Exclusive Sneak Peek: TRON: LEGACY's Challenging Costumes

Beau Garrett who plays a Siren in the world of TRON described the outfit as "painful" and Michael Sheen thought twice about getting out of his Ziggy Stardust-inspired light suit for a trip to the bathroom. CineMovie went behind the scenes at special-effect house Digital Domain with the costume designer and actors of the TRON sequel for the scoop on the uncomfortable fashion of TRON: LEGACY.

Not only have computer graphics have come a long way since the original Tron movie paved the way for special effects, but advancement in digital technology was also used to create the Grid fashions.  


In keeping with the original concept, light-illuminated fashions dominate The Grid, the setting for the world of TRON: LEGACY.  Light permeates the city in the architecture, lifestyle, clothing, and vehicles such as the light cycles.  The Grid inhabitants/programs and their surroundings wear cool whites, blues and silver while the clothing and vehicles for Clu and his programmed henchmen make use of orange, reds, and yellow lights. Every program must carry a light disc on their back containing their data which can also be used as boomerang-type weapon when thrown.

TRON: LEGACY Light Suit Costumes

To incorporate the light element into the fashion proved challenging for the production crew and actors.  Christine Bieselin Clark, TRON: LEGACY's costume designer, created self-illuminated wardrobe by using electroluminescent lamps made from flexible polymer film and inserted into the clothes.  The costumes were molded using digital sculpture and shaped to each actor's body.  Everyone except Jeff Bridges and Bruce Boxleitner were fitted with the digitally produced wear.  Bridges outfit consisted of Zen-inspired loose clothing while Bruce donned a suit and tie as a Flynn's former business partner outside of Tron. 

In addition to the tight-fitted outfits, the actors wore four to six-inch heels, helmets, and a radio controlled light disc consisting of 134 LED lights.  The light disc also powered the suit lights and therefore heavy. A team of hair and make-up artists, in addition to two dressers, helped the actors suit up which Beau Garrett said took her 3 to 5 hours for the transformation into a  Siren, a Grid program that prepares new programs for gladiatorial games.

In between shots, the actors were not able to relax in their usual manner because of the outfits, so inversion boards were provided for  the actors to recline and relax their feet without damaging the costumes. How were the two lead actors, Garrett Hedlund and Olivia Wilde, able to move and fight in the physical scenes in the suits?  TRON: LEGACY director Joseph Kosinski stated the costumes were tested out early on to assure his actors would be able to perform their martial art stunts.  

Olivia Wilde in TRON: LEGACY

The four-inch heels proved more troublesome than the light suit for Olivia Wilde as the program warrior Quorra, Kevin Flynn's right-hand woman. The House actress and Garrett trained in Parkour and martial arts in flat shoes, so when the time came to suit up, Olivia had to re-learn the moves in her high-heeled shoes.

The women were not the only ones with towering shoes.  As Castor, the Ziggy Stardust inspired character who runs the Grid's End of Line Club, Michael Sheen wore six-inch heels through the whole production and joked about "having to sachay around the set." The Twilight: Breaking Dawn actor expressed his admiration for ladies' ability to walk in high heels.  During the interview, Beau Garrett complimented Michael on his high heel strut. "You did very well in those heels."  Michael returned the compliment regarding their tight light suit, "The best part of wearing it was that Beau had to wear it as well.  And I got to look at her all day."  

Michael Sheen and Beau Garrett in TRON: LEGACY

Michael Sheen, however, admits the worst part of wearing his outfit was not being able to visit the men's room when needed.  Getting the costume off and on was such a chore that he kept asking himself whether he really needed to go.  "I think it was about 4 weeks before I was able to go to the bathroom," he joked. His co-star James Frain (True Blood, The Tudors) interjects "Everybody timed out their pees."
Jeff Bridges Digital Capture in TRON: LEGACY
Jeff Bridges was spared the light suit even as Clu, his younger self in an orange colored suit.  "I was very lucky in that I had a very pee-friendly costume," he said about his loose-fitting clothing as Kevin Flynn.  For his Clu appearances, a different actor provided the suited up body while Jeff's performance was captured using advanced Emotion Capture created by Digital Domain.  Jeff's obstacle was getting over wearing a Helmet Mounted camera used to capture his expressions that would later be digitally superimposed on the other actor's body.

Frain who plays Jarvis, Clu's main henchmen and program specializing in intelligence gathering, also had issues with a helmet for his character. No prop helmets were utilized in the production.  Each character was specifically designed a different looking helmet to fit their program and James' helmet was a visor which he compared to a "mohawk".  While he describes his helmet as "cool as hell", wearing it was no easy feet.  The visor was attached or "stuck onto his head" as he puts it, to his shaved head with glue. A glass mobile would move back and forth over his face.  "That was brilliant! How cool was that?" he remarked about the head piece.

Sam Flynn's helmet in TRON: LEGACY

"But it was quite challenging because they had a fold on the design that brought a seam right across the middle of my eyes. So I actually couldn't see anyting at all.  I had this kind of fly vision."  Frain added that he had to be escorted around the set because of his limited vision.

As the Siren Gem, Beau Garrett wore four layers in a one-piece that included high and angled heels.  The top layer was the strongest, according to the actress, which limited her ability to move around in.  "Your stuck in this very structured position for 20 hours," she commented.  After the long day on set, it was another one and a half hours to get the suit off. "The pain was a big problem," she adds but she tried her best to "focus and calm" her mind.  "Now looking at it -- it was very much worth it.  The way you feel wearing someeting like that is probably the most incredibly odd yet powerful."

After watching the advance footage at Digital Domain, the cast of the high-tech adventure agreed the long hours in their character's clothes payed off and well-worth their efforts. 

TRON: LEGACY opens this holiday season starting December 17.

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