imagery. Do you think that our electronic gadgets are just distancing kids, teens and even adults from each other or is it just a phase we're going through?

Olivia Wilde: It's interesting, it's doing two things at once. It's definitely distancing us from each other but it's also bringing us together. If you think back to what it was like to communicate with someone across the world just ten years ago, and now I chat with someone in China. It's being used in schools where instead of just having pen pals, kids have whole classes that they communicate with in other nations. That's where technology is working well and for the good of humanity. I think the message of the film is that you have to embrace what is valuable and good about being human and harness the power of technology only in the most positive way. We need to recognize how easy it is to lose yourself to the technology and how we mustn't lose what it is to be human. The end message is that there is some redemption for those of us who have been swallowed by technology.

Olivia Wilde's hi-tech favorites

SheKnows: What is your personal use of modern technology?

Olivia Wilde: I'm stuck to my phone. I need the Internet. I forget what life was like before Google and I've certainly taken advantage of what it's done for the ease of life. But I do enjoy taking a hiatus from it once in a while. You suddenly realize how stress-free you feel. Recently, I was looking for a business in a city and someone said, "I can look in the phone book," and I was appalled. "What? Why? Give me my phone and I'll find it in a second." So, you can see how much it's changed.

SheKnows: Quorra is actually a program inside the computer grid. What is it like for an actress to play that?

Olivia Wilde: When you are playing a non-human character, you can't focus on not being human. Joan of Arc was my main source of inspiration for her. She seemed to be from another world. She was a 14-year-old leading the French army. She thought she was communicating with God so she was working for a higher purpose, completely selfless and she was strangely powerful and fearless. That's how I wanted Quorra to feel; that she is very emotional and compassionate in the way that humans are but connected to something else and she's physically more powerful than a human. She is probably the most interesting character that I've ever played and I really enjoyed doing the research for her. Maybe I'll get to play her again.

SheKnows: Okay, let's get down to the good stuff. If Quorra is a program and Garrett's character Sam Flynn is human and they get hot for each other, how is that going to work?

Olivia Wilde: [Laughs] I know! That's the looming question. They are almost like siblings in a way. Quorra had been Flynn's companion and student for hundreds of years inside the Grid. He's kind of adopted her. Two hundred years there is like 20 years in the User world. He's adopted her almost like a daughter and suddenly his son has arrived. All Quorra has wanted her entire life was to meet Sam Flynn. Just like we humans don't really believe in the Tron world, those in the Tron world don't really believe in humans. They could be a myth. Which reality is real? So, she's believed in Sam Flynn like you would believe in a God. So, when he arrives, she's amazed and in awe but she needs to protect him. She's discovering all these emotions and feelings of attraction and love that she never understood. So, it remains to be seen what would happen if they actually tried to procreate. We'll see!

Come back October 28 for Part 2 of our Tron: Legacyexclusive sneak peek, with the men of Tron: Legacy!