I remember it was late July when my Aunt and her boyfriend took me and my cousins to go see a film. Nothing out of the ordinary this day but boy would it be a memorable one in hot, sunny, Sunnymead (now part of Moreno Valley) CA. That movie was ‘TRON’ and like many of us that remember the first film we ran to the video arcade, luckily one was right next door to the theater, to play the game the movie created. It is exciting to know that 28 years later I come to find out I share something in common with the new writers of the TRON mythos. Adam Horowitz and Eddy Kitsis were dropped off at the theater and watched a movie that would change their entire outlook on life; however, unlike Eddy, I got to play the game and not have it turn off on me when I put the quarter in. I had the extreme pleasure to sit with Adam and Eddy along with a small group of fellow colleagues and see what is being billed as “TRON Night” around the world and then chat about their first venture onto the big screen, ‘TRON: Legacy’.
Now before I go any further please be aware that this was a candid interview, very intimate and relaxed and open about the movie, so if you do not want to be spoiled about the film, please stop reading now……. Still here? Alright let’s go to the grid.
I never thought I would be so giddy to be going to a screening of a film. I’ve, along with many of my friends, not to mention every technophile out there, waiting to see this film. On my motorcycle weaving in and out of slow traffic, I could feel myself slipping into that feel of the first time I saw ‘TRON’ and after, my cousins and I on our bikes imagining they were light cycles. Once I got to the studios it was just a matter of time. Sitting in the theater were many classic Disney films were screened, scored, or had their final touch added to them is always a magical experience. This was one of those magical times, kicking off “TRON Night”, a multi country event that would show select scenes of the upcoming sequel, 23 minutes of pure energy and emotion, to the select few who were lucky enough to buy a ticket in time. Some theaters in the US sold out in 5 minutes. Here I am. What can make this even better? The Writers are sitting right in front of me and I get to chat with them after the screening.
What would you like first, the skinny on the screening or the interview? Oh who am I kidding like you get a choice? Sorry this is not an interactive article, but wouldn’t that be cool if it was?
Oh and by the way just to remind you, SPOILER ALERT!
The screening opens with a letter typed out a la MCP welcoming everyone to the viewing from director Joe Kosinski, another new face to the feature film world. We start from Sam’s apartment. This is where the story seems to begin as Alan Bradley has come to Sam to tell him about a page. It is from this scene, that many have seen in the preview, you sense there is an issue between Sam and his father, Kevin Flynn. He heads to the arcade and starts up the power to iconic music to any ‘TRON’ fan, Journey. Sam activates THE laser and a flash of white. End of scene.
Next scene shown is Sam’s capture by the recognizer; talk about an upgrade from the 80’s CGI. The grid is real and a site to be seen and Sam’s expressions to this fact are just as the audiences are, pure aw struck by the expanse detail of the grid. In this scene is where Sam gets his new threads as well and learns not only is this real but everything is pure mind boggling. And the Sirens, oh my ___!! Nough said.
To the games scene we go or more precisely disc wars. Seeing the collaboration of Joe, Adam, Eddy and team take Steven Lisbergers original vision and expand it beyond is amazing. I want to jump in and become a program myself and put my skills to the test.
From there we skip to the escape route scene. We are all familiar with the recognizers, light cycles, and tanks but not this new hybrid four wheeled, all terrain vehicle. Transforming it’s slick tires into rough tread tires in mid flight to accommodate the roughest parts of the grid is pretty smooth. This is where we get to see Quorra. Talk about stealing a scene. You are so affixed to the vehicle at first that as soon as she removes her ‘helmet’ you just forget about the car and look at her. We’re not the only one either, so is Sam.
The previous scene brings us to the first meeting in 25 years between Sam and his father. Sam is completely shocked to see his father alive after so long, in the grid. You can feel the emotional tension both men have in seeing one another let alone to talk to one another. This leads into a montage of other scenes we have seen in the trailers with one added bonus, the introduction of the light jets. WOW!
After the screening was over we were escorted over to the Animation building. For me this was just adding to the day. We met up with Adam and Eddy in their offices. Eddy shows us his office where he has ‘TRON’ artwork as well as ‘Lost’ toys and a picture of Jerry Garcia and Keith Richards. In Adam’s office we see more ‘TRON’ artwork and more toys, mostly ‘Star Wars’ and of course the ‘ball’. A football the guys grab onto to help write. Afterwards, Adam leads us over to a conference room where we can all sit down and chat about this enormous undertaking.
Before we all got settled into our seats Eddy was jumping in about meeting with Steven just a few days ago and talking about how his vision of ‘TRON’ shaped some of our current culture and technology. Adam chimes in when he can. From the onset of this interview I can see these two have been working a long time together, of course most recently on ‘Lost’. Eddy seems to be the chatterbox and Adam jumps in when he can. Kind of like an older brother younger brother vibe when it comes to answering questions. Eddy continues how this film is a circle of life, much like the Darma wheel or identity discs. Steven is a visionary who predicted the future and the two of them are fans who thought “wouldn’t it be cool if Flynn was stuck in the grid” and got the chance to create write it.
Eddy and Adam first dabbled with a ‘TRON’ storyline when they were working on the TV show ‘Popular’. The episode revolved around the attempt by two boys trying to get to a screening of ‘TRON’ with Bruce Boxleitner and the ‘TRON’ bug stayed with them. When they were asked to write a treatment for a sequel to ‘TRON’ they were both skeptical saying, “they’re not going to let two TV writers do this.” Well they did. Even during the pitch process they kept coming up with storyline and were just waiting for the fantasy to end, which it never did.
The story they would write was not to be a re-imagination but rather a continuation. For them it was all about continuing where the last film left off. “At the end of the movie when he gets out of the helicopter on top of the roof in a three piece suit, we were like what happens next.” They wanted to honor the first film and give the fans, like themselves, what they wanted; an answer. To get that answer they would have to go to the one man that would be the anchor of the film, Jeff Bridges.
They talk about their first visit with Jeff and Steven at Jeff’s home. Both of them we’re nervous to be meeting with ‘Kevin Flynn’ and pitching a movie with two Flynn’s. “If you say this is it (referring to the world of TRON) and the man who created it says, ‘No it isn’t’, you can’t tell him, ‘Yes it is!’” This can lend to their nervousness. That was all laid to rest as they walked in and on a table is all the ‘TRON’ toys and the original helmet. When asked if they wanted to wear it, the two of them, of course, jumped at the chance. Adam and Eddy felt relaxed at this point or at least would be after taking a ‘prom’ picture with each other while wearing the ‘TRON’ helmet. Jeff made them do it. It just shows how dedicated to the story Eddy and Adam are.
They would stay in touch with Steven at all times during the writing process referring to him as Obi Wan. Taking their ramblings of story and stopping for a moment, Steven would reach in and grab that one speck and show them where they needed to focus their efforts. Creating a film of this nature they needed that guidance as there is so much back story that cannot be filled in a 2 hour period. That is where the collaboration was at its best. Keeping the mythology that Steven created and expanding it in a way that you will always be looking for more of the vast universe the grid can be.
Sitting with Eddy and Adam I couldn’t help but become more of a fan with them. Their enthusiasm for the work is about to be seen on the big screen is a culmination of 28 years of imagination and creativity. Focused on a story that took the world by storm and is about to have its portal opened once again. There will be one difference this time around. The virtual world and the real world have parallels that we can all relate too, family. In this case a father and son’s story. Sam looking for answers and a father with a past he cannot escape. I don’t know about you but I can relate to Sam in what I have seen and the story that Adam and Eddy still have to tell. I too lost my father for some time and looked for answers as to why he disappeared from my life. When I found him I had anxiety and questions for him. I know how my story is going, happily. I look forward to seeing Sam’s.
Adam and Eddy, thank you for a remarkable time chatting about your passion and influences. I can’t wait to chat with you both again once I see your complete story.
End of Line.