Tron Legacy's Joe Kosinksi Talks 3D Tech, IMAX & Daft Punk
Hot on the heels of that slick new poster release featuring the yellow light cycle, the hype machine for Tron Legacy just might get cranked up to 11 (ironically enough with 11 months to go before release) as MTV has sat down for an in depth interview with freshman filmmaker Joe Kosinski who is the man brave to tackle the long awaited, effects heavy, digital 3-D sequel to Disney's cult classic flick Tron. Currently working his ass off in post-production, Kosinski talked about calling back to the original 1982 film, their stunning new 3-D tech, and how the masters of electronic beats, Daft Punk, came on to score the whole thing. Read on!
As much love for 3-D as there is out there, plenty of haters are firing back with more than a fleeting distaste for the trend. Hopefully Kosinki's enthusiastic approach and visually justified use of 3-D can change that:
"Our approach is not like Avatar, which I think is 3-D from the first shot to the last. Ours is sort of a Wizard of Oz approach. Ninety-eight percent of the 3-D is in the world of Tron. The 3-D really starts once we get into the Tron world. It's a combination of technologies that [Robert] Zemeckis [and James Cameron have] been using in terms of the completely digital motion-capture of a character and for the live-action camera system. We used a camera developed by James Cameron's company. We used a newer generation of camera than the one used on Avatar. They built it specifically for us."
So the 3-D is going to throw us right into the world of Tron, but don't forget that we also get to check this sucker out on IMAX. However, there isn't anything shot with IMAX cameras because shooting for digital 3-D means no celluloid, and the IMAX camera uses oversized film. But IMAX viewers will still be getting something special. Kosinski points out: "We are doing an IMAX version. What I am considering doing now is finishing four or five sections of the film in a tall format -- not letterbox -- and in an IMAX theater, the black bars at the top and bottom of the frame will disappear and it will become a full-screen sequence, which should be really cool. I think IMAX will be the way to see this movie."
So what about the infamous test footage that wowed audiences at Comic-Con? While the teaser footage is an accurate representation of the style and tone we'll see in the film, that sequence will not be in the film itself.
"The teaser, at least tonally, represented the direction I wanted to take it. It represents a period of time before our film begins. We were able to refine the design of the light cycles, the characters, the world and kind of flesh it out to a much higher level of detail than we were able to do for the test. What we're going to see in the film will feel a lot more photorealistic. They did that test with eight or 10 people in a matter of months. We have thousands of people working on the film. It's a whole different scale."
It sounds like that teaser is more of a bridge between Tron and Tron Legacy than anything else. Of course, Jeff Bridges ends up being quite an integral part of that bridge, showing up as two different versions of himself (young and old). So how exactly does "The Dude" come into play?
"He's playing Kevin Flynn, the character from the original film, and he's playing Clu, the avatar that Kevin Flynn created in the 1980s. I'd say he's Clu 2. There was a Clu in the first film who looked like Jeff but was very simple in terms of his abilities. He's very stiff. Clu 2 is a second incarnation of Kevin's avatar. He doesn't only look like Jeff, but he can think like him too. So it's a whole new level of artificial intelligence."
And it's this second virtual incarnation of Flynn that seems to change the game a bit. Tron is a Disney film afterall and while there's certainly danger and excitement, the end of the teaser footage certainly hinted at a darker tone, potentially upping the ante from the Disney's usual G-rated fare. But although this isn't your father's Tron, that doesn't mean it's not for your kids either. Kosinski was never forced to keep it bright and sunny though. "While making the movie, we never did anything to serve a particular rating. We made the movie we wanted to make. I think Disney would be really happy with a PG rating. But I haven't had it reviewed by anyone. I imagine it will be PG or PG-13."
So everything is being updated. Sleek, polished effects. Digital 3-D and IMAX presentations. But what does that mean for those who loved the original? You needn't worry that this will stomp on the sacred ground that Tron sits on in your cherished memories. This is a tride and true sequel through and through with the utmost respect and homage paid to the original. Kosinski says:
"We've taken the events of the first movie as historical facts… There are fun references to parts of the first film. Sam Flynn [Garrett Hedlund], in searching for his father, has to retrace his steps and comes upon clues and places that we visited in the first film, like Flynn's Arcade. Even in the world of Tron itself, a lot of vehicles and sequences have evolved. We'll get to see how the disc game has changed, how the light cycle battle has changed. We get to see the new version of these iconic sequences. Things have gotten bigger and a bit out of control."
With such a literally electric film, it's almost mandatory to go with an equally electric band, and so Kosinski brought in the best by snagging the masterful electronic duo Daft Punk to compose music for the film:
"This is a film where there was a lot of interest from different electronic bands that I follow to work on the film. I felt it was important, just as the first film was so forward-thinking visually and Wendy Carlos' music was so innovative, I felt we had to do the same thing here. So rather than going with a traditional film composer, I wanted to try something fresh and different. I set up a meeting with Daft Punk. Obviously, Tron was a huge influence on them. It was almost like they were interviewing me to make sure that I was going to hold up to the Tron legacy. But the more we talked, we realized that creatively, we were totally synced up."
And if audiences sync up with the film just as well, a Tron franchise doesn't sound out of order. "I think the world we've built here is big enough and has scale to support another story. As to whether that will happen, that depends on how the film is received when it comes out." If the hype thus far is any indication, I think that we'll definitely see another installment after Tron Legacy hits theaters this December. It's definitely one of my most anticipated films of 2010. And hopefully all this talk about it means we'll see a full-length trailer soon. I've heard there may be one in front of Alice in Wonderland, but that's still a few months out.