Back in April, Dreamworks announced they were already developing a sequel to “Real Steel” – months before the film was even due to hit theaters. While not exactly an unprecedented decision, it did demonstrate some confidence on the studio’s part regarding the film’s commercial prospects. And it looks like they might have been onto something after all, with the Hugh Jackman-starrer predicted to come in at #1 this weekend with somewhere around $30 million in box-office receipts.
I recently sat down with director Shawn Levy to talk about the upcoming sci-fi film, which takes place in a near-future world where robots have replaced human fighters in the boxing ring. Jackman stars as a former bruiser who tests out a junkyard robot on the robot-boxing circuit (the WWE-esque WRB) with his formerly estranged son (Dakota Goyo) and discovers that the machine holds far more potential than he initially thought.
Levy, who said there’s no way a sequel to the film would happen without him at the helm, talked to me about the direction he’d like to go with the follow-up during our sit-down:
“The [Richard Matheson] book [that the movie is based on] is only a short story,” said the director, whose last film was the hit Tina Fey/Steve Carrell comedy “Date Night”. “So we have exhausted that. However, the sequel is still very much [about] the sport that Matheson invented in his short story, the protagonist that Matheson suggested in his short story, but it really delves into the fallout from the fame and fortune that [Hugh Jackman’s character] is gonna have. It’s about what happens to that father-son relationship, and it really explores the class warfare between the monetized WRB and the underground fight world, and the kind of clash of ‘where is the real, legitimate sport taking place?'”
Interestingly for a director mostly known for helming comedies and family-friendly adventure films, Levy is now attached to direct “Frankenstein”, an updating of the classic Mary Shelley horror novel for 20th Century Fox. Though he didn’t have much specific to say about the project, he did indicate that he’s interested in moving into different genres going forward:
“It’s interesting, when people heard when I was doing ‘Real Steel’ they were like ‘What? Comedy guy doing Real Steel’?” said the director. “Same thing with ‘Frankenstein’. I’m all about continued challenges. And if I can keep surprising people, that’s my goal.”
You can watch the full interview above.
“Real Steel” hits theaters tomorrow, October 7th. It also stars Evangeline Lilly, Anthony Mackie and Hope Davis.