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'Tron: Legacy' exclusive: Disney looks to Pixar for help; hires screenwriters Michael Arndt and Brad Bird to beef up script

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olivia-wilde-garrett-hedlund-tron-legacyImage Credit: DisneyJoe Kosinski’s Tron: Legacy is getting a little help from above. EW.com has learned that the CG-extravaganza due out at the end of the year received some key input from some very brilliant filmmakers, mainly the elite brain trust at Pixar in Northern California. In late March, the Tron filmmakers chose to show a very early working cut of the film starring Garrett Hedlund and Jeff Bridges to Pixar’s John Lasseter, Ed Catmull, The Incredibles director Brad Bird, Toy Story 3 screenwriter Michael Arndt, and others. The one-day exercise was done in advance of some planned re-shoots scheduled for June with the intent of beefing up the very things that Pixar is so good at: character, emotion, and theme.

Following the screening — and other viewings with various live-action filmmakers in Los Angeles — Disney hired Arndt and Bird to write some pages for the upcoming re-shoots, which lasted six days last month. Original writers Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz (Lost) were also integral in the writing at this time. “Tron is very much Joe Kosinski’s vision, a vision which is thrilling to me and I hope is thrilling to the fans,” said Sean Bailey, Disney’s president of production. “What I give Joe and the filmmaking team immense credit for, is this was all born out of how do we give the fans the best movie we can. We were very fortunate that Pixar wanted to play a part in it.”

So is this inter-studio collaboration a sign of things to come for Disney, under the new regime of studio head Rich Ross and Bailey? The answer seems to be yes. With Disney now essentially an umbrella company for not only Pixar but Marvel and Dreamworks Studios too, it makes a lot of sense. And Bailey, who was first a producer on Tron before being hired by Disney in January, is certainly encouraged by the positive experience of working with those famed filmmakers up north. “Certainly being able to have an open dialogue with our formidable partners in Pixar, Marvel, and Dreamworks is really interesting to me.”

Tron: Legacy will bow on Dec. 17.

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