SDCC ’10: ‘Tron: Legacy’ cast and crew talk about tackling the overdue sequel Thursday morning at the Hilton Bayfront Hotel in San Diego, a particularly long line of actors and filmmakers from the upcoming film Tron: Legacy appeared in front of journalists to field questions and talk about the process of making the film. Not to be confused with the public panel that many of the same participants took part in later that day in Comic-Con’s Hall H, star Jeff Bridges, director Joe Kosinski, producer Sean Bailey, and writers Adam Horowitz and Eddie Kitsis discussed the film in depth with the press, and Hollywood News has whittled down their answers to the essential details you need to know about Tron: Legacy.

1. Joe Kosinski used the first film not only as a source of narrative and visual inspiration, but a starting point even for assembling his team behind the scenes. “The work that Steven [Lisberger] did with Syd Mead and Moebius is just phenomenal design work,” Kosinski explained. “For me, and I have a design background, I feel like that’s one of the reasons the film, you can still sit down and watch it today. Even though the computer graphics are simple compared to what we’re able to do now, the design work is so strong, the imagination is so vivid and vibrant, it just transcends time. So it was quite a task to sit down and start to look at what group of designers I could assemble that were going to kind of be the next generation of those amazing designers.”

“I had a great time assembling people from the automotive industry, architecture, people outside the film world who would come in and collaborate on this project” he revealed. “There’s such a great foundation for us to build on and we were always evolving those designs to make them feel more faux-realistic… so it felt like we were pulled into the computer and we shot it with our cameras from the inside.”

2. Sadly, not all of the original characters from the first Tron could be included in this second installment. Kosinski said that deciding not to feature Yori, Cindy Morgan’s character, was a tough but necessary decision in order to design this film’s story. “Our story is a father-son story, a story of Sam Flynn in search of his father who disappeared into the Encom mainframe 20 years before,” he explained. “When you make a movie, you have to kind of make difficult choices in what you’re going to focus on. For this story, we chose to focus on the story of Sam and Kevin Flynn as well as the kind of instrumental role of Tron and Alan Bradley in that story. The character played by Cindy Morgan is in the Tron universe, however just not in this particular story.”

3. Jeff Bridges said the historic delay between installments – 28 years and counting – actually benefited the overall quality of the production. “ I had heard that there were rumors there were going to be a sequel for many years, and I kind of gave up on it,” Bridges admitted. “And then all of a sudden this script showed up and Disney kind of had it on its back burners and they were not satisfied with the script, so they waited. And I’m so happy they did because we got a good script and also they held out and found the right guy at the helm and with Joe I really think they found a terrific leader because he was coming from architecture, and [often] a director comes from [being] a writer or an actor, and to have an architect at the helm of this one was terrific. He was really up to date with all of these modern techniques we had in special effects, so he could be a great leader, and he was terrific with actors. And once we got that whole package together, then I said this sounds like something I’d love to do. And also, just like the first one it tickled the kid in me – you know, to be sucked inside a computer – and playing with all of the new components and that cutting edge [technology], to be involved with it was very exciting.”

4. In order to balance the demands of satisfying fans and developing new, original worlds, screenwriters Kitsis and Horowitz emphasized the character connections and left the concept work to Kosinski and company. “Luckily when we’re writing, we’re doing absolutely no visual effects work,” Kitsis observed. Horowitz, meanwhile, indicated that there was a strong collaborative environment during the development process. “For us we’re very lucky because Sean and Joe and everyone is very collaborative in the process, and we come from TV so we’re used to just kind of sitting around a table with a bunch of people saying, hey, wouldn’t it be cool if? We were lucky really that these guys were collaborative with us through the whole process. But one of my favorite things was when we were talking about the disc games, that day I got a call from Joe and he said, ‘undulating platforms,’ and he sends an email with the coolest looking design ever – and it was just a sketch! That made it easier for us.”

5. Apparently the choice to enlist electronic music luminaries Daft Punk as the film’s composers was such a no-brainer they didn’t wait until the movie started shooting to recruit them. “I up with Daft Punk very early in the process, before even doing the VFX test piece,” he revealed. “Sean and I went down with them to the 101 Café for a pancake breakfast and discussed their passion for Tron and how serious they took it and what an inspiration it was to them, which I think is pretty obvious if any of you have seen their live shows. So we talked about it for a long time and then got started on the music very early, before we even started shooting, and they continued to work on it for almost two years now. They’ve been in the studio putting the finishing touches on their score, and it’s a really incredible blend of electronic music, orchestral music, and really blurs the line between sound design and music in an interesting way, and it’s a new direction for them that they’re really excited about because they’re really tied to the film. That we could all come together, it’s been a really amazing fusion of music and picture that I’m really happy about.

6. Part of the process that has been most exciting for the filmmakers is creating the history between Tron and Tron: Legacy, which has thus far been shown to fans via viral marketing. “I think one of the things when we all made the decision to do kind of a standalone sequel – to accept that that the narrative things of 1982 had occurred – and one of the things with Eddie and Adam and Joe all did was we mapped the mythology from ’82 to 2010,” Bailey explained. “That gave us, number one, hopefully a foundation for the story we wanted to tell in 2010, but also gave us all of those intervening years, so there was a lot of history and back story that we thought there were interesting ways to express. So a lot of that is coming across with the viral [marketing], some of that is going to come across in other platforms, with the video game and other publishing efforts, and it has been really fun watching the community evolve and build and seemingly enjoy what is going on.”

7. Meanwhile, if you haven’t seen the first film in a while, or ever, look forward to another opportunity to see it before the release of Tron: Legacy. Bailey said, “The original movie, we’re certainly looking into doing something special with the original movie. No date as of yet has been determined, but certainly for Tron: Legacy, as far as the DVD and Blu-ray go, there will be some very cool materials on it and I also think we’ll be taking a hard look at 3D on that front as well. So certainly we’ll try to be as forward-leaning as we can when it comes to both of those, and I think you can expect to see the original film in an exciting format sometime soon.

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