Joseph Kosinski Admits That The CGI Botox On Jeff Bridges Doesn't Always Work In 'Tron: Legacy'

by Kevin Jagernauth
December 1, 2010 4:02 AM
8 Comments
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Film Also Apparently Tracking Poorly (But That's What They Said About 'Tangled')



Disney's $200 million big-budget reboot has a lot riding on it -- OK, mostly a lot of money -- but it's also the first outing for former commercial director Joseph Kosinski. And with the tentpole film set to land in theaters in a couple of the weeks, the director is beginning to hit the interview circuit and in a recent chat with Vulture, he is astonishingly forthright about how successful (or not) the aging down/CGI Botox on Jeff Bridges is in the forthcoming film.

It didn't take much to get Kosinski going -- the interviewer admits that for him, Bridges The Younger looked a little dodgy, particularly his mouth, and the director responded by saying, "Yeah. I feel like...um, honestly I feel like Clu, I don't think he's at 100 percent in 100 percent of the shots. But I feel like there's a couple glimpses in there, especially during Clu's speech in the Rectifier, [that] I'm really happy with. For a moment, you buy this thing as a real character, which to me is exciting. I just don't think that's been done before."

While the honesty is very refreshing, we can only imagine that Disney PR is scrambling to reassure fans that both the director and studio are happy with the final result. And it certainly makes us a little fearful that for Kosinski, there only appear to be a "couple glimpses" that he's "really happy with" and where the CGI feels like a "real character." In short, we hope the film isn't just a bunch of actors against some fancy-pants, cutting-edge digital effects and little else. Of course, we'll have to wait until we see it for ourselves, and again, we're sure some clarifying statements on are on the way, but Jeff Bridges' face isn't the only issue potentially facing the film.

Tracking on the film -- which is just a fancy way of gauging if people are interested -- is apparently lower than expected for the film, with opening estimates being set at around $35 million. Not great for a $200 million film. And while Disney is likely concerned, they also realize that tracking reports are a total crapshoot. "Tangled" was supposed to open soft as well and ended up taking in a much higher than expected $69 million in its first five days to become the second-largest 3-day and 5-day opener for the studio ever, only behind "Toy Story 2." However, unlike "Tangled" -- a big family film that opened on a holiday weekend -- "Tron: Legacy" is a geek movie that Disney hopes will reach a broader audience. Whether it becomes the "Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World" of this winter or not remains to be seen.

So will "Tron: Legacy" be a chilly digital effects show or something like the great sci-fi epic we're hoping for? Guess it will depend on Jeff Bridges' face. The film opens in 3D on December 17th.

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More: Films, Actors, Joseph Kosinski, Tron: Legacy

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8 Comments

  • anon | December 2, 2010 4:22 AMReply

    the thing with digital domain and benjamin buttons is a lot of the key artists left after the effects were completed, so although it was done once before, its not the same team/artists behind tron, and doesnt look like its going to be as good (CGI-wise). Its going to be a good-looking stylish film though. the trailers absolutely rock!

  • goldfarb | December 2, 2010 1:54 AMReply

    @Stephen
    apparently it's the same technique a was used on Benjamin Button (Digital Domain) but as with everything in CG it's not the tools/techniques but the people using them that matter...
    digital face replacement is tough, and it's the eyes that kill you....also the tracking has to be perfect (which it is not in everything I've seen of Tron Legacy so far)...
    it can and has been done much better...

  • Stephen | December 1, 2010 10:00 AMReply

    He says they've never done this before, but didn't David Fincher totally pull it off in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button? Brad Pitt started super old when he was young and ended up super young when he was old, and looked completely convincing the entire time. I have no idea how they did it so well, and they generally didn't have a normal present-day Brad standing around right next to him to compare it with, but it seems to me the technology is out there, and they should have been able to pull it off here.

  • A Baby Named Jesus | December 1, 2010 8:14 AMReply

    Avatar was also "tracking poorly" until one week before its release.

    Personally I think this is a ploy by Disney to lower expectations. When the film opens at $50 million, they'll call it a smashing success.

  • hi | December 1, 2010 6:51 AMReply

    the effects look like plastic on quicktime, but seeing it on an 8-story IMAX looked surprisingly fine.

  • starway2001 | December 1, 2010 6:38 AMReply

    At least they had the balls to try. I applaud them for that.

  • rodie | December 1, 2010 5:59 AMReply

    The only real problem most of the time is the mouth. It's very difficult to mimic. They should have designed some kind of futuristic collar/sheild type thing that is translucent but covers much of his mouth and around his neck (like a high collar with wires). That could have masked the mouth movement a little more and also looked more intimidating.

  • nora | December 1, 2010 5:27 AMReply

    oh man, Bridges' digital face had me worried from the trailers..I was hoping they would improve it.. :/ anyway, even if it doesn't make a great deal of money in the USA it will make millions&millions; in Asia! No doubt!

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