Olivia Wilde: Tron: Legacy’s Hot Role Model
Kidzworld was invited to see a preview of the cool upcoming Disney sci-fi film Tron: Legacy, and chat with the special effects wizards and actors. We’re in Venice, California, talking with the female star of the movie Olivia Wilde who really feels that her character Quorra is a great role model for kids and especially girls. She also feels that, aside from the fact that the movie is loaded with cool costumes and futuristic action and sets, it’s really about family.
Courtesy of Disney
Quorra is the embodiment of a computer program living in a video game computer world called Tron. When a handsome human “User” is sucked into the world, it’s up to Quorra, a martial arts whiz, to protect him. Olivia told us she did all her training in flats and had a little trouble once she put on her costume, which included four-inch heels!
Kidzworld: Olivia, your cute co-star Garrett Hedlund told us that he has a newfound respect for somebody who can do a high roundhouse kick in four-inch heels. That would be you of course.
Olivia Wilde: [Laughs] Well, when we first all got into our [light] suits, there were a lot of jokes about “turning each other on and off.”
Kidzworld: We know that boys will enjoy Tron: Legacy, but why will girls like the movie and your character?
Olivia Wilde: Girls will enjoy the vehicles, the effects, the family story, the performances and the fashion. [The movie] is very interesting and futuristic in its fashion and also in the design of the film from the streets of the [computer] Grid to the lines of the suits and hair. I think girls will empathize with Quorra because she is not just a [hot] vixen. She's not the temptress. She's not there to serve the men as eye candy which can happen all too often in Sci Fi films. She's, on her own, quite powerful. She is unique in her child-like innocence. She's enthusiastic and quirky and awkward in an enjoyable way and she's really smart. I think [girls] will like that.
Kidzworld: Would you go as far as to say that she’s a role model for girls?
Olivia Wilde: Yes. I think young women will hopefully, look up to her and have her as a role model in a time when I think there is a lack of sci-fi female role models for kids. When I was little it was Wonder Woman and she stood for social justice and truth. Who now do kids have to dress up as for Halloween who stands for social justice and truth? They dress up as princesses, which can be boring. So I think that Quorra will hopefully be that for young women. I was grateful I was able to make her like that. It would have been quite easy to make her just the [hot] character.
Kidzworld: Do you consider yourself a geek or sci-fi geek?
Olivia Wilde: Yeah. I think nerd would be a better term because geek implies that I have some sort of expertise in the technological or gaming world and I'm completely naive about technology and gaming but I'm a total nerd because, coming into a project like Tron, you could have focused on the cool cars … I was thinking, “Oh, Quorra is Joan of Arc or she's an ancient Buddhist/Korean warrior. I was bringing in all these elements that , thank goodness, our creative team was so receptive to. But I completely nerded out. We're all nerds in this movie so we did well together.
Kidzworld: Tron: Legacy is full of electronic gadgets and imagery. Do you think that electronic gadgets are just distancing kids, teens and even adults from each other or is it just a phase we're going through?
Olivia Wilde: Well, it's interesting. It's doing two things at once. It's definitely distancing us from each other but it's also bringing us together. If you think back to what it was like to communicate with someone across the world just ten years ago, and now I chat with someone in China. It's being used in schools where instead of just having pen pals, kids have whole classes that they communicate with in other nations. That's where technology is working well and for the good of humanity.
Kidzworld: Is there a message then in the movie about misuse of technology?
Olivia Wilde: I think the message of the film is that you have to embrace what is valuable and good about being human and harness the power of technology only in the most positive way. We need to recognize how easy it is to lose yourself to the technology and how we mustn't lose what it is to be human. The end message is that there is some redemption for those of us who have been swallowed by technology.
Kidzworld: What is your personal use of modern technology?
Olivia Wilde: I'm stuck to my phone. I need the Internet. I forget what life was like before Google and I've certainly taken advantage of what it's done for the ease of life. But I do enjoy taking [a break] from it once in a while. You suddenly realize how stress-free you feel. Recently, I was looking for a business in a city and someone said, “I can look in the phone book,” and I was appalled. “What? Why? Give me my phone and I'll find it in a second!” So, you can see how much it's changed.
Courtesy of Disney
Kidzworld: Quorra is actually a program inside the computer grid. What is it like for an actress to play that?
Olivia Wilde: When you are playing a non-human character, you can't focus on not being human. Joan of Arc was my main source of inspiration for her. She seemed to be from another world. She was 14-year-old leading the French army. She thought she was communicating with God so she was working for a higher purpose, completely selfless and she was strangely powerful and fearless. That's how I wanted Quorra to feel; that she is very emotional and compassionate in the way that humans are but connected to something else that we don't have. She’s physically more powerful than a human.
Kidzworld: If Quorra is a program and Garrett’s character Sam Flynn is human and they like each other, how is that going to work? Or do they even have a boyfriend/girlfriend relationship?
Olivia Wilde: [laughing] I know! That's the looming question. They are almost like siblings in a way. Quorra had been Flynn's father’s companion and student for hundreds of years inside the Grid. He's kind of adopted her. Two hundred years there is like 20 years in the User [human] world. He's adopted her almost like a daughter and suddenly his son has arrived. All Quorra has wanted her entire life was to meet Sam Flynn.
Just like we humans don't really believe in the Tron world, those in the Tron world don't really believe in humans. They could be a myth. When Sam arrives, she's amazed and in awe but she needs to protect him. She's discovering all these emotions and feelings of attraction and love that she never understood. So, it remains to be seen what would happen if they actually [got together]. We'll see!
Lynn Barker, an editor and entertainment journalist for several websites, magazines and newspapers, has been active in the entertainment industry for many years.