Jeff Bridges reveals the secret of his two Tron Legacy roles

Contributed by
Jul 4, 2015, 1:57 PM EDT

Jeff Bridges likened playing Kevin Flynn in the original 1982 Tron to being a kid again, playing pretend, so it's appropriate that he literally becomes a kid again in the upcoming 3-D sequel film, Tron Legacy, in which he plays dual roles.

Though the movie's storyline is closely held, we know that Bridges will play an older version of his original character, Kevin Flynn, as well as a second character whose appearance is that of Bridges 27 years ago.

The film will use of the same computer technology employed to age and de-age Brad Pitt in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.

"It was challenging, in that I got a little taste of this new technology of acting what they call 'in the volume' and making movies without cameras," Bridges said in a group interview Wednesday in Beverly Hills, Calif., where he was promoting the drama Crazy Heart. "It's a completely different deal. That was kind of a challenge. It was great getting back with my old buddy, [original Tron director] Steven Lisberger, and Bruce Boxleitner." Boxleitner, who played the dual roles of Alan Bradley and Tron in the original film, will appear in the sequel as an age-appropriate Bradley.

Fans got a taste of Bridges' mysterious dual role in the original teaser for Tron Legacy, which screened two Comic-Cons ago (embedded below). The teaser gives a sense of how they've updated familiar Tron effects, such as the light cycles and flying discs, but Bridges said that's only the beginning of what's in store for Tron Legacy.

"All that technology that we were going to use in the movie itself is used in the trailer," Bridges continued. "It wasn't as highly polished as the movie is going to be, but it gives you a little peek into what you might find. That teaser was something they do kind of often with movies, and I think it's a good idea. The Coen brothers told me they did it with making Blood Simple. Before they even shoot the movie at all, they shoot the trailer of the movie, as if it was already made, and then they use that to entice the financiers. So, even though it was a Disney property, Disney wanted them to shoot this pretty expensive trailer. I don't know how much it cost, but it was pretty expensive." The teaser footage was actually test footage that won't likely appear in the finished movie.

In Tron Legacy, Kevin Flynn's son, Sam (Garrett Hedlund), goes back into the digital world to find his lost father. Olivia Wilde and Michael Sheen co-star as programs living in the world of computer programs. Boxleitner also reprises his role from the original Tron. Lisberger collaborates as a producer. Joseph Kosinski directs the new vision of Tron.

"I used to love to pretend when I was a kid," Bridges said. "Here's a movie that they say, 'You get to play a guy who gets sucked inside a computer.' Ooh, yeah. Use all the modern technology that's available today, [and] the same goes with the sequel, except all the technology that we're using in that makes the old one look like an old black-and-white TV show or something. Gosh, it's amazing what they've got going on this. I can't wait to see it all pasted together."

Tron Legacy has completed principal photography but will not be finished with post-production effects until its release, currently slated for December 2010.