Fresh from winning his first Best Actor Oscar for “Crazy Heart,” Jeff Bridges now returns to the screen in the dual roles of Kevin Flynn and Clu in Walt Disney Pictures' high-tech 3D adventure “TRON: Legacy.”
In the film, brilliant videogame designer Kevin Flynn always wanted the best of both worlds—digital and real. After he became the first human being to enter the astonishing digital world of the Grid, he decided that the best way to achieve that was to combine the two. So, he created the sophisticated CLU 2.0 program and used it in secret to help him design a Utopian existence that combined the highest ideals of the human and digital worlds. The daytime corporate wunderkind became the nighttime builder of the Grid. Then, one day in 1989, Kevin Flynn mysteriously disappeared.
Now, he has discovered first-hand how true the warning ‘be careful what you wish for’ is—trapped in the world of his own creation, all he can do is wait and hope that something will change and he will once again have a chance to return to his home and son.
Q: What's it like to approach a character 27 years later?
Jeff Bridges: I never thought of it in those terms, really. I never thought of it as playing the same guy. He hasn’t changed all that much. Well, maybe some of his enthusiasm for technology has been dampened a little bit. After all, he’s trapped inside a computer, so perhaps some of that fondness he had for his technology…maybe reflecting on it, he might think, “Perhaps there are some other things in life that I should have been paying attention to.”
Q: With all of that technology, what's the human story of “TRON: Legacy”?
Bridges: Well, one of the elements of the story is just what we were talking about, technology. It’s so exciting to come to realize all the things that you can do. And what's happening with technology is that it is developing so fast that we haven’t really developed any ethics to go along with it, or knowledge of what some of the ramifications of this technology will be.
Q: What about this project that attracts such attention from the sci-fi world?
Bridges: The fans have been so wonderful, they've really given birth to the film “TRON: Legacy.” Two years ago we showed a small portion of what this film might be, a test reel, and it got such a great reaction from the fans that Disney got behind the project. One of the things that I know attracted me to the first “TRON” and this one as well is that it’s really creating a myth for modern times. Myths can help us to navigate some of our challenges in our life. And as we were talking before, technology is a tremendous challenge, because we're so attracted to things that give us instant gratification.
Q: What's the biggest difference in filming the original “TRON” and now “TRON: Legacy”?
Bridges: Well, 27 years ago, the original was a very cutting-edge movie. Of course looking back, it looks like an old black-and-white TV show. But at the time we were making the original “TRON,” there was no Internet. Our cell phones were these things we carried around in big suitcases. We shot that movie in 70 millimeter black-and-white, and then it was sent to Korea, where a bunch of technicians hand-tinted all the frames to make the suits glow. Now in “TRON: Legacy,” again it’s cutting-edge technology. We're the next-generation of 3D cinematography after “Avatar.” It takes the technology that Jim Cameron came up with to the next level. Now, our suits actually do glow, and they throw light on the other actors, so they’re practical. I think one of the really great things that director Joseph Kosinski, being an architect, brought with him was the ability to marry actual sets with CGI sets. It’s very hard for the audience to tell where one ends and one begins.
Q: Through film technology, you act opposite your younger self. How did that work? As an actor, is that liberating?
Bridges: I love going to movies myself, and whenever I see a big epic film where the character has aged from being a young boy to an old man, traditionally there are different actors playing him in those stages. That’s always a little bump for me as I’m sitting there, when they change from one actor to the next. But now as an actor myself, it’s very gratifying to know that I can play myself or the character that I'm playing at any age, from an infant to an old man. That’s really exciting, especially to be part of this groundbreaking technology.
(Distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures Philippines, “TRON: Legacy” will open across the country on Dec. 17 in IMAX 3D, Digital 3D and regular formats.)