Even though the original Tron (1982) is twenty-eight years old, there’s sill a lot of things most people don’t know about the film. In honor of the release of the sequel Tron: Legacy, tonight/tomorrow, here are the top 15 facts you don’t know.
- Steven Lisberger got the idea from the film when he saw the classic computer game Pong for the first time.
- The film was originally supposed to start with a Star Wars style opening explaining the plot:
“This is the story of two worlds
And the beings that inhabit them
One of these is our world
The one we can see and feel
The world of the ‘users’
It lies on our side of the video screen. The other
An electronic micro civilization
Lives and breathes just beyond our grasp
This is the world of the programs
Because we, the users
Have created this New World
Part of us lives there too. On the other side of the screen.”
- Before creating Tron, the studio created animated movies, like Animalympics.
- Peter O’Toole was originally signed on to play the multiple role of the villain Sark, his “user” Ed Dillinger, and the voice of the Master Control Program. However, he became disillusioned with the project when he visited the set and found out the film’s main effects would be computer animated. He was looking forward to seeing the tanks being built.
- Tron was originally supposed to be a conventional animated film with live-action opening and ending scenes.
- Because of technical needs, the sets and costumes were all black, white or shades of gray. Because of the gloomy atmosphere on the set, the cast wore bright colors and patterns when they arrived each day. Even still, the actors found working on the set depressing.
- Jeff Bridges still owns the hat he wore in Tron, and said he wears it all day once a week for the “energy.”
- The computer world affect was achieved by taking the live-action film and converting it into thousands of individual frames. Those frames were handpainted and animated in several layers. The process was so costly and laborious that it has never been repeated.
- The film had a budget of $17 million. An opening weekend of $4.8 million and grossed $33 million in North America made it a moderate success.
- The sounds of Tron’s lightcycles were partially made by a Saab Sonnett engine. Sark’s “Solar sail” sounds were of the Goodyear Blimp.
- While filming the scene at the ENCOM facility (the Lawrence Livermore Laboratory in Northern California) there was an industrial spill. The area, close by the filming location, was roped off to avoid the crew from walking into the area. Cindy Morgan, the actress who played Dr. Lora Baines and Yuri, walked around the barrier. She unknowingly walked through the radioactive waste. Her shoes had to be decontaminated.
- Because of the huge casting response for the role of Yuri, the final decision came down to which actress could spell the word “chrysanthemum.” Cindy Morgan won the part.
- While most of the music in Tron uses digital and analog synthesizers, the composer Wendy Carlos also used an orchestra with traditional instruments. This was the first time she had ever worked with a live orchestra.
- Many of the costumes were made out of Styrofoam and squeaked loudly when the actors moved. These were removed in post-production.
- The film was nominated for Best Costume Design and Best Sound at the 55th Academy Awards, but the Motion Picture Academy refused to nominate Tron for special effects. They felt that computer animation gave the film an unfair advantage.
Which facts surprised you the most?
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