*In 1982 the film “Tron” was released after a great deal of publicity. It was supposed to be the next great science fiction phenomenon. But, alas, it was celebrated and criticized with equal ferver. However, it’s notoriety and legend would grow over the years to the point where it would achieve cult classic status among science fiction enthusiasts.
“Tron” appears to have come full circle with the release of “Tron: Legacy,” starring Jeff Bridges as Kevin Flynn, and his maniacal alter-ego Clu. EURweb.com was on hand for the film’s Los Angeles press junket and had representation at it’s Vibe magazine sponsored New York screening as well. Wall to wall coverage for what had been called one of the most highly anticipated sequels of the past 28 years.
“I was the same guy,” said Bridges, whose character Clu is retro-aged to appear young while his character Flynn looks all of 50 years old. “Just feels like a long weekend. It was great having the original writer and director on scene. Having him there was great, to have that through line to say ‘Wow, here we are again.’
Colors and CGI incorporated into the film were of such vibrance that visual effects tantalized to the point where you almost thought you could taste them as they danced across the screen.
“What appealed to me, what drew me to the original movie was quite similar to what drew me to this one and that was being able to explore the most up-to-date technology my industry has to offer. Back then has nothing on what they can do now. You can make movies without cameras, what a bizarre thing. That was very different and similar at the same time working with all the neat technology. The original was shot in 70mm black and white and hand tinted into color in Korea by a bunch of ladies.”
Since its release nearly 30 years ago the original “Tron” has held a lofty status in American pop culture and has been parodied in several sitcoms and cartoons (Family Guy and The Simpsons). It was obvious that people wanted more. Bridges told reporters that he was aware of the whispers of a sequel, but didn’t pay them much attention. That is until he got the script Disney felt was right.
“How long ago was the first one 20 … almost 30 years? God! There’s been rumors for the last 25 years that this was going to happen, but I’m really glad Disney held off until we got the right script, and they get the right director. The script was another thing,” he explained. “I thought it was time to make a movie about a myth. I think we could use some myths to help us navigate our modern times and this technology that we have now.”
Bridges told reporters that he has his own myths that need addressing as well, as do well all.
“The parental myth,” he continued. “I’ve got these wonderful parents and maybe its the myth of carrying that on. Myths are wonderful, aren’t they? They really tell the stories that connect with all of us and teaches us all kinds of things. This movie is about it. The continuation of what your father gives you. And I always thought of my Mom and Dad as being in a relay race and me taking on the baton and carrying on their work. I think that’s kind of what’s going on here. You know, this technology that we have is a wonderful thing, but like most things it’s a double-edged sword. It can bring us together or drive us further apart. I know I can feel it in myself. I’m big on immediate gratification. I want what I want and I want it now, and all this technology makes it available. That’s the trap, man!”
The actor came across as extremely laid back and folksy, if you will. Having never met the man before we found him to be refreshing and genuine. Here, he continues talking about why technology can be a double whammy.
“Like this thing here,” he said as he picked up a bottled water. “Some where along the line somebody thought it was a good idea to have these little bottles so you can have water whenever you want. It cost more than gasoline for one thing, plus single use plastic doesn’t biodegrade. It goes into the ocean, breaks down as microscopic creatures eat it, and the fish eat it, the birds eat it, and we eat it and it pollutes our whole little dust spec. So, we’ve gotta have a little longer thinking about that. And when those temptations come up acknowledge them. Don’t vilify people for having those things because I think we all have those. I know I have them. I can certainly feel that in myself. Maybe this is a little cautionary tale, this film. You know? Watch it, slow down guys!”
As some may already know, Jeff Bridges is the progeny of famous parents. His father was actor Lloyd Bridges, his mother is Susan Bridges and his big brother is Beau Bridges. He says he was “directed” to cross into show business and had to be convinced of its merits.
“My father, who was really gung-ho about passing the entertainment business and show biz on to his (children), he loved all aspects of it; what we’re doing here, making the movie, all the travel, working with the other artists, he loved it. There’s a flipside to all that. As a kid growing up, number one, you don’t want to do what your parents tell you to do. You want to be exactly the opposite, and you certainly don’t want to be a product of nepotism, which I am. I don’t know if I would be doing this if my Dad didn’t say ‘Come on, come on! With ‘Seahunt’ he would say ‘Hey, there’s a kid in this show’ and I would be like ‘Awww, I don’t know.’ He would say ‘You get to be out of school, buy some toys.’ But then, as a teenager when your friends are judging you ‘Oh, he thinks he’s so hot because his Dad is so and so.’ You don’t want that. There’s a down side to all of it. For me, I had done like ten films before I decided ‘Yeah, I’m going to do this.’ I kind of resisted it quite a bit. So, with my own kids I decided not to be so proactive about what they’re going to do with their lives and let them figure it out themselves and I’m kind of sorry I did that.”
“Tron: The Legacy” opens in theaters nationwide today. In addition to Bridges, the film also stars Garret Hedlund and Olivia Wilde. The sequel is based on characters created by Steven Lisberger and is directed by first timer Joseph Kosinski. It cost $200 million to make and is projected to bring in around $60 million in its opening weekend.