Jeff Bridges for “Tron Legacy”

When Tron Legacy finally hits screens later this year, it will hold the distinction as the longest gap in Hollywood history between a release and its sequel. Tron has had a presence at Comic-Con for three years now, but finally in 2010 Disney is in full gear as release draws ever nearer.

Yesterday Disney unveiled some terrific new footage at Comic-Con Hall H, held interviews with the cast and even put on a secret event at the newly renovated Flynn’s Arcade in the Gaslamp District featuring vintage arcade machines under dust covers (as seen in the new trailer) and a bar area aglow in white lights with men dressed as programs and an attractive pale blonde leggy model in skin tight white PVC. There was also a look at Tron toys, shoes with blue lights, light up X-Box controllers and blue light-clad headphones.

The cast was also on hand with press yesterday to discuss the long-in-the-making film including Kevin Flynn himself, Jeff Bridges, who admits he’d been hearing Tron discussions almost since the original’s release nearly 30 years ago.

“Well, I had heard rumors that there was going to be a sequel to Tron for many years, maybe 20 years, and I kind of gave up on it,” Bridges told press. “And then all of the sudden this script showed up and Disney had it on its back burners and they were not satisfied with the script, so they waited. And I’m so happy they did, because we got a good script and also they held out to find the right guy to take the helm and Joe [Kosinski], I think they really found a terrific leader, because he was coming from architecture. It’s always interesting where a director comes from. He was really up to date in all of the modern technologies that they had in special effects and everything. And they got terrific new actors. So when we got that package together and they presented it, I said, ‘Oh, this sounds like something I would love to do.'”

With 76 films to his credit and a newly polished Oscar, Bridges is always able to maintain a wide-eyed enthusiasm and general amicability, which probably explains his longevity. “Just like the first one, it tickled the kid in me,” says Bridges with a big grin. “To be sucked inside a computer and play with all the new toys they had unveiled to us.”

Bridges is also well known for his hobbyist photography on set. Over the years he’s put together a book from many of his projects for cast and crew as well as a book entitled “Jeff Bridges Photography.” Unfortunately, the dimly lit sets of Legacy’s day-glo world didn’t provide many photo opps. “I didn’t take too many pictures on this film mainly because the camera I use, a widelux, requires quite a bit of light,” says Bridges. “And our movie required very little light with the suits and all. It was quite dim. They might pop up on the web site or something like that.”

Bridges admits he’s gotten energized by the enthusiasm of the Comic-Con crowd, which has been championing this movie for years now. “Oh, it’s great. I’m so excited. Comic-Con wasn’t around back when the first one came out, but to feel the energy of the people is really exceptional. We came here last year and showed the trailer. The year before that we showed the first footage and that was very responsible for getting it financed. So the fans are very instrumental to this whole thing, the Tron world.”

Tron Legacy should be the next step in the evolution of the 3D process after Avatar. Bridges is already looking beyond 3D to the sans glasses wave of the future, holograms and maybe even a Tron Pill. “As far as 3D goes, things are moving so rapidly,” Bridges tells press. “I think filmmakers are always looking to bring the audiences deeper into the story they are telling. There was a film process called Showscan that Douglas Trumbull developed. It didn’t really take off, but that was just running the film at 60 frames instead of 24. Projected that way, it made everything more sharp and gave almost a 3D effect. Isn’t 3D without glasses coming out in the next ten years? And then holograms. Or maybe you just take a pill. (Laughs) Tron: The Pill!”

Tron Legacy opens in Theaters nationwide December 17th, 2010