Action superstar Hugh Jackman stars in DreamWorks Pictures’ “Real Steel” as Charlie, a washed-up boxer in the near–future who, because his sport has been taken over by 8–foot steel robots, now lives in a world where he doesn’t fit in.
With no fights and no prospects, he is forced to hustle as a small–time robot fight promoter. He earns just enough money to survive by piecing together low–end “bots” and traveling from one seamy underground boxing venue to the next for whatever prizefight he can wrangle for his automatons. Just when things can’t become any more desperate and complicated, his estranged 10-year-old son Max (Dakota Goyo) suddenly and unwillingly comes back into his life.
Executive Producer Steven Spielberg says of the casting of Jackman, “I thought it was a brilliant idea. That really just became the power play that really got this movie rolling.”
The value of the project that instantly drew Jackman (“X-Men Origins: Wolverine”) to the role of Charlie is one of the same things that made director Shawn Levy eager to be part of this unique story. Jackman says, “What I loved first and foremost about the script is the father/son relationship and the idea that people who have made mistakes, who have regrets, can get a second chance, and they can become better people.”
Jackman was also intrigued by the world in which the story is set. “I loved the idea of the time period being not too far in the future. It’s a future that is seemingly accessible to us,” the actor says. “Also, I’m a big sports fan, so the robot boxing idea fascinated me. And of course it’s a real underdog story, with the person who has the most heart fighting to win in the end. It’s definitely a feel-good movie. And for me it was something different from what I’ve done before. Also, working with Shawn Levy was a no-brainer. Shawn is just about the most positive, energetic and fun person to be around. The shoot was one of the most challenging and enjoyable I’ve ever had.”
Ramping up the mutual admiration society a notch, Levy raves, “Hugh Jackman is known as the nicest guy in show biz. I can confirm that rumor,” he says with sincerity. “It’s insane, but it’s like no one’s ever told him he’s ridiculously good looking and a massive movie star. I’m hoping we can keep that secret because he is way too nice for someone who is all those things. He’s the greatest and he brings an underlying kind of sympathetic, lovable trait to Charlie, who can be a really hard, tough guy.”
The production hired Sugar Ray Leonard—widely considered to be one of the all-time greatest boxers, winning titles in five different weight divisions—to serve as the film’s boxing consultant and to train Hugh Jackman for his appearance in the ring. Hugh Jackman was pumped when Leonard was brought on board, especially since Jackman’s father had been a boxer and an army champion, fighting until he was in his early 20s.
Jackman says, “When I told my dad I was doing this film and was working with Sugar Ray Leonard, I don’t think I’ve ever seen him more amped or more jazzed in my life. He’s an Englishman, so he’s quite reserved. He told me that of all the people who have boxed, Sugar Ray Leonard is a true champion. There have been other champions, but there’s probably no one more respected than Sugar Ray. And when you meet him, you see that. He’s so generous and giving. He’s got a great, positive, effervescent way about him. He’s very respectful to people.
Opening across the Philippines on Oct. 12 in IMAX, 2D and regular theaters, “Real Steel” is a DreamWorks Picture to be distributed locally by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures International.