Academy Award winner Jeff Bridges didn’t find it too difficult to play two characters – Kevin Flynn and the villainous Clu – in Tron: Legacy.
“The director (Joseph Kosinski) did his best to separate the days where I played Flynn and Clu, which made the work much easier. The makeup process was very different for each of the characters, so it was much better to separate the days and keep these two apart,” said Bridges, 61, when discussing 2010’s Tron: Legacy – debuting today on DVD and Blu-Ray – which grossed $398 million internationally [Additionally, a 5-disc box set entitled The Ultimate Tron Experience containing the Blu-Ray 3D, Blu-Ray, DVD, a digital copy of Tron: Legacy, and 1982’s Tron (now called Tron: The Original Classic) in collectible packaging will also be released today].
When it came to getting the likeness of Clu down, Bridges gave Kosinski and the special effects team family photos of himself through the years.
“The same guys who worked on (2008’s The Curious Case of Benjamin Button) came in and worked on Clu. When they first arrived, they brought along Brad Pitt’s head in a glass box and they set it down on the table,” explained Bridges. “It was uncanny. It wasn’t like a wax head that you might see in a museum. In fact, it looked like Brad Pitt’s head had been cut off and it was just sitting there. You were waiting for him to say, ‘Hi.’ It was so realistic.”
Tron: Legacy occurs more than 20 years after the events of 1982’s Tron, which also starred Bridges and became a cult hit. The plot centers around Kevin Flynn, a software engineer who was the CEO of ENCOM International and creator of the popular video game Tron. Kevin disappeared in 1989 while developing a virtual frontier that would “reshape humanity” called the Grid.
His son Sam (Garrett Hedlund, Country Strong), now the majority owner of ENCOM, finds himself transported to the Grid, the virtual world Kevin created and has been forced to reside all that time. There, he is reunited with his long-lost father and the two join forces to bring down Clu (which stands for Codified Likeness Utility), who rules the Grid.
“Garrett is a great guy,” complimented Bridges. “I have three daughters and no sons, but when I look at Garrett, I can see that he could be my son. There’s something about him that reminds me of myself, which is why casting him as my son was perfect. He was a joy to work with and I think he did an amazing job in Tron: Legacy.”
Bridges also had high praise for Kosinski, whom he felt was the right fit for the long-awaited sequel, rumors of which began not long after the 1982 original.
“I guess Disney had the sequel on its backburners and they weren’t satisfied with any of the scripts that turned up over the years, so they waited and waited,” explained Bridges. “I’m very happy they did because they held out to find the right guy to be at the helm. I think they really found a terrific leader in Joe, and they also found a terrific script.”
Bridges continued, “It’s always interesting to discover where a director comes from, whether he’s a writer, an actor or whatever. Joe was an architect and to have an architect at the helm of this movie was terrific. He was up to date with all of the modern techniques in special effects and he had a great visual style. He was also terrific with actors and he had great ideas.”
He pointed out that Disney took quite a risk in Kosinski as this was his first movie – and the risk paid off. Kosinski directed a preliminary teaser trailer called TR2N that was screened at the 2008 San Diego Comic-Con.
“Joe made a wonderful pitch to me about the story of the movie, so I knew where the film was heading and I was immediately intrigued,” recalled Bridges. “I signed onto the original Tron because I was excited about using cutting edge technology, and that’s exactly the same reason why I signed on for the sequel.”
He continued, “When this project was presented to me, I thought to myself, ‘This sounds like something I would love to do.’ The first movie tickled the kid in me – and the sequel did exactly the same. I get to play a guy who is sucked inside a computer and I get to play with all of the new toys that we have available to us with modern technology and filmmaking. To be involved with something so cutting edge was extremely exciting to me. I jumped at the chance to sign up.”