When we finally see Kevin Flynn again in Tron Legacy, he sort of resembles an even more famous Jeff Bridges character. You’ve seen that barefoot, bearded Flynn in the robe, but he even talks like The Dude. He describes digital jazz, man and doesn’t want anyone to “mess with his Zen.”
“In looking back at Tron, the original, since I’m playing that character and kind of referencing that guy, he would kind of say things like that,” Bridges said at the Tron: Legacy press junket. “I don’t know if you would say Dude-esque because he preceded The Dude, but both [Steven] Lisberger and Joe Kosinski, our director, encouraged that kind of speak. That was Flynn too. Flynn wasn’t a tight, typical Silicon [Valley] guy. He was pretty loose and hippy-ish himself.”
Zen master Bernie Glassman helped Bridges get philosophical. Bridges plays both Flynn and the rogue program Clu. Flynn built Clu in his own likeness. That could really mess with his Zen. “[That’s] pretty familiar, man,” Bridges said. “I always feel like I’m that in a way. So it didn’t mess with it too much. We talked a lot about Flynn, he’s kind of trapped in the absolute reality. He’s discovered that the more he goes against Clu, the more powerful he becomes so he’s kind of retreated and gotten into the place of acceptance for the way it is to such a degree that it’s almost paralyzed him. It takes his son to shake him out of that.”
Glassman was Bridges’ idea. “It was great to be able to include a wonderful friend of mine, Bernie Glassman who is a Zen master in this little process. He was brought on board in some of the early writings to add some of that Zen quality to it. So in the early meetings, we had Bernie just kind of sitting at the table giving thoughts as the story progressed, from a Buddhist perspective. Very helpful.”
Tron Legacy opens Dec. 17.