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TRON: Legacy

TRON: Legacy is a 3D high-tech adventure set in a digital world that’s unlike anything ever captured on the big screen. Sam Flynn (Garrett Hedlund), a rebellious 27-year-old, is haunted by the mysterious disappearance of his father Kevin Flynn (Jeff Bridges), a man once known as the world’s leading video-game developer.
 
When Sam investigates a strange signal sent from the old Flynn’s Arcade—a signal that could only come from his father—he finds himself pulled into a digital world where Kevin has been trapped for 20 years. With the help of the fearless warrior Quorra (Olivia Wilde), father and son embark on a life-or-death journey across a visually-stunning cyber universe—a universe created by Kevin himself that has become far more advanced with never-before-imagined vehicles, weapons, landscapes and a ruthless villain who will stop at nothing to prevent their escape.
 
The impeccably designed and visually innovative creations of director Joseph Kosinski have quickly made him a highly sought-after commercial and feature film director. His work, which specializes in merging live action with purely digital elements, represents a fusion of skills stemming from Kosinski's background in architecture, product design, engineering and music. He answers some questions about the adventure that is TRON: Legacy.
 
What is the human story of TRON: Legacy ?
 
TRON: Legacy is a story that, I think, is very applicable today. It’s a story about finding human connection in a digital world. And in this case, it’s the story of Sam Flynn, whose father disappeared 20 years ago, and Sam is now retracing his father’s footsteps, trying to solve the mystery of where he went.”
 
How important is it to have Jeff Bridges back as Kevin Flynn?
 
“I don't think this movie would exist without Jeff Bridges, and I certainly don't think I would have been interested in doing it without his involvement. He came onboard very early, when I was just pitching the test piece that we wound up showing at Comic-Con two years ago. He signed up and agreed to participate, based solely on a very loose pitch I gave him about the movie. He’s the core of this film, everything orbits around him. And we're lucky enough to have him playing two characters in this movie, so he is invaluable to the project.
 
What do Garrett Hedlund as Sam and Olivia Wilde as Quorra bring to the cast?
 
“Garrett had the impossible task of carrying this movie on his shoulders; he’s really in every scene, from the beginning of the movie to the end. And he has to play the son of Jeff Bridges’ character, Kevin Flynn. Jeff is such an interesting actor with so many particular qualities, and finding a young actor who embodies all of those things was a challenge. Additionally, the actor needed to carry this movie and have not only the physicality, but also the acting chops required to do a scene with actors the caliber of Jeff Bridges and Michael Sheen. Garrett is just fantastic—he’s an amazing find and he did an incredible job. And with Olivia, well, it’s a funny thing. The Disney casting director sent me her headshot on the very first day we started exploring options for who could play Quorra, and I brought her in. She was the first actress I met—I ended up meeting 50 or 60 different actresses, but she was the first. And after that first meeting, I realized that she had that unique combination of qualities—very smart, very funny, a terrific actress with a stunning look—that embodied
what I wanted Quorra to be. So, I feel very fortunate to have both of them in the picture.
 
You come to this project with several awards for your work, along with an amazing sense of visual storytelling. What about your background do you think makes you the director to take on TRON: Legacy ?
 
“I think every director is a combination of their upbringing and their interests. Growing up, I thought I was going to be a mechanical engineer…astronaut, jazz musician, there were a couple different interests I had. I look at filmmaking as a combination of all those things. I ended up going to architecture school and studying industrial design. Another thing that really excites me about making this movie is the ability to create a world from scratch. And because the grid was created by Kevin Flynn, this world has to feel as if every detail was done by one person. So it was a challenge, a master design problem, to create an entire world that felt like it had come from the hand of one designer. Vehicles, architecture, landscapes, props, furniture—from the prospective of a designer, it was a dream come true to assemble a team composed of artists I considered the best in every field, and to bring them together in one amazing art department. It was fascinating to watch how, over time, the design ideas began to coalesce. At one point it became impossible to distinguish which artist was executing which design, because they all had really embraced the esthetic I was going for. Ostensibly, they really operated like one big brain, which was a really cool thing to watch.”
 
What did the man responsible for the original TRON , Steve Lisberger, create that still attracts fans today?
 
“Steve Lisberger had a unique vision, and he had amazing collaborators. He had Syd Mead, who I think was one of the greatest concept designers of all time, and Jean Moebus Giraud, another amazing concept illustrator. He had these two superstars together working on this movie with him. And that's why the movie looks as unbelievable as it does. Now, people know that the technique utilized in TRON was out of the ordinary—the way they basically made a movie look digital using handcrafted methods, which is just mind-boggling. For instance, every frame of the film inside the computer had to be hand-painted and traced out. Our approach is basically the opposite. We're trying to make a digital world look as real as possible by using real sets and real suits. Like I said, I think Steve’s movie was conceptually ahead of its time, maybe almost too far ahead of its time. I think audiences just couldn't connect to the notions he was presenting at that point. Now, those ideas are things we take for granted. Finally, from a technical aspect, it was the first film to use computer graphics extensively. In fact, it was disqualified from the Academy Awards that year because they considered using a computer cheating. Thinking about that now, you realize that they were ahead of the curve. Similarly, it was our goal with TRON: Legacy to push technology, but in a way that’s story-driven. We’re telling a story that just couldn’t be told up until now.”
 
What's the soundscape of TRON: Legacy ?
 
“The soundscape of TRON: Legacy [has been created by] Daft Punk, who are a French electronic duo. They are huge TRON fans, and you can see in their live shows, the influence the original TRON and the music of Wendy Carlos had on them. I had heard very early in the process that they were interested, so we met in Los Angeles, where they more or less interviewed me: they wanted to know what my approach was going to be, because they held the original so near and dear to their hearts. We talked a lot about the look, the feel, the theme of the movie. So now, we've been working on the music for almost three years—it’s so integral to the film, so tied to the picture. It’s a combination of orchestral music, electronic music, granular music, a layering blend that sometimes blurs the line between music and sound design in a really interesting way. They've been amazing collaborators and partners in this process, and it’s been a great pleasure working with them.”
 
See Tron: Legacy in IMAX at The Melbourne Museum. There’s a midnight screening next Wednesday December 15 and tickets are on sale now from imaxmelbourne.com.au.