×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Hugh Jackman to star in ‘Real Steel’

DreamWorks greenlights sci-fi movie

Steven Spielberg and Stacey Snider are betting big on robots for their first project since securing $825 million in financing for the reconstituted DreamWorks.

The DreamWorks principals have greenlit the “Rocky”-esque robot tale “Real Steel,” to star Hugh Jackman, as their first pic since raising $650 million from both J.P. Morgan Securities and Reliance Big Pictures and an additional $175 million from Disney, which will distrib DreamWorks titles.

Industry watchers have been eager to see what DreamWorks’ first post-financing move would be. The Shawn Levy-helmed futuristic pic represents a recurring theme for Spielberg, who has explored the motif of human-like robots in a number of films in his role as a director, producer and DreamWorks executive — ranging in recent years from “A.I.: Artificial Intelligence” to “Transformers” and “Eagle Eye.”

Based on a short story by Richard Matheson, “Real Steel” was one of 17 projects that Spielberg and Snider took as part of DreamWorks’ split from Paramount last year.

Insiders say DreamWorks will make the pic on a budget of about $80 million — a far cry from the average price tag for sci-fi event films like “Transformers” or “Avatar.” DreamWorks plans to be the sole financier on the project, though Paramount can opt in for half. No decision will likely be made on Paramount’s end for several weeks.

Par and Spyglass partnered with DreamWorks to finance “Dinner for Schmucks,” the first project DreamWorks greenlit after leaving the Paramount fold.

DreamWorks initially bought the project, scripted by Dan Gilroy, in 2005 for a reported $850,000. John Gatins penned the most recent draft.

Story centers on a fighter who has to reinvent himself when human boxers are replaced by robots. Jackman will play a struggling Robot Boxing promoter who finds a discarded robot that always seems to win. He also discovers he has a 11-year-old son, and they bond as the robot brawls its way toward the top.

Although grounded in the father-son relationship, Levy describes the film as a “rousing sports movie” with Jackman’s character “a former boxer who can no longer do the only job he’s good at, and one particular robot that may be his return to grace.”

Production starts in June.

“When we took it with us, we really highlighted it as something we would put the pedal to metal on,” said DreamWorks co-president of production Mark Sourian. “It’s a project that Steven always wanted to do. It just came together rapidly after we left Paramount.”

Angry Films’ Don Murphy and Susan Montford are producing “Real Steel” along with Levy. Spielberg is exec producing alongside ImageMovers’ Jack Rapke, Robert Zemeckis and Steve Starkey.

More Film

  • Miramax Developing 'I Won't Be Home

    Film News Roundup: Miramax Developing 'I Won't Be Home for Christmas'

    In today’s film news roundup, “I Won’t Be Home for Christmas” is in the works, the NFL has made a documentary about female team owners and D Street Pictures has signed Kenny Gage and Devon Downs to direct the dance feature “Move.” HOLIDAY PROJECT Miramax has acquired film rights to Lauren Iungerich’s holiday-themed screenplay “I [...]

  • Michael B. Jordan arrives at the

    Michael B. Jordan to Star in Warner Bros.' 'Methuselah' Movie

    Michael B. Jordan will produce and star in a “Methuselah” movie for Warner Bros., based on the Biblical story of a man who lived to be 969 years old. Jordan will produce through his Outlier Society production company along with Heyday’s David Heyman and Jeffrey Clifford. Warner Bros. has been developing the project for many [...]

  • Davids Chief Piera Detassis on Revamping

    Davids Chief Piera Detassis on Revamping Italy's Top Film Awards

    Piera Detassis recently became the first woman to head the David di Donatello Awards, Italy’s equivalent of the Oscars. Since then she’s been busy overhauling the inner workings of the prizes that will be awarded on Wednesday. Detassis, also the editor of Italian film publication Ciak, spoke exclusively to Variety about the challenges she’s faced [...]

  • Matteo Garrone's 'Dogman' Leads Davids Awards

    Matteo Garrone's 'Dogman' Leads Davids Awards Race

    With 15 nominations Matteo Garrone’s “Dogman” leads the pack of contenders for Italy’s David di Donatello Awards in a watershed year for the country’s top film nods that sees highbrow auteur titles reaping most of the David love just as local box-office grosses hit an all-time low. Garrone’s gritty revenge drama is followed closely with [...]

  • steven spielberg Apple TV Plus

    Steven Spielberg's Apple Appearance Riles Up Social Media: 'Big Old Mixed Message'

    Many Hollywood heavyweights flocked to Apple’s Cupertino, Calif. headquarters to help reveal the tech giant’s revamped steaming service Apple TV+ on Monday — but one such legend was so polarizing he became a national trending topic on Twitter for simply showing his face. Steven Spielberg was the first to appear in a dramatic short film [...]

  • Michael Lynne

    Former New Line Co-Chairman Michael Lynne Dies at 77

    Michael Lynne, the former co-chairman of New Line Cinema who played a key role in shepherding “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy, has died at his New York home. He was 77. Lynne’s death was confirmed Monday by longtime business partner Robert Shaye, who told Variety that Lynne’s family had informed him of Lynne’s passing [...]

  • Marisa Liston

    Sony Veteran Marisa Liston to Lead Lionsgate Movie Publicity

    Lionsgate has named Sony Pictures veteran executive Marisa Liston to lead all feature film and motion picture group publicity and communications strategy. Liston, who departed Sony in late 2018 after 17 years, has been assigned the newly created title of head of global earned media and communications. She will oversee domestic and international feature film [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content