Elijah Wood on ‘Tron: Uprising’

Wood tells us about his upcoming animated series and his new role as Tron's successor.

Fred Topelby Fred Topel

We got to talk to Elijah Wood at a Disney roundtable for "Tron: Uprising," the new animated series coming to Disney XD on June 07. Wood provides the voice of Beck, a new character who is mentored by the original Tron (Bruce Boxleitner) to inspire a rebellion against Tesler (Lance Henriksen.) and his master, Clu.


CraveOnline: Why does Beck do what he does?

Elijah Wood: What makes a vigilante? A friend of his is de-res’ed. So, that'll do it. I think it's a combination of seeing that Clu and Tesler are clearly going to ruin the freedom of the people of the grid, his life and his friends lives and the lives of all are being put at risk. So, I think it's that and Bohdi being de-resed and feeling like he's helpless.

That kind of ticks something off in his mind about taking a stand. He kind of does this very cavalier thing and he cuts the head off of the statue and throws a bomb in it and it explodes. And he gets away with it basically, but I don't think he's even really thinking or projecting into the future about what that could potentially mean. It's an act of defiance, it’s an act of rebellion that ultimately leads him face to face with Tron, who then sort of says to him, “Well, I've seen what you've done. You have the makings to be my successor.”

Which initially Beck doesn't believe. He's a mechanic. He's an everyday individual. He has relatively special abilities as a mechanic and as a light cycle rider and as someone who can play disc games well, but certainly no Tron. But he hears what Tron has to say and hears his belief in him and kind of takes the mantle, albeit reluctantly initially.

That's kind of the birth of the hero, and that's sort of how all heroes, to a certain degree, ones at least that don't have superpowers at least, are created, out of something within them that feels like something needs to change. They take these sort of steps that ultimately make them the hero that they become.

CraveOnline: Is the journey of the show for him to actually become the new Tron and live up to that?

Elijah Wood: That's the idea, and I think also Tron's ulterior motive, not really an ulterior motive, but Tron's interest in Beck is also that Beck can not only be a singular hero, but the idea that he can motivate others to fight as well, that there's a resistance behind him, that he can inspire others to fight for their freedoms.

CraveOnline: What was involved for you in joining this franchise in this animated TV show incarnation?

Elijah Wood: I heard that they were doing it. I came out here to meet with them. I read the script for it. I was really intrigued at the notion of doing an animated series in the space of and the universe of The Grid and of Tron, particularly that there were people involved with the expansion of the universe in Legacy that were also involved in this and that it was going to take place chronologically between the first two films.

I found that really exciting, that there was connective tissue with the mythology, that it was rooted in things that had already been established. So, it gave it an air of authenticity and integrity and then I came and I saw the conceptual art and some of the early tests of the animation and was just totally blown away.

It was unlike anything that I'd ever seen in an animated program. It kind of looked far more cinematic. It almost looked like something you'd see in a film. That was exciting. I think the universe is so exciting. It's a very attractive universe. There are many ways that you can explore it. So, it was cool to get a chance to be a part of it.

CraveOnline: What was your entry point into the world of Tron?

Elijah Wood: I knew of Tron when I was kid, but I didn't see Tron until I was an adult, and it was probably the years prior to the release. I'm sure that you all remember when there was an initial teaser before they made Legacy. There was a teaser which was this whole thing of the lead up to they are going to do a sequel.

I think that's when it first kind of jumped into my consciousness because it made me remember that there was this Disney film, Tron, from when I was one year old. I remember the videogame. The lore, if you're at all a nerd and into that world, you're going to cross paths with it. So, I just knew of it, but then when there was this lead up to Legacy and then ultimately making the film and then releasing the film was when it really came into my consciousness. I saw that film and was completely blown away by it. I loved it. I thought that they handled the world really beautifully and expounded on it really beautifully. So, that's my history.

CraveOnline: Beck is a darker hero in terms of animated TV shows. Is there a point where Beck thinks about what he can do and what he can't do, that maybe he's gone too far?

Elijah Wood: In terms of his own limitations or inspiring people to go too far? Hmm, do we explore that? I'm trying to think. There's a lot of episodes. We do encounter misguided rebellion. He inspires a lot of people around him and there are elements to some of the people that he inspires that some of their methods aren’t exactly the best methods, potentially dangerous methods and doing more harm than they do good which is definitely something one encounters with this sort of story. So, yeah, we definitely get into a bit of that.


Photo Credit: WENN.COM

CraveOnline: How much of an animation fan are you?

Elijah Wood: I love animation. I love it. It's always been really fun for me, too, to work within animation. I've done a couple of films now. I just love the medium as a storytelling medium. I think it's a beautiful way to tell stories, but I think I'm also just attracted to the aesthetics of it, too.

CraveOnline: Do you have any favorite animated series?

Elijah Wood: We were talking about this earlier. I was doing an interview downstairs, and this series kind of reminds, because someone was asking me who does this appeal to and what's the demographic for the show. I was like, “Well, I guess it's teens to people in their forties, people who grew up watching Tron and older,” but it kind of reminds me, because the show has a real weight to it and a cinematic quality and I think it will appeal to all ages, it’ll really appeal to adults.

The last time I remember a show like that existing was the “Batman” animated series. Like, fans of Batman took that show seriously. In some ways they were more of a fan of those episodes and of that show than some of the movies that were being made at the time. That is a huge show for me.

Growing up I loved the “Batman” animated series, and the movies that they've made consequently. Mark Hamill's Joker is classic, incredible and very true to the comic, too and true to some of my more favorite aspects of the other comics that came out. Yeah, it's rad. I love that show.

CraveOnline: What are the major differences in performing with your voice versus acting on camera?

Elijah Wood: The major difference is that you're not at all concerned about your appearance or your physicality. You're not thinking about the logistics of a scene in regards to where you are and what you're wearing and the props and the other things that you interact with in a physical way. So, that's really freeing in that way.

The challenge is making your character sound like he's experiencing something that you're not physically experiencing. But inevitably what ends up happening is that you unconsciously start moving anyway just because you need to physically move to make your voice sound that way, especially with this because there's quite a lot of physical activity and fighting. There's a lot of standing in front of a microphone and looking like an idiot, fighting thin air.

But it's a lot of fun. When you're standing sort of solitary, that's part of the fun of it, to kind of create that, imbue that character with a sense of life and experience out of nothing, just purely with your voice and a limited amount of physicality. It's fun. It's a lot of imagination, too.

CraveOnline: How would you say you're like or unlike Beck? Do you relate to him at all?

Elijah Wood: I relate to his ideals. I think that everyone can relate to wanting to revolt against tyranny. Oh, that. I think there's something also very human about Beck. He's not without faults. He's not infallible. He makes mistakes. He's bound by, albeit a digital physical realm, a physical realm.

I think we can all relate to believing in something and wanting to stand up for that thing that you believe in. So, in that way I sort of relate to him as I think many people probably can.

CraveOnline: Is there an aspect that you don't relate to?

Elijah Wood: I guess I don't know if I could be as heroic as that. To take the kinds of risks he takes are pretty intense. But I think the underlying fundamentals of the character I can relate to.