New Leading Man Garrett Hedlund Feels No Pressure on TRON: LEGACY

Garrett Hedlund has played opposite Brad Pitt (Troy), Mark Wahlberg (Four Brothers), and Lindsay Lohan (Georgia Rule) in a supporting role but the Minnesota-born actor transitions to leading man status in TRON: LEGACY out December 17.

Speaking to us from Montreal, Canada where he is currently on location for Walter Salles’ On The Road starring Kristen Stewart and Kirsten Dunst, the TRON: LEGACY star says he doesn’t feel any pressure as the movie nears its opening weekend. “My mind is on shooting this film (On The Road). That’s all I’m focused on right now,” said the 28-year-old actor who plays Sam Flynn in the Tron Sequel. He is anxious, however, for audiences to see the effort director Joseph Kosinski and his team at Digital Domain put into the film and hopes they “appreciate” all the hard work that went into making TRON: LEGACY.

The Friday Night Lights actor does admit that during the making of TRON: LEGACY there was pressure to deliver a good performance in scenes that were technically challenging. He said of the heavy-effects and 3D production, “every day there was an obstacle and knowing the stakes are high, you’re wondering how are you going to survive?”

He survived the production but the following months after shooting TRON: LEGACY, he admits to a dry spell in Hollywood. When Garrett first came to Hollywood, he didn’t live the life of a struggling actor for long when he landed the role of Brad Pitt’s cousin in Troy (2003) only a month after arriving. Since then, he’s had a steady gig with films such as Death Sentence (Kevin Bacon), Friday Night Lights (Billy Bob Thornton, Tim McGraw) and his recent work with Gwyneth Paltrow in Country Strong also opening this December. After shooting the TRON sequel and Country Strong, Garrett revealed he bought a one-way ticket back to his family’s Minnesota farm to help out his “old man” when the movie offers dwindled earlier this year. Luckily, they sought him out for the lead in the adaptation of Jack Kerouac’s novel “On The Road.” Garrett credits that trip home as inspiration for his character Dean Moriarty.

TRON: LEGACY’s leading man also credits his on-screen father Jeff Bridges as an “incredible actor” who inspired him on the set of TRON: LEGACY. He was thrilled to “work and hang” with the Academy Award-winning actor. “He’s such a great person. He’s so unique,” he said about the True Grit star. “He really sets the standard for me to continue working hard on every project.” He was surprised to see the Dude “remain true” to his craft after many years in Hollywood.

Garrett wishes he could have known Jeff Bridges from the original Tron film. Growing up on a farm in Roseau, Minnesota, he didn’t have much access to films let alone a ground-breaking film like 1982’s Tron. He joked that his viewing options consisted of Roseanne and Cheers on television. He finally got to watch Tron for the first time while shooting Troy in 2003 on the island of Malta. He was impressed with Kevin Flynn’s character. “It’s just funny to see young energetic maniacal Jeff running around explaining his visions of technology”. I wish I could’ve hung out with that guy”, he said jokingly. “Luckily I got the wonderful, incredible, wise Jeff Bridges who he is today but he would’ve been fun to hang with him for a day then.”

Unlike his TRON character, Garrett admits he is nothing like Sam or his on-screen tech-savvy dad. Garrett doesn’t keep up with the latest gadgets, video games, or social networks like Twitter and Facebook. Instead he prefers to play chess and backgammon. “I’m not the most technologically-driven person,” stated Garrett. “It doesn’t fill any hole I’m trying to make whole.” Being opposite of Sam Flynn’s character was the attractiion to the role.

As TRON: LEGACY nears its December 14 release, will he be curious to read reviews on the movie? “I’m never been one to go online and search for reviews and user comments,” according to the Country Strong star. He will, however, pick a newspaper up if its in front of him but will not actively search for them. His “pals” are more curious than he is, and will go online researching what people are saying about him, which he finds amusing.

Garrett Hedlund places more importance on audience enjoyment than reviews. “I hope everyone enjoys it,” he said about TRON: LEGACY. He also wishes the same for his other film Country Strong when it opens opposite the Hollywood blockbuster this December.

With two high-profile films under his belt, we can expect to see a lot more of of this leading man in 2011.

TRON: LEGACY is in theaters December 17.