We caught up with actress Olivia Wilde, star of the highly anticipated Tron sequel Tron: Legacy and the movie tie-in game to find out more about her life in this world and the virtual one…
This is your video game debut, but do you play videogames in real life?
I don’t. The last videogame I played was Duck Hunt. Do you remember Duck Hunt? It’s a great game but it does show how long it’s been since I played videogames. Now I’ve played the Tron game, I realise how far we’ve come. It’s a little different from Duck Hunt.
There are some differences yes…
It’s much more fun now but I think it could become a little dangerous, I can really see how people could become obsessed with playing these games.
Was the fact that you never really played games down to your parents?
Well, we had a Sega and we played Mario Bros. and Duck Hunt, my mum hated it though. She hated the idea of having a little orange gun that you pointed at the screen, she was horrified. But I think if she saw the Tron game she’d be proud. I think the idea of having your daughter turn into a little videogame character has got to be cool.
Now you’re a little more into gaming, it’s got to be cool that you get to play as yourself…
Well, I thought that I got to play as myself but then I was like, ‘Where’s my sword? Where’s my car?’ You can’t play with Quorra, you do play alongside Quorra. It’s not quite what I expected.
Well, that’s how it works in games. You don’t start out with all the cool stuff, you start out with nothing and work your way up to the identity disc, the sword, the lightcycle…
You’ve got to earn them? Well, there’s a life lesson in there. Thanks Mr Miyagi!
How does it feel being a character in a videogame?
It’s really cool. It’s an amazing process doing the voiceover and it in turn helps to develop the character. The game takes place in between the two Tron films so all the story research I did before making the film came in very useful. Usually actors have pages and pages of backstory notes and we never get to use them, suddenly we were able to use them for the videogame and that made me very happy. Like, ha! I’ve done my work, I get to play young Quorra!
That’s one of the cool things about some movie-game tie-ins, they expand the overall story arc…
Yes, they expand the experience it’s great.
So in the movies, you get to play some spectacular games as part of the Grid. Do you think the world of Tron could ever become a reality?
The thing about Tron is that it has already kind of come true. What we’re saying in Tron is that when you become lost in the world of the internet, when you become lost in the game, you lose touch with humanity and nature and everything that really matters. So there is this danger of us losing power over this thing that we’ve created and blurring the boundaries of reality and virtual reality. I think if anybody comes away with anything from the film it’s the idea of having to reconnect with what is actually important in life.
How do you see the leap from the original Tron movie to Tron: Legacy and the original wireframe game to the new game?
Well, they’re both incredibly groundbreaking in terms of technology. The original Tron film was the first to use CGI and Tron: Legacy was the first to use an advanced 3D camera, as well as digital character recreation. But their perspective on technology is different, the original was worrying about what would happen if technology overtook us and now we’re saying it has, so what do we do now? The games are similarly connected but separated by how advanced the new one is. Imagine how far technology has come in the past 30 years, I mean since Duck Hunt!
It’s pretty impressive, almost like entering a new age of magic…
That’s the funny thing about our relationship to our devices, I’m attached to my iPhone but I’ve no idea how it works – I’ve a similar relationship with my car. It’s funny because you’re so connected to the technology of the Internet but have a very fuzzy idea of how things really work. The original Tron was about someone imagining about how these streams of information were travelling and then creating a world to represent what that would look like – streams of information colliding and competing, physical representations of programs – that whole idea of taking this abstract form and somehow turning it into something concrete and relevant.
If you found yourself in the world of Tron, what would you do?
I’d find myself a lightcycle and hide: it’s dangerous. But it’s kinda sexy too, there’s fun to be had. I like the idea that Kevin Flynn (Jeff Bridges) created this virtual world to help scientific advancement in the real world. In the Tron world he was imagining experimenting with cures for diseases and creating technology to stop ecological disasters, I think that’s a very cool concept. Of course, it all went terribly wrong for him. But if I were stuck in this alternate universe and you could come back to life the way you can in videogames, then maybe you could experiment. But then, judging by how long I last playing videogames, it may be best if I never go into Tron world for real.