Posted on Thursday, November 12th, 2009 by Russ Fischer
Back in September we heard that Night at the Museum and Date Night director Shawn Levy might be doing a movie called Real Steel, which depicts a world in which people get their kicks watching robots beat the hell out of each other. Then we heard that Hugh Jackman was the frontrunner as the lead role. Now Levy is out promoting Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian on DVD, and he’s confirmed that Jackman is who he wants for the lead. He’s also talking more about the plot, which he says is “more Rocky than Transformers.” Robo-Rocky? Oh, joy!
The script, originally by Dan Gilroy, but rewritten by Leslie Bohem and then John Gatins, is based on the same Richard Matheson short story that became a Twilight Zone episode called Steel, starring Lee Marvin. Levy says they’re staying true to the original prose story, and that he’s putting as much emphasis on the characters and sports-movie aspect as on the robots. “It’s faithful to the story,” he tells SciFi Wire, “in that that story was very much about a down-on-his-luck, slightly desperate journeyman who works in this robot boxing sport and who is desperately needing redemption and one last shot.”
He says the robots aren’t based on what we’ve seen in most movies. They’re not like the Terminator, and not cute like Wall-E. “These are human built, human-scale fighting machines. They are built for human spectacle. People in this movie have gotten bored with human carnage and human violence. So in the quest for more, more, more, this sport has evolved to this.”
The human-scale thing is important. I haven’t read Matheson’s story, but in the Twilight Zone episode (below) Lee Marvin disguises himself as a robot to fight and earn money. So we’ll likely get to see Hugh Jackman getting into the ring with a robot, and possibly getting his ass handed to him.