Jeff Bridges helps revive cult sci-fi movie 'Tron'

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Jeff Bridges insists he's lazy at heart - but the grizzled Oscar-winning actor has thrown all his energy into helping revive cult 1980s sci-fi movie "Tron" for the 3D generation.

The 61-year-old, who has had a fantastic comeback year after winning Best Actor for his role in "Crazy Heart" at the Academy Awards, reprises his character Kevin Flynn in "Tron: Legacy" due out this week.

In it he does the neat trick of appearing opposite a computer-generated version of his younger self from the 1982 original.

"It was very odd," Bridges says. "It wasn't actually me, it was a rendition created by some wonderful artists and the rendition was a version of me from 25-30 years ago."

Explaining why he agreed to do the movie, he tells reporters: "It was basically the same reason that I did the first one: it was cutting-edge technology at that time, and this one certainly is for this time.

"Twenty seven years ago Tron was a truly avant-garde film. Of course now, looking back, looks like an old television series in black and white," he adds.

The original "Tron" - about a hacker transported into a computer game world - was one of the first-ever animated films. It did well at the box office and became a cult for a generation of budding sci-fi fans.

The updated version, set to the beats of French electro-house duo Daft Punk, reprises the story, except with Flynn's son entering the virtual "Tron" computer game world to be reunited with his father.

"It's a complicated story, because we're building off a story that was done in 1982, and we're creating 28 years of intermediate story, and then starting our movie in 2010," director Joseph Kosinski tells AFP.

Progress in film animation made the film more complicated, says the 36-year-old filmmaker, who has a background in design and architecture, and has won awards for commercials for XBox and Playstation games.

"It's one of those movies that just takes a long time to make," he says, noting that while the original took nine months in post-production, the new "Tron" has taken 18 months.

"So, with all the advancements of technology, it actually takes more time to finish it. It's hard to make a movie like this; every single thing in the frame has to be built either practically or digitally."

The budget of the original was 17 million dollars, and it made 33 million in its first few weeks. "Legacy" is estimated to have cost 200 million dollars, so studio giant Disney hopes for a Christmas-holiday smash at the box office.

Kosinski said the new movie's soundtrack by Daft Punk, whose music he used to listen to at architecture school in the 1990s, was well paired with the sleek, hyperfuturistic feel of the film.

"We wanted to make a classic film score that blended electronic and orchestra," said Kosinski. "I cut the movie to the score. I had the movie music on set, which is an amazing opportunity."

Bridges - who also stars in the Coen brothers' latest movie, "True Grit," to be released a week after "Tron" - is philosophical about his recent success crowning a 40-year career.

"I'm a pretty lazy guy. I spend most of my time avoiding work. Honestly, I do my best to turn everything down," he says. "My priority is my family, my sweet wife.... I always try to spend more time with Susan, my three daughters."

But he admits: "It was a great year, of course, and I am very grateful for this."

"Tron: Legacy" opens in the United States on December 17.