Just spoke with Joe Kosinski, director of TRON LEGACY... about that, BLACK HOLE & OBLIVION
Published at: Nov. 23, 2010, 9:09 p.m. CST by headgeek
Hey folks, Harry here and I just had a nice little phone call with Joseph Kosinski. He's 36 years old, which essentially means... He's a geek like me. Well, more functional, obviously more talented... but - we could geek out and talk about 30 or 40 films that came out through the late seventies & eighties that completely warped our fragile lil minds. But for the purpose of this conversation, we were talking about TRON.
Joe didn't see TRON like I did... 70mm at the AMERICANA theater here in Austin. He said he saw it the first time on a ratty VHS tape. Could have been something taped off cable, or it could have been that oversized TRON jewel case... he didn't specify, but he did talk about how the design of the TRON universe captured him. That it was wholly unlike anything he'd ever seen before.
When I first got him on the phone, we decided to chat about the gigantic TRON circus that has taken over the Pop-Culture world via the awesome might of Disney's marketing world. Reskinning whole areas of DISNEYLAND... TRON Pop-Up stores... restaurants... He brought up the TRON SLEEPING BAGS.
Ok, so I just spent about 30 minutes trying to find images of the TRON Sleeping Bags - I'm a bit defeated. AMAZON doesn't have them... they have HUNDREDS upon HUNDREDS of other products. The most annoying of which is a Glow in the Dark LIFE SIZE Standee of a Recognizer... which when I clicked on it, I discovered that it is not actually LIFE SIZE like the one at COMIC CON.
Joe and I discusssed the notion of taking something that almost always was a micro-segment of Geek Culture - and making it mainstream. Something that they've managed to accomplish. How can I say that? Well, as of just a week or so ago, I'm not sure I could say that. In fact, I wondered if women would be interested in the slightest. I was relatively sure that no matter how much money that Disney's marketing leviathan hurled... I just couldn't see it catching on. The design had been tweaked, signing Daft Punk aboard did a whole lot to make TRON cool. But attending a midnight screening of HARRY POTTER & THE DEATHLY HALLOWS and watching the audience scream enthusiastically and euphorically at the TRON LEGACY Trailer... that was a good sign. Especially since that audience was about 80% female.
Because I haven't seen the film yet, Joe and I didn't talk specifics about the story, I frankly don't want to know yet. Instead I found myself chatting with him regarding BLACK HOLE & OBLIVION... two rather happy titles. Right now, William Monahan is writing on OBLIVION, which we should take as a very good sign. OBLIVION started out life as an incredible looking graphic novel from RADICAL... and is being turned into an ambitious 70's aesthetic science fiction film... And right now what excites Joe about directing it, is that it will mainly be an in-camera movie. Meaning, what he's shooting is what we see. There was a relief to his voice as he contemplated that. There is an ever slight exhaustion he has when he speaks about the process of TRON LEGACY. He seems quite enthusiastic about the film, he is very much looking forward to seeing the film in IMAX 3D. But I don't get the idea that he's looking forward to mounting another production quite like this one.
He's not sure if OBLIVION will be his next film, as he's also working on a remake of BLACK HOLE. The script on that one is being handled by Travis Beacham, who worked on the incredibly disappointing CLASH OF THE TITANS.... and whose spec, PACIFIC RIM is at Legendary and is totally not related in any way to GODZILLA. Now... if you get a chance to talk BLACK HOLE with Kosinski, he really gets excited.
First off, there's the familiar that he would revisit. He loves the aesthetic of the Cygnus. Kosinski feels it is one of the most striking spaceship designs ever created, and I'm not about to argue with him about that. I'm actually a bit fascinated about a BLACK HOLE project, if only to find out what happened to the original Cygnus model after it hung out at the New York Museum of Modern Art in conjunction with the promotion of the film. Since then, it disappeared. The gothic chandelier in space was amazing to look at in theaters.
Joe also loves Maximilian, and coped to the fact that the scary crimson robot gave him nightmares as a kid. And that Anthony Perkins' death also freaked him out.
However, what really floats Joe's boat in regards to this project, is to delve in a very hard science manner, with BLACK HOLES. The warping of time and space around the phenomenon. The notion that a BLACK HOLE will seem dormant, then begin aggressively feeding again. We discussed the giant Gamma Bubbles spewing 15,000 light years out from the alleged Black Hole in the center of the Milky Way galaxy.
BLACK HOLES truly remain one of the great mysteries of the universe for us earthlings, but the science of studying them has taken leaps since the late seventies when the original was developed. Certainly, the capacity for awesome visual effects work is there.
When I mentioned that DISNEY had made a TRON-skinned VINCENT, Joe really kind of got excited & curious all at once at the notion of two of his fetishes being mixed like that.
These pre-viewing chats with filmmakers, they are odd things. Kosinski strikes me a bit like Neil Blomkamp and Kerry Conran. They're filmmakers that fell in love with filmmaking through the notion of what film could show us. How anything was possible, but yet... when you really talk to these guys, they talk about the hardest part of the process having nothing to do with that world. Visual effects are about time & trial & error. It's about finding the characters, nailing the story and making those aspects come to life at the same level as the effects.
I find myself hoping that Joe has nailed it. I think we would all rather enjoy that.