It's hard to understate the importance of Tron. The movie was unlike anything we'd ever seen when it hit screens in 1982. The combination of traditional filming with computer graphics was truly ahead of its time, which may have cost the movie in the long run, but, like any modern CGI blockbuster, what we see on screen and what the actors are dealing with on the set can be very different things.
The costumes that we see in the original Tron are covered in bright glowing lights that, at least for the 1980s, really give the feeling that you're dealing with a computerized world, but apparently for the actors they were really just wearing white leotards, that left basically nothing to the imagination.
Next week will see the debut of Disney+'s new series Prop Culture which will chase down props from various popular Disney movies. I got a sneak peek of the new series, and in the second episode, dedicated to Tron, host Dan Lanigan reunited Tron himself, Bruce Boxleitner, with the costume for his digital self. It reminded him of some... complications, that arose from the outfit, because apparently seeing the Tron cast in costume in real life had the potential to upset some people. According to Boxleitner...
There were some very funny situations because walking around in those almost sheer tights was almost a lewd act. I remember a note came from on high saying, ‘Will Misters Boxleitner, Bridges, and the rest of the cast, when going to the commissary, please wear your cast bathrobe.
Tron was filmed on Studio 4 on the Walt Disney Studios Lot, so the cast used the same commissary as everybody else working there while filming. One can imagine the cast of Tron walking in to grab lunch and all the studio executives beginning to feel uncomfortable on their behalf.
It's sort of amazing to see what a Tron set costume looks like outside of the movie. It's basically just a white body suit and a modified hockey helmet. Everything that makes you think of Tron was done by a computer after the fact. Today, that sort of thing is par for the course, but in 1981 it was a completely new concept.
Tron is one of Disney's most unique movies. The movie wasn't a bomb, but nor was it a massive hit. It spawned a sequel, but decades later. The franchise has never been dead, but it's also never seemingly been of serious importance to Disney. There is an incredibly passionate fan base, but it's difficult to tell just how big it truly is.
This is just one of the fun pieces of information that comes along with checking out famous movie props on Prop Culture. If you’re a fan of learning about how props for movies were created, then you’ll obviously love it, but even if you’re just a fan of classic Disney movies, there;s fun to be had.
Prop Culture debuts on Disney+, with all eight first season episodes, on May 1.