A gritty, white-knuckle, action ride set in the near-future where the sport of boxing has gone high-tech, “Real Steel” stars Jackman as Charlie Kenton, a washed-up fighter who lost his chance at a title when 2000-pound, 8-foot-tall steel robots took over the ring. Now nothing but a small-time promoter, Charlie earns just enough money piecing together low-end bots from scrap metal to get from one underground boxing venue to the next. When Charlie hits rock bottom, he reluctantly teams up with his estranged son Max (Dakota Goyo) to build and train a championship contender. As the stakes in the brutal, no-holds-barred arena are raised, Charlie and Max, against all odds, get one last shot at a comeback.
Action superstar Hugh Jackman stars 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.
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.”
She made her mark with a breakout stint in the wildly popular TV series, “Lost.” Now, Evangeline Lilly is set to captivate big-screen audiences as she stars opposite Hugh Jackman in DreamWorks Pictures’ futuristic action-adventure “Real Steel.” In the movie, Lilly’s character Bailey is the daughter of Charlie’s former trainer from back when he was a young fighter. The two characters have known each other their whole lives. They may have had a crush on each other when they were younger, but the attraction isn’t just physical; it’s based on the fact that they know each other inside and out. They know what makes the other tick. Bailey knows Charlie better than anyone else and yet there’s a gravitational pull between them that is very much a subtext in the story.
Lilly was drawn to the role of Bailey after reading the script for “Real Steel,” which her agent had sent her. Lilly recalls, “I was so moved and so touched and it was so heartfelt and well written, I wanted the role.”
Aside from the great script, there was another factor that attracted Lilly to the project and that was the opportunity to work with Hugh Jackman. “A while ago, after seeing a movie called ‘The Fountain’ by Darren Aronofsky, in which Hugh Jackman stars, I told myself that if I ever had the chance to work with Hugh I would take it. He is so breathtakingly impressive in that film. So I decided, by virtue of the fact that he was attached, I had to do it. The bonuses were that the script was so darn good and Shawn Levy was directing.”
Lilly met with Levy to audition for the part and as soon as they were introduced the actress says she knew it was right for her to do the film. “Shawn is such a nice guy,” the actress says. “I always say he’s so ‘sparkly.’ He’s a man who’s happy and energetic and he has a really positive energy. I think in this industry it’s easy to fall into the trap of taking yourself too seriously and becoming very heavy-handed about the work that you do. Shawn couldn’t be lighter or more playful. He couldn’t be more collaborative, too, and so much fun.”
NOW SHOWING across the Philippines in IMAX and regular theaters, “Real Steel” is a DreamWorks Picture to be distributed locally by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures International.