Jeff Bridges on the Zen of ‘TRON’ and the Lebowski Legacy

In reprising his role as software pioneer/revolutionary Kevin Flynn in TRON: Legacy, Disney’s long-awaited sequel to its groundbreaking 1982 film TRONJeff Bridges saw an opportunity to utilize some of the spiritual knowledge he accumulated in the intervening years since he first portrayed the character. When we happen upon him in the follow-up, the elder Flynn has transformed himself into something of a digital zen master during his two decades of computerized exile (he’s been trapped in the alternate universe of the “grid”), his abundant free time apparently spent learning the tenets of Buddhism. Bridges’ sincerity was such that he even brought in his own guru, Roshi Bernie Glassman, to serve as a sort of script consultant on the film, advising on dialogue and sitting in on story meetings. (I wonder if the ending was his idea.)

In an exclusive interview, Bridges talked with me about the zen of TRON, the strangeness of having a digital doppelganger, and the legacy of Jeffrey Lebowski, shades of whom are evident in Bridges’ TRON: Legacy performance:

And no, I don’t have any idea who that “Gene” (or perhaps “Jean”) person is.

TRON: Legacy opens everywhere December 17, 2010.