USA Today posted our first look at Hugh Jackman in Real Steel, a sci-fi film that sees Jackman boxing Rocky-style against robots.
The film is directed by Shawn Levy who was offered the job by Steven Spielberg. After directing a bunch of comedies such as Date Night and Night at the Museum he wanted to do something different, so he accepted.
The story, set in 2020, features Jackman as an out-of-work fighter who bonds with his estranged son when they go to work rescuing a junkyard find named Atom, and grooming it as a potential champion in the World Robot Boxing league.
“The moment of walking in and seeing these robots, my jaw was on the floor,” Jackman said Monday. That’s because the robot in this image is a real device, not a digital visual effect.
Motion-capture animation is used in the film when the machines are brawling (with boxing legend Sugar Ray Leonard working as an adviser on those), but 19 real-life animatronic giants were created for scenes with the human actors.
“There are some things only visual effects can pull off,” Levy says. “But when you give an actor a real thing, in this case a real 8-foot-tall machine, to interact with and do dialogue opposite, you get a more grounded reality to the performance.”
Real Steel also stars Evangeline Lilly (Lost) as a friend of Jackman, Dakota Goyo as Jackman’s young son and Kevin Durand (Wolverine) as a boxing promoter. DreamWorks and Touchstone have set a release date for November 2011.