The lights were bright and the bass was flat-out booming in the 8-minute preview of “Tron: Legacy” that Comic-Con International fans were treated to today. And after the preview, director Joe Kosinski asked the audience to actually be in the movie.
(Well, the sound of their stomping feet, at least.)
Jeff Bridges (Kevin Flynn), Garret Hedlund (Sam Flynn), Bruce Boxleitner (Tron), Olivia Wilde (Quorra) and Michael Sheen (Castor) were all on hand along with producers Sean Bailey, Steven Lisberger and director Kosinski.
The 8-minute preview was an extended scene of Sam (Hedlund) entering the world of Tron. He’s carried away and outfitted for his suit. “What am I supposed to do?” he asks one of the women who outfits him. “Survive,” she responds.
Towards the end of the clip, Sam comes face-to-face with Kevin Flynn of 27 years ago. “Dad?” asks Sam. “I’m not your father,” he responds, “But I’m very happy to see you here.”
Then the action kicked into high gear, as some of the more eye-popping scenes of the film, quickly cut together, flashed on the screen. The audience erupted in applause as the lights came up.
“It was pretty wild, pretty psychedelic,” Bridges told the crowd as a few excited fans shouted “Dude!” He talked about how far technology – in everyday life and in film making – has progressed since the original film came out in 1982.
“(There was) no internet. Our phones we carried around in big suitcases,” Bridges said. “The tech used in this ‘Tron’ compared to old ‘Tron,’ it makes it look like a black-and-white TV show.”
“We had spandex tights, hockey helmets and we threw Frisbees!” Boxleitner exclaimed. “Movie-wise, I think [the original ‘Tron’] was at the groundbreaking of this…I feel like we were the pioneering spirit.”
Kosinski told the crowd that this film was shot in true 3-D, it was not a conversion after the fact. “It’s a beautiful image,” he said.
But Kosinski said the “beautiful image” wasn’t what he was most excited about in the new film. That honor goes to the work of Bridges himself.
“Bridges plays two roles, he plays Kevin Flynn, and he plays Clu (2.0). We get to see him play against himself.”
Sheen, who plays the role of Castor, echoed Kosinski’s sentiment. “It’s a 4-D film, because Jeff Bridges brings another dimension of awesomeness!”
“One of the things that always bothered me when you have to play yourself at different ages, you have to get a different actor. Now, that’s not the case, you can play yourself at any age,” Bridges said of playing both a young and old character. “It’s a wonderful, exciting thing. It was a lot of fun.”
He then went on to joke about the young Jeff Bridges in the movie.
“This guy was a real creep, he was coming on to Olivia all the time,” Bridges laughed.
Lisberger, who created Tron, said he was thrilled with seeing his creation coming back to life.
“It proves to me that some good things take a really, really long time to happen,” he said. “It’s like the line in the first film, you just keep doing what’s right and wait for good things to happen. Jeff said that in the first film.
“The story came true,” Lisberger continued. “Very often I’d look at what was happening in the world, I’d say, ‘This is just like what happened in the movie!'”
Wilde, who was welcomed with plenty of howls of delight from the men in the audience, said she put in a lot of work to master the martial arts training required for the role. She seemed happy to talk about her character to the Hall H crowd.
“Quorra is an amazing character, it was such an honor to play such a tough, kick-ass woman in a movie like this,” Wilde said. “She’s smart, mysterious, cool. She’s been a companion of Kevin Flynn’s for a long time. And she’s a fearless warrior; I’ve always wanted to play a warrior.”
Wilde joked that after the training, she had to re-learn it all again to do the same moves in 4-inch heels.
Hedlund, who plays Sam Flynn, literally put in months of intensive training for his role.
“I started the first week of January, we didn’t start shooting until April 6. Hand-to-hand combat, all that – it was a tedious process. But you have to do that training to defy the restrictions (of the costume)…I think we did a pretty good job.”
Kosinski then surprised the crowd by asking if they would like to be in the movie. He went on to explain that he was prepared to record the sound of the crowd, and they would need to follow the instructions on the screen closely for it to work.
The screen displayed the directions, and then the crowd was asked to all chant, “Disk! Wars!” in unison, as well as “Rinz! Ler!” and “Dee! Rez!” Lastly, the crowd was asked to stomp all together, in unison, several times. The screen directed everyone when to stomp.
The results were mostly positive, with only the occasional early “Rinz!” or stomp. Kosinski thanked the crowd, and said he hoped to be able to use some of the sound clips he got from the crowd in the movie. He also said he hoped to have set a world record for the most people directed at the same time.
Comedian Patton Oswalt moderated the panel and came prepared with a few zingers. At the beginning of the panel he joked, “How many people here remember seeing the first “Tron?” How many remember seeing it in theaters? Raise your walkers!” Toward the end of the panel, he joked that along with the “Tron: Legacy” film footage, they had also prepared a memorial montage of all the fans who had died waiting for this film to come out.
Closing the panel down, Boxleitner said that, like Bridges, he was thrilled to revisit a character from early in his career. “I instantly threw my walker into the corner, and I felt like the old Tron again,” he said. “This one takes it into a whole new dimension, I think you’ll all be thrilled, I know I am, and I am the biggest “Tron” fans there is.”
Kosinski and Lisberger took their turns thanking the crowd for their support.
“Due to the response of the fans here, and around the world, that’s why we have this movie here,” Kosinski said.
“I want to thank all the fans for holding on all these years,” Lisberger said.