‘Tron: Ares’ Delayed as Director Criticizes “Extremely Frustrating” Strike Talks

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Tron: Ares director Joachim Rønning took to Instagram to give an update on the long-awaited sequel and express his frustration with the SAG-AFTRA strike, which has delayed the start of the Disney film.

The Norwegian director (Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, Maleficent: Mistress of Evil) revealed the production was supposed to begin filming this week and instead had to lay off 150 crew members. Rønning teased the film would have a storyline centered around AI (as have the two previous films, to varying extent). While supporting the goals of the work stoppage, he also urged both sides of the contract dispute to resolve their differences.

“We close deals for breakfast,” Rønning wrote. “Why do we suddenly have all the time in the world when every day is so precious? These tactics are extremely frustrating.”

Here are Rønning’s comments in full:

“The absolute best moments of my career have been watching an actor perform in front of the camera – taking the scene and the text to a higher place. I’ve been fortunate to collaborate with amazing talent. It’s a huge part of why I’m a filmmaker. However, like myself, being an actor or a writer, means you’re a freelancer. And I can tell you, the constant uncertainty is not for everyone. To that end I don’t think it’s unreasonable to ask for a better safety net.

Many of my best friends are writers. Everything starts with the story. Everything starts with you. That must continue. And that means that AI needs to be regulated. There is no doubt about the threat the technology poses to all creatives.

Today was supposed to be our first day of principal photography on TRON: ARES (a movie subsequently about AI and what it means, and takes, to be human). Instead, we are shut down with over a hundred and fifty people laid off. It’s indefinite, which makes it exponentially harder for everyone. The AMPTP, SAG-AFTRA and WGA need to speed up the negotiating process and not leave the table until it’s done. This is Hollywood. We close deals for breakfast. Why do we suddenly have all the time in the world when every day is so precious? These tactics are extremely frustrating. It’s time for diplomacy so we can get back to work – under conditions that are fair to everybody.”

The Hollywood Reporter has reached out to Disney and a rep for Rønning for comment.

Tron: Ares stars Jared Leto as a new character in the franchise, Ares. The logline says the film “showcases Ares, Leto’s computer program, on a journey from the digital world to the human one.” Sources previously told The Hollywood Reporter that the new film will spend more time in the real world. The script from Jesse Wigutow and Jack Thorne is said to center on a sentient program that crosses over into the human world that is not ready for contact.

The film also stars Evan Peters, Jodie Turner-Smith, Greta Lee and Cameron Monaghan. Tron: Ares has been described as a sequel to the 2010 film Tron: Legacy, but it’s not yet known if franchise star Jeff Bridges, or Legacy players Olivia Wilde and Garrett Hedlund, will appear.

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