December 21st, 2010
11:09 AM ET

TRON: Legacy - How to Look 28 Years Younger

From Disney Motion Pictures

When I first saw the graphic theme for News Stream, it took about 10 seconds for me to think 'TRON', so it's hardly surprising that the team have been eagerly awaiting the neon-lit cyber-sequel to the 1982 classic. It seems other people shared our sense of anticipation too - 'TRON: Legacy' powered up for a number one box-office opening weekend, pulling in $43.6 million at theaters across the U.S. and Canada.

I'm yet to see the movie myself - it hasn't hit cinema screens in Hong Kong yet - but even from the trailers and the clips I've seen there are plenty of water-cooler moments to talk about: the light-bikes, the killer frisbees...

But the thing that got our geek senses tingling the most: a Hollywood lesson in how to look 28 years younger. The idea of pitting a movie star against their younger self is nothing new, but 'TRON: Legacy' is the first to take the plunge. Thus Flynn, played by Jeff Bridges v.2010, is at war with Clu, played by Jeff Bridges v.1982, a digitally youthful chip off the old block.

Effects like that take a lot of work. According to 'TRON: Legacy' Animation Director Steve Preeg, Jeff Bridges started work with the animation team in mid-2008. They created a cast of his head, and digitally compared his face now with that in the original 1982 'TRON'. On set, Bridges had to shoot his scenes whilst wearing a helmet with four cameras mounted on it, and with hundreds of motion-capture dots attached to his face. As for the Clu you'll see on the silver screen, yes it's Jeff Bridges with a digital face-lift, but from the neck down, it's a younger body double.

Steve Preeg admits that following in the footsteps of 'TRON' was "very frightening".

"The entire industry that I work in owes its creation to 'TRON'", he told News Stream. "They were so cutting edge that they were disqualified from being nominated for Best Special Effects at the Oscars because using as computer was seen as cheating".

Check out more of our interview with Steve Preeg here:

As you might imagine, for some fans 'TRON: Legacy' is a must-see movie, and fans of the original film don't come much more devoted than Jay Maynard, otherwise known as internet sensation 'TRON guy'.

In a review for Wired.com, Maynard calls 'TRON: Legacy' "visually stunning, intellectually engaging, and emotionally exhausting". Apparently, it brought him to tears.

There's already talk of a third 'TRON' movie in the Disney pipeline. Who knows, maybe this one will feature Maynard.


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