Garrett Hedlund has, in my opinion, the hardest job in “TRON: Legacy.”
You wouldn’t know it from talking to him these days, as he’s already moved on. He’s currently shooting the long-in-development film adaptation of Jack Kerouac’s On The Road, with Walter Salle directing. This is something that Hedlund’s been attached to for a while, and for it to finally be happening is the end of a long journey for all involved.
As a result of his schedule, he was piped in by satellite to the press day, so it was the first time I’ve ever felt like I was interviewing Max Headroom. I enjoyed the conversation, and I wanted to give Hedlund a chance to speak for himself about his role as Sam Flynn, the son of the long-missing Kevin Flynn (Jeff Bridges). He’s the one who makes the journey this time, following a clue that leads him into the same alternate reality inside a computer that his father created 20 years ago.
Jeff Bridges has the fun roles in the film, playing a younger version of himself, a computer version of himself, and the older Zen Col. Kurtz version of Flynn. All three are built around showy moments, and even though I don’t think they pull off what they try with him, Bridges obviously came to play.
Hedlund, though… he’s got to be Captain Exposition, and he’s got to be the one who is constantly motoring through, the Dorothy in this Oz, the one who needs to figure everything out and keep going and win in the end. When you’re doing a journey-based adventure like this, you’ve got actors who get to enjoy their parts because they know they’re not carrying the movie. They come in, they make a splash, and they split. Michael Sheen. Beau Garrett. Olivia Wilde. Bruce Boxleitner. They all get to play. Hedlund, though, is the blank slate that the adventure plays out upon, and that’s almost always a thankless type of role.
“TRON: Legacy” opens this Friday in 3D and IMAX 3D on about a billion screens around the world.