December 2002 Tron-Sector Q&A with Mike Bonifer
December 2002 Q&A with Mike Bonifer : Senior staff publicist for TRON and author of the book The Art of Tron.
1. Were you present during the filming for the movie? If so, how did the different groups of people (actors, special effects crew, etc...)work with each other?
YES, I WAS ASSIGNED TO THE FILM AS ITS PUBLICIST FROM THE FIRST DAY DISNEY PUT IT INTO PRE-PRODUCTION THROUGH THE PREMIERE OF THE FILM.
2. What was your favorite part of Tron either behind the scenes or in the final product?
I HAVE MANY GREAT MEMORIES OF TRON. HERE ARE A FEW: SEEING THE VERY FIRST TEST THE FILMMAKERS SHOWED TO THE STUDIO AND THE EXCITEMENT WE ALL FELT FOLLOWING IT; THE FIRST DAY OF SHOOTING ON THE SOUND STAGES, WITH THE ACTORS STILL GETTING ìCIRCUITRYî TAPED TO THEIR COSTUMES AND NO ONE WITH ANY IDEA WHAT THE FINAL THING WOULD LOOK LIKE; LOOKING AT THE CONCEPTUAL DRAWINGS BY MOEBIUS, SYD MEAD AND PETER LLOYD IN THEIR STUDIO OFFICES; VISITING WITH JERRY REES AND BILL KROYER IN THE ìTRON TRAILERî AND WATCHING IMAGES DELIVERED FROM MAGI AND INFORMATION INTERNATIONAL AT A BPS RATE THAT SEEMS RIDICULOUSLY PREHISTORIC TODAY; WATCHING JOHN LASSETER GET EXCITED ABOUT THE CGI REES AND KROYER WERE DOING AND CONVINCING THE STUDIO TO LET HIM AND GLEN KEANE DO A TEST WITH ìWHERE THE WILD THINGS AREî; PLAYING BATTLE ZONE, CENTIPEDE AND GALAGA ON THE SET WITH JEFF BRIDGES AND GABBY, THE CREW MEMBER ASSIGNED TO RUN AIR CONDITIONING ON THE SET; SHOOTING 'COMPUTERS ARE PEOPLE, TOO' & THE VERY FIRST TELEVISION I'D EVER PRODUCED, TERRIBLE BUT A GOOD EXPERIENCE; THE TRON PROM.
3. Did you remain friends with anyone from Tron?
YES. I DON'T SEE SOME AS OFTEN AS OTHERS BUT I'M STILL FRIENDS WITH HARRISON ELLENSHAW, DONALD KUSHNER, CINDY MORGAN, STEVEN LISBERGER, JERRY REES, BILL KROYER, JOHN SCHEELE, TOM WILHITEÖCOME TO THINK OF IT, I CONSIDER MYSELF 'STILL FRIENDS' WITH EVERYONE WHO WORKED ON THE FILM. WHEN I VISITED THE SET OF BABYLON 5 ON BUSINESS A FEW YEARS AGO, I SAW BRUCE BOXLEITNER AND WE REMINISCED VERY FONDLY ABOUT THE TRON EXPERIENCE. IT WAS LIKE ATTENDING SCHOOL FOR A COUPLE OF YEARS ON ANOTHER PLANET & I DON'T THINK ANY OF US WILL EVER FORGET IT.
4. Are there any plans that you know of to re-release your book The Art Of Tron? It is very sought after book by collectors. Even if they released a limited special edition version, maybe in hardback.
DON'T KNOW. MY BIG CONCERN IS FINDING MY ORIGINAL MOEBIUS DRAWINGS AND MY TRON HELMET, WHICH I SEEM TO HAVE MISPLACED SOMEWHERE.
5. With the new rise of interest in Tron, has there been any thought about reprinting The Art Of Tron or any other type Tron books?
SOUNDS GOOD TO ME. I'M SORT OF EMBARRASSED BY THE FLIMSINESS OF THE ART OF TRON BOOK, SINCE THERE WAS SO MUCH MORE ART THAT WE COULD HAVE PUT INTO IT. AND THERE WAS MUCH MORE TO TELL ABOUT THE FILM'S PRODUCTION. IT IS A FILM THAT EITHER INFLUENCED OR WAS INFLUENCED BY SO MANY INTERESTING AND TALENTED PEOPLE THAT IT WOULD BE FUN TO GET THEIR PERSPECTIVE AFTER 20 YEARS.
6. From an advertising standpoint were there any challenges, good or bad, you faced with Tron that wasn't faced with other Disney movies?
OH YEAH. TRYING TO GET THE STUDIO TO LET PLAYBOY DO A PICTORIAL SPREAD WITH GIRLS BACK-LIT WITH TRON CIRCUITRY, FOR ONE THING. (THEY WOULDN'T ALLOW IT. PLAYBOY DID, HOWEVER, RUN AN INTERVIEW WITH THE MCP, WHICH WAS CONDUCTED BY CHRISTOPHER KEITH, WHO WAS A PRODUCTION ASSISTANT ON THE FILM. IT WAS HILARIOUS, BECAUSE HE GAVE THE MCP HIS OWN PERSONAL HISTORY. I WOULD LOVE TO SEE THAT INTERVIEW REPRINTED SOMEWHERE, IT WAS SO OFF THE WALL, LIKE A MONTY PYTHON SKETCH OR SOMETHING. AS FAR AS PAID ADVERTISING, I WAS DISAPP