Sometimes you think that you have Hollywood figured out and then they do something so random that it just confuses you. First of all, I have never heard of this futuristic robot boxing movie named “Real Steel”. I also didn’t know that it was one of the projects that Peter Berg has been attached to with hopes of directing. Well, now we have news that Peter Berg will not be directing this cool as hell sounding movie and instead has been replaced by Shawn Levy (“Night at the Museum”, “Cheaper by the Dozen”). So, yeah, this movie just went from sounding pretty bad ass to sounding kind of lame to me. You can get the full details when you hit the jump.
THR gives us a plot synopsis of “Real Steel” by telling us that the story will take place in a near future where “human boxing has been outlawed, and heavy, humanoid robots slug it out in the ring instead. Into this world step a father and his estranged teenage son, who train an extraordinary fighter. ”
All I needed to know in order to get excited for this movie was to know that it’s about robots boxing. I think that Berg is so far a hit and miss director, but I still think that he has the potential to make something great if given the right material. He has proven himself to be an excellent director when it comes to action with “The Rundown” and I would even say the football game moments in “Friday Night Lights”. It’s because of this that I’m sad to see this fun sounding project go to Levy, who I consider to be the definition of a bland and broad director.
It seems that Berg deciding to do his adaptation of Hasbro’s “Battleship” next left “Real Steel” wide open. Steven Spielberg, who will serve as an executive producer on the film along with Robert Zemeckis, decided to call Levy last week to ask if he were interested. Since Levy is not dumb* he agreed to the project since if Spielberg calls you and tells you to direct a movie, you will direct that movie.
Shawn Levy is even quoted in THR’s article by saying that “Steven’s passion for this project was absolutely infectious and I’m so excited to bring this story to life,” The director goes on to say that “In a movie filled with these mechanical warriors, at its core ‘Real Steel’ is an incredibly human story.” I don’t know why but when I read these quotes I get flashbacks to “Bicentennial Man”.
The project was originally bought by Dreamworks in 2003 based off of a Dan Gilroy-penned spec. The script was then worked on by screenwriters Jeremy Leven (“The Notebook”) and Les Bohem (“The Alamo”). The latest writer attached to the film is John Gatins (“Dreamer”) who is writing the most recent draft. Meanwhile, Shawn Levy recently finished filming “Date Night” starring Steve Carell and Tina Fey which comes out April, 2010.
*[Matt's note: He's not dumb in forwarding his career. Now his actual job? That's a different story.]