During Hugh Jackman’s long and distinguished career there’s never been a movie quite like Real Steel. ‘It’s a gift of a movie and a dream role,’ he says. “I’ve waited a long time to be part of a film like this and it was worth the wait.’
‘It’s a rousing, get out of your seat action drama – it’s Rocky, The Champ, it’s all of those things and when I got to see the movie I turned to Shawn Levy (the director) and said ‘thank you for letting me be a part of this..’
‘I love those kind of movies,’ he says. ‘For me, it’s a privilege to be a part of this one. If you can be in a movie where it gets the audience laughing, crying and at times, jumping out of their seats and yelling, well, that’s as good as it gets.
Of his character Jackman comments, ‘He’s a little different to the kind of role I’ve played before. Charlie is a combination really, part bad guy, part good guy and certainly not the guy you would want your daughter to bring home at the end of the day. But really, he is a good guy who is down on his luck – he’s been beaten down by bad luck and is looking for a break.’
Charlie teams up with his estranged son, Max (Dakota Goyo) and coaches a robot that against all the odds begins to rise through the ranks and just might get a shot at a title. For Charlie, it’s a chance to taste the acclaim that should have been his years before and an opportunity to build a lasting relationship with Max..
‘ I have to say that Dakota is just amazing as Max,’ comments Hugh. ‘He was just ten years old when we made the film and he delivers – really delivers. Really, I feel like I was able to give the performance I did because of Shawn and the way he worked with Dakota was incredible. Shawn Levy has worked with kids before and he knows when to give them encouragement, when to give them some guidance, when to leave them alone – he knows how to get a performance.’
‘Dakota is funny, sharp, talented and there wasn’t one day in three and a half months of shooting – 70 days of filming – when he was even in the slightest bit annoying!’ he laughs. ‘He is the nicest kid and very, very talented.’
And on the boxing, both Jackman and his director were thrilled that Sugar Ray Leonard, widely acknowledged as one of the greatest boxers who ever lived and a five times world champion, was an adviser on set for the fight scenes in Real Steel.
‘It was beyond cool,’ Jackman smiles. ‘We were like kids in a candy shop whenever Sugar Ray was there. The man is a legend. He did all the choreography and he also talked to me a lot about how to be the corner guy – which is what my part is, Charlie is in the corner while his robot is out there fighting. So he really helped me a lot.’