Hugh Jackman gets back in the ring with ‘Real Steel’

June 16, 2010 | 2:00 p.m.

Hugh Jackman has something to prove — can he be a major movie star when he isn’t in the role of  Wolverine? We have some early looks at the film that Jackman is making right now, the sci-fi action film “Real Steel,” due in theaters next year, and you can bet that the actor is hungry for the boxing movie to deliver a knockout.

The 41-year-old Aussie has been given a number of chances — “Kate and Leopold,” Australia,”Deception,” “Swordfish,” “Van Helsing,” “Scoop” and “The Fountain” — but he has yet to claw out a major hit with any live-action role away from the Marvel Comics mutant persona.

The closest he came was Christopher Nolan’s The Prestige in 2006, a film that pulled in $110 million worldwide and had a lean $40 million production budget, but that was more of an ensemble film (with Christian Bale, Michael Caine and Scarlett Johansson). And then there was “Australia,” which tanked in the U.S. ($50 million in box office) but made $162 million in foreign markets to cover its production budget of $130 million, although that budget number doesn’t include the major marketing and advertising expenses.


Jackman, widely considered one of the nicest guys in Hollywood, is getting back into the ring right now with “Real Steel,” a sort of mecha-gladiator tale filming in Detroit. Jackman plays a washed-up boxer named Charlie Kenton who with his estranged son Max (played by Dakota Goyo) makes a comeback bid in a new high-tech sport of robot boxing.

(If we’re going to come up with joke titles for the concept, my best shot is “Raging Mechanical Bull,” I’m sure you guys can do better…)


At top is an early shot from the movie and the second photo shows Jackman, right, with director Shawn Levy (who scored major success with “Night at the Museum” and its sequel) who also has something to prove since he is moving away from comedy with this DreamWorks film that opens in November 2011.

 If the premise sounds a bit familiar that’s because its based on the short story “Steel” by Richard Matheson, the prolific sci-fi and fantasy writer whose works have yielded the films “What Dreams May Come,” “Somewhere In Time” and “I Am Legend.” Matheson was also the writer of the greatTwilight Zone” episode, also called “Steel,” that adapted the tale and starred Lee Marvin as  boxer Steel Kelly who manages a creaky old robot called Battling Maxo and then, when his machine man is broken, steps into the ring himself in disguise to pay the bills. Considering the photo at top, it doesn’t look likely that Jackman will be pulling off that kind of masquerade in this new gearbox fantasy.

— Geoff Boucher

UPDATE: Is this some early test footage for “Real Steel”…?


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14 Responses to Hugh Jackman gets back in the ring with ‘Real Steel’

  1. Ellen says:

    Awesome. :) I'll watch anything with Hugh Jackman in it. Bummer that we have to wait so long to see it! :D

  2. Droversgirl says:

    Mr. Jackman is a solid major movie star in my opinion. He is like a breath of fresh air. If other men and actors would pay close attention, they could learn a lot from him. I am truly surprised that he has not won an oscar to date!! Australia was a wonderful movie, and did not get the publicity it so deserved here in the States. I don't know what it is with the media. Apparently, you don't know a really great movie star when you see one. Maybe you've been too critical of too many people for too long. I am, along with many others, waiting to see Mr. Jackman on the big screen again. Whatever the movie is, you can be sure that I, out of many, that will be there opening night!!! I used to wait for movies to come out on dvd before I would watch them, but since the arrival of Hugh Jackman onto the big screen, I have been at the movies on opening night of all his movies.

  3. Kara Powers says:

    Hey movie lovers, Got any ideas where I can audition for stuff? I found one website on the web where you can audition for real movies (google i made a movie) but am having trouble finding any more… Any ideas would be greatly appreciated!

  4. Sadie says:

    Hugh Jackman is my favorite movie star, and is greatly talented and underestimated by many. He is truly appreciated and loved on Broadway as a great stage performer, but underappreciated in Hollywood. I see all his movies. He has been terrific in all his parts, but some were never going to make it as major box office fare, like The Fountain. He was great in Australia, even if the critics did not like the movie. I loved it but it had a limited audience to be sure. I think other actors should take a lesson from Hugh Jackman who has class, style and appreciates his fans. We saw him many times in NYC and he was the epitome of graciousness. Kudos to Mr. Jackman. My family and friends are waiting in line to see your films!

  5. Gary says:

    Thanks, Mrs. Jackman.

  6. Smokey says:

    Hugh Jackman at his best in musicals on Broadway whether New York City, Australia, or London (Oklahoma!). That is where his Tony came from, and eventually hosting Tonys where he got his Emmy. He was excellent hosting the Oscars, the only reason I watched that show. I think he does movies like Wolverine and this one — for fun. I think he works hard but has to enjoy what he is doing, and I think the reason this movie just began shooting is because it is in Michigan and he waited until his children were out of school so he could bring his family with him.
    What a great guy! I will go to this movie no matter what the critics say..

  7. virg says:

    Ever since Kate and Leopold, I harbor a crush on Hugh Jackman…sigh

  8. Sammy Wool says:

    OH wow, now thats what I am talking about. Amazing
    Lou <a href="” target=”_blank”>

  9. catherine says:

    I think Hugh is just the greatest actor especially his romantic lead in "Australia" and Wolverine Origins. He is great in the Tokyo Lipton Tea commercial too, with his smiles throughout like he is having a really good time. I hope that "Reel Steel" will be a hit because he just isn't getting credit in Hollywood, and I agree with the other comments about that. He needs to get his Hollywood credentials pumped up because so few actually do the Broadway thing. I think he would be great in the new American "Girl with the Dragon Tatoo" series and Jackman fans should start lobbying for that (they have Brad Pitt in mind!). Hope this film is a huge success for Hugh. He deserves more recognition

  10. Smokey says:

    I really do not care where this story came from. It sounds good to me and I am sure Jackman is enjoying himself. Jackman is the greatest all-round entertainer today and he does not have to prove himself. Just give him a song and a stage to dance on.. or a fun movie to be in…

  11. Droversgirl says:

    Anxiously awaiting the reappearance of Hugh on the big screen!!!!! Still waiting for "Houdini" on Broadway!! You can be sure that I will be there in the front row for that one!!!!!

  12. […] Jackman gets back in the ring with “Real Steel” […]

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