In Part 2 of our coverage of Tron: Legacy, SheKnows is in Venice, California at award-winning special effects house Digital Domain for our exclusive talks with the cast of the upcoming film Tron: Legacy; the glossy, technically-forward sequel to the 1982 ground-breaking film Tron.
We’re chatting 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. For this exciting sequel, Tron: Legacy, cutting edge CGI has de-aged the two actors, in several scenes, back to 1982.
The Tron guys let us know that, although it was a very weird feeling to sit in a screening room and watch their younger selves act in a new movie, they both thought it was really neat and hope that, in future, Hollywood powers-that-be will deem an actor’s motion capture performance to be on equal footing with a straight-on portrayal.
First, we have the latest from hot lead young actor Garrett Hedlund [Sam Flynn] and Jeff. Later, we’re with Bruce and versatile actor Michael Sheen [flamboyant club owner Castor] and both men talk about family.
Tron men move us
SheKnows: Garrett, what was your biggest challenge on the movie?
Garrett Hedlund: I hadn’t done a project where I had to be on set every day all day. I was always a supporting character trying to write his role bigger. I’d heard other actors talking about that first [lead] film and how it changed their work ethic and their focus and concentration and also their energy which you have to conserve and sustain and find that reserve tank somewhere. It was a difficult, long shoot but also wonderful and challenging.
SheKnows: Did you and Jeff get together to discuss playing father and son before the film started shooting?
Garrett Hedlund: We had an initial lunch in Los Angeles but we all went to Vancouver two and a half weeks before shooting and every day, for eight hours, we were sitting there hashing over the script and improvising a bit to see if there was any way we could add some inflections to a scene that was already on paper and bring it a bit more of an improvisational feel.
Jeff Bridges: I’ve got three daughters but my brother has got some boys and my sister does. But, I can look at Garrett and say, “Oh yeah. I can see that this might be my son.” Something about him reminds me of myself.
Garrett Hedlund: And something about him reminds me of who I want to be. [Jeff thanks him]. But between takes we’d play this game called Pigs, a game that Jeff had. I’d be like, “Is that a snouter?” “No! That’s a double leaning jowler [laughs].”
Jeff Bridges: You’ll have to Google that. It’s on my site, Pigs. It’s in the “Stuff” section.
SheKnows: Garrett, did you play video games or arcade games as a kid?
Garrett Hedlund: I was a Duck Hunt and Mario guy. I was never technologically driven. I never had all the cool, new toys. I was the youngest child. I wasn’t the only child, so I wasn’t spoiled as a kid. We were on the farm, so we didn’t have a lot. Also, I’m not very good with computers. I just check my email.
SheKnows: Bruce [Boxleitner] we understand that you get digitized into the younger Tron in the film just as Jeff is “turned into” his younger self as Flynn? Is that right?
Bruce Boxleitner: There is a lot of past story told and they’ve done it very cleverly. It’s not that easy getting that past look. We were just a little older looking in this film than the original Tron. [In the backstory sections] we are supposed to be like five years older so we don’t look that much older in those scenes.
SheKnows: What do you think, as an actor, about this motion capture thing? Is your “avatar” really you acting?
Bruce Boxleitner: I wonder when the older establishment of the motion picture industry is going to recognize this motion capture thing is acting as well as you and I talking here as if we were two actors on a set. It doesn’t affect your performance. You are still looking in the eyes of another being and it is a performance. The acting community is split on it. Is it acting? Of course it is. It’s not voice-over even. I’m a proponent of thinking of it as acting.
SheKnows: Makes sense. In the original Tron, when you got into this “light suit,” it was a totally different look than any other film. Did you feel like you were cutting edge or just silly looking?
Bruce Boxleitner: Well, once I had taken [the role], I met Steven [Lisberger, original Tron director] and Harrison Ellenshaw and all the guys making the movie and they showed me footage they had done with someone in the suit, walking, running around, climbing and doing the things I’d be doing. Then I realized that this was something very, very different. Star Wars had come out and it was cool. I was one of the many young guys then who tried out for those roles. I was like “Well, I didn’t get Luke Skywalker so by God, I’d better grab this one!” [Laughs]. I’m so thankful that they took the time to show me what I’d be doing because the script was a harder ‘read’ than most.
SheKnows: How did they explain your dual character of Tron and Alan Bradley back in the 1980’s?
Bruce Boxleitner: They related it to pop characters. I was sort of the Clark Kentish character in that one. I was Clark Kent as Alan Bradley and, on the Tron Grid, I was Superman. I thought of it in those terms. But, this is as exciting to me. I’m a small part of this one but my part is the conduit from the past to this one. We’ll give people off the street enough information on the past story that this comes from. But it will stand alone if you haven’t seen the original.
SheKnows: Let’s talk family. You get the idea that Alan is a surrogate dad for Flynn’s son Sam.
Bruce Boxleitner: Yeah. I have three sons and a stepson and even a Sam. Sam Boxleitner is my oldest son. He was brought onto the original set as a little baby. Jeff has girls. I kept saying, “How is it that you have all these daughters and I have all the boys?”
Up next…the men of Tron talk their own family, wives and the Legacy of Tron.