HOLLYWOOD — An entire block of Hollywood Blvd. was virtually transformed into the computer world of grids and gladiators on Saturday at the premiere of "Tron: Legacy." Blue lights, lasers, smoke machines, white-clad "Sirens," black-bob-wigged publicists brandishing light discs and at least one light cycle adorned a blue carpet leading to Disney's El Capitan Theater as hundreds of fans looked on.
Will Ferrell, Tom Cruise, Joe Jonas, Ana de la Reguera ("Cowboys and Aliens"), Patrick Fugit ("Almost Famous"), Jena Malone ("Saved!") and the film's stars, including Jeff Bridges, Olivia Wilde and Garret Hedlund, turned up to watch the sequel to "Tron," the forward-thinking 1982 classic that pit man vs. machine in a virtual reality. With premiere production values that would make an arena rock band blush, the atmosphere was as charged as a "Tron" arena battle.
"I don't want to downplay [the first film's premiere] because it was what it was then, but this? The excitement level is that much more and I think that's truly the 'Tron' legacy," said Bruce Boxleitner, who played Alan Bradley and his computerized counterpart, the title character, in both the original and the sequel. "After twenty-something years, I'd go, 'Well, I don't know. If they haven't made [a sequel] by now ...' [And then] we got the word. I was in right from the get-go."
"Tron: Legacy" director Joseph Kosinski — who will next tackle the re-imagining of another Disney sci-fi property from the '80s, "The Black Hole" — was brimming with pride now that the long-in-gestation project was finally seeing the (blue) light of day. "It's been a three-year process with thousands of talented people all over the world working on this movie with me. I'm really proud of the team and proud of the film. I'm excited for people to finally see it," he said.
Garrett Hedlund plays Sam Flynn, son of Kevin Flynn (Jeff Bridges) from the first film, who sets out to find his missing father and ends up transported to the world of "Tron." The 26-year-old actor has been on something of a journey himself: He's got "Country Strong" debuting this month and just wrapped "On the Road" that morning before hopping on a plane for the "Tron: Legacy" premiere.
"It's a wonderful night, isn't it?" he beamed, while admitting to being a bit exhausted. Taking in the grand spectacle unfolding on the blue carpet, he added, "I've tried to imagine what this night would be like but, up until now, I've never been more surprised."
Welsh actor Michael Sheen — whom astute "Twilight" fans still recognize without the getup he wears as Aro — plays Castor in "Tron: Legacy," and shared Hedlund and Boxleitner's awe at the "spare no expense" vibe of the premiere and the general marketing rollout behind the picture.
"It's nice to know that Disney has so much confidence in the film and they're prepared to get behind it so much," said Sheen. "I've seen the film. I can see why they're so confident. When you've got a film like this, I guess that's the time to bring out your big guns. It's great. I love the fact that the look of the premiere reflects the look of the film as well, 'cause that's such a strong part of the 'Tron' world. I'm a fan of these films more than I am an actor in them in a way. So it's just great to be a part of it."
The models dressed as "sirens" who stood on the blue carpet with stoic seriousness — even as Will Ferrell attempted to get one of them to crack a smile — were joined by an actress who portrayed one of the sirens in the film, Beau Garrett. She was accompanied by her parents and two best friends at the premiere.
"This is crazy. It's so fun. It's really kind of lovely," laughed Garrett. "[My parents] are like, losing their minds. My dad is beaming right now. So this is a trip! I had no idea what I was getting into."
Daft Punk, whose music lights up the film's soundtrack, walked the carpet as well while their dance-music contemporary, Boys Noize, served as DJ at the afterparty.
"Tron: Legacy" hits theaters nationwide this Friday.
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