We recently had opportunity to speak with the cast and crew of Tron Legacy and hear some tantalizing anecdotes about the film's production...like the time Daft Punk held a rave on set. Spoilers on!
1.) Michael Sheen based his character, the nightclub owner Castor, on glam rock legends.
My whole life has been inspired by [T. Rex lead singer] Marc Bolan and David Bowie. We talked about the character [and agreed...] that he should be larger than life when he appears. He brings a completely different [element] to the movie. He's very chameleon-like. He has many facets and personalities, and you don't where you stand with him. I like the idea of someone who's reinvented himself over and over again. So all those things inevitably led me to Ziggy Stardust.
2.) Bruce Boxleitner saw the film for the first time with the press and got a little choked up. He was also somewhat shock to finally see a digital, de-aged version of himself appear as Tron in a flashback.
I've known the script in various stages for over a year now and luckily I forgot most of it. I knew my part in the beginning and the end, but in the middle, I sat there with my mouth open and I started to get a little emotional towards the end [...] When you see the Recognizers and the Solar Sailer, they resonate with you [...] I saw a younger version of myself walk on camera last night for the first time. It was quite amazing, and I had a great haircut too! It's bizarre!
3.) The programs are getting blotto on nanotechnology.
At one point, I asked Michael Sheen what the liquid was that the programs were drinking in the nightclub scenes.
Me: Michael, you play the nightclub entrepreneur who runs Tron City's End of the Line Club. What exactly are the programs drinking at the bar?
Michael Sheen: I remember when they brought out the drinks — did you see [Tron director] Steve Lisberger as the bartender? — and the drinks had lights in them. Everything they could put a light in, they put a light in. These drinks they bring on, it's probably some kind of oil, some kind of motor fluid.
Me: Like maybe some liquified code or something?
Bruce Boxleitner: What do you want it to be?
Me: Some kind of nanotech? Liquid 1s and 0s?
Sheen: Yeah, it's not actually liquid, it's probably lots of mini-computers that go in your system and clean you out!
4.) Screenwriters Adam Horowitz and Edward Kitsis, who had previously worked on Lost together, really didn't want to make an "Internet Tron Movie."
Adam Horowitz: We never wanted to do an internet movie and be like, "Uh oh, here comes the Viagra ads! Get the lightcycles!" For us, this was a world like Oz or Pandora.
Edward Kitsis: Once you get in it, there are very few references to technology. We really didn't want to remind the audience geographically where we were. It's this new universe, and we don't talk about "going down to the hard drive" or "getting RAM." We really tried to stay away from that stuff, so you get overtaken by this new universe [...]
Adam Horowitz: In 1982, Steven Lisberger was posing these really interesting ideas that just started becoming true twenty years later, with the world of The Sims and Second Life and just the idea of everyone having avatars, even if it's just your Facebook page [...] We didn't want to get too lost in the science of it all, but we looked at ideas futurists and scientists think will affect us in 20 or 50 years.
5.) The original Tron was a bit of a subversive film within Disney back in the 1980s.
Tron director Steve Lisberger: It's a little bit like the key Tron group was the young people who saw it in the early 80s, and they became the digital natives who grew up with this technology over the decades [...] and when they got to the point where they were producers and writers and directors, the energy was there.
I went through a lot of administrations at Disney, all the way from the one that made the first Tron — who had never heard the word "user" before and wondered if this was the film of a madman — all the way to [Tron Legacy producer] Sean Bailey, who is of the technology of the day.
6.) Daft Punk held a rave on set one night.
Tron Legacy director Joe Kosinski: We met [Daft Punk] early on about three years ago, before there was any script, before there was the visual effects test. It was one of the first meetings of the project. I quickly realized that the guys and I had a good creative vibe. We wanted to create a classic film score that sounded like nothing else. We started on the music very early and built the soundtrack as we were writing the script and storyboarding and pre-visualizing the movie. I was very lucky to have tracks play on set while we were shooting. The film was edited when the music had been composed — there's a connection between the music and the visuals in this film [...]
Producer Sean Bailey: Here's a cool little anecdote. One night one of the cameras went down so we couldn't shoot for a couple hours. So there was this impromptu rave in the Tron warehouse in the middle of the night with Daft Punk deejaying.
Joe Kosinski: Everyone was in costume!
Sean Bailey: We just had a dance party at four in the morning.
7.) Fans in Hall H at Comic-Con voiced the arena scenes.
Joe Kosinski: We were just starting the sound portion, and the guys at Skywalker [Ranch sound studio] were telling me, "You have all these arenas and all these specific chants — that's a very hard thing to fabricate. You've got to find a thousand people who are willing to follow chants." So we were looking at sports arenas, and I realized, "Wait a minute! I've got Comic-Con coming! Let's record the Comic-Con hall and get our crowd reactions in Hall H." So we did it — all the crowds in the disc wars sequence are Comic-Con fans in Hall H. It was fun to put the fans who supported us in the movie itself.