One of the most memorable aspects of the original "TRON" from 1982 was the glowing, high-tech costumes the characters inside the computer world all wore. The good guys wore blue, the bad guys wore red, and the style was so striking it earned the movie an Oscar nomination for Best Costume Design.
But as impressive as the costumes looked on screen, in reality there wasn't much to them. They were basically white Spandex bodysuits with lines painted on them. The scenes were filmed in black and white, and the distinct glows were produced after the fact by visual effects.
For the sequel, "TRON: Legacy," everything that was memorable about the first movie has been updated for the modern era, and that includes the costumes. Director Joseph Kosinski decided that he wanted the suits to actually light up, so that the actors would illuminate each other on set. The filmmakers created costumes using brand-new technology that allowed for sleek, streamlined suits that could glow without the help of visual effects. They look great on-screen, but they were a nightmare for the actors who wear them.
In the original "TRON," Jeff Bridges gets scanned by a laser and teleported into the digital realm. Appropriately, the costumes for the new movie were designed in much the same way. The actors underwent an entire body scan, and then the suits were sculpted in the computer to create a perfect fit. The suits are built from foam latex and Spandex, with electrified "Light Tape" built in to create the illuminated effect.
In the movie, after Sam (Garrett Hedlund) is transported inside the computer, he is dressed in his glowing battle gear by four living programs called Sirens. According to star Olivia Wilde, the process of getting into her costume was much the same. She said in an exclusive interview with Yahoo! Movies: "I felt like I had my own Sirens, because I had this group of wardrobe experts who would come and put the suit on me." Wilde says it took 11 fittings to make sure that the costume not only looked good, but could accommodate all the stunts she had to perform.
Once the costumes were on, the actors had other challenges to deal with. Wilde had trained in martial arts and Parkour before filming, but had to relearn everything to accommodate the tall wedge heels on her character's boots. The batteries that powered the lights on the suits could only run for around 12 minutes before they died. The wiring for the lights was also so fragile that the actors could not sit down while fully dressed. Instead, special boards were built so the stars could recline while still vertical.
While Hedlund and Wilde had it tough with their black suits made out of foam, they didn't have it nearly as bad as costar Beau Garrett and the three other actresses who played the Sirens. Their ultra-smooth and glossy outfits were made by spraying balloon rubber on top of Spandex, creating a shiny but extremely constricting suit. It took costumers, along with hair and makeup artists, between three to five hours to fully transform each actress into a ghostly white Siren, and another 90 minutes to turn them back. Garrett admitted that while she was in her suit, "the pain was a big problem." But she said, "Now looking at it -- it was very much worth it."
"TRON: Legacy" is playing in 3D, 2D, IMAX and theaters now. Take a look at an exclusive interview with Olivia Wilde, Garrett Hedlund, Jeff Bridges, and the rest of the cast below.
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