‘Tron Legacy’ Star Garrett Hedlund On Motorcyles, Blue Screens & Mo-Cap Suits

Last June, MTV News traveled up to Vancouver to visit the set of “Tron Legacy,” Disney’s 3-D stand-alone sequel to the 1982 sci-fi classic. Along with a select group of journalists, we toured the set, talked to cast and crew and immersed ourselves in all things “Tron.”

A studio-imposed embargo has now lifted and we can bring you the first of our interviews. Here’s some of what the film’s star, Garrett Hedlund, had to say.

Question: You get to do a lot of physical stuff too in the film?

Garrett Hedlund: Yeah, initially when we started this, I started the first week in January. Started with motorcycle training and getting my license and after the hour and a half of motorcycle training, I’d drive over to 8711, where the stunt coordinator David Leitch — that’s his compound. And so we’d do the fight training there. We’d do, you know, parkour sort of exercises and jumps. And do that for an hour and a half and a lot of hand to hand combat. And then trained with the trainer [Matthew] Logan Hood who sort of trained all the “300” guys for [producer] Jeff Silver. And trained with him for an hour, intensive training so. The two months of that felt like I’d already filmed the film, you know?

Question: Did you do any father-son bonding with [co-star] Jeff Bridges?

Hedlund: Yeah, somewhat. Very long days here and a lot of the times it can be distracting. Usually you had time between camera setups, but most of us are always being fiddled with, you know? Getting lights glued back on or battery packs changed or this and that and always kind of something…. I’ve always been such a fan of him and his kind of self-character and his charisma and everything. And I knew I’d really get along with him and we did. He’s got a very big portion of him that’s still just a kid. So it’s very easy for us. We just kind of play games. I was saying yesterday, he had the games picked — the old fashioned one where it’s the snout or the leading jowl or how they land. So it’s always funny going back and forth like that, like, “Woo man yeah!”

Question: Did you pick up any of his mannerisms at all since you’re his spawn?

Hedlund: I think naturally for father and son and stuff like that, if he was doing something I would almost kind of mirror it a little bit. Gestures and leaning up against something kind of had that, because I know I have that with my dad. I come back in from the field, he’d be like, “Did you finish cultivating?” I’d be like, “Well, I went up and down, I still got to go kitty-corner,” and then I’d lean so it’s just like your father. So it was those little things, you know? Or hands and what you’re doing with your gestures, how you enunciate things.

Question: Is it difficult as an actor shooting a movie out of sequence and to sort of track that sense of sort of wonder and amazement at everything you’re seeing, your character is seeing presumably for the first time?

Hedlund: Yeah, definitely. [O]nce you get into the world and once me and [Bridges’ character Kevin] Flynn come to being together [I’m] sort of very impressed with everything that this man has accomplished. And at the same time, it’s all blue screen at this point. So you got to look out. Constantly ask what you’re seeing here, how bright is that, how loud is that, how many of them are there?

And how do you get the answer?

Hedlund: [T]hey do have a rough assembly of pre-viz of what it’s going to look like. Other than that, then you also don’t want to do the same — steal from your pre-viz character… You know, the pre-viz doesn’t even look like me, it looks like some sort of six foot four Italian guy. So it’s like is that what they really wanted?

Question: You are the protagonist and this kind of restarts a continuation of what is currently going to be a major franchise, a budding franchise for Disney. Day to day does that feel like a big load on your shoulders?

Hedlund: Not really. I’ve always kind of felt that if you think about things that way it can only take away from you. I approached this film like the last film I did was a smaller budget film. You had the ability to be yourself. There wasn’t so much pressure on you. It’s only what you put out there is sometimes you’re not asked for certain things. And so it’s always trying to within that yeah, I just try and alleviate all of the possibilities of stress whatsoever from my mind. Because I don’t feel an extreme amount of pressure in this position.

Question: With regard to the costumes what was your reaction when you saw kind of what you were going to be in and then how do you get comfortable?

It was actually interesting. Back in Los Angeles, we went to a structure in Burbank called the MPCC. And trying the suit on, you had to go through every stage of it. First maybe it just started with a rough form of the pants. None of these gravings were even in there, no lights, no cords whatsoever, just the pants. Those are naturally uncomfortable. Just wearing this kind of under armor form cause we got it under here too, that’s always uncomfortable. You can feel every single hair on your body movement. And then you try the top on and then just kept going in stages. Then you got to come back and try it on when they got the cords going through. Then you got to come back and try it on when they got lights to put on it. Then you got to come back when they got boots ready. And then you got to come back when they got a helmet they want to try on you. And then you got to come back when they want to light you up. I must have went back 29 times.