If residents of Detroit are being disturbed by the sound of robot fighters pummelling each other into submission, blame director Shawn Levy. He’s just kicked off shooting the near-future drama Real Steel in the US city, with Hugh Jackman as former boxer Charlie Kenton, who turns to promoting and training humanoid ‘bots when the thirst for regular human bouts dries up.
Empire got a look at what Levy and co were up to during pre-production, and while we can’t talk about that quite yet (the giant, silent robot sitting outside the office and occasionally turning its beady, glowing red eyes towards us makes sure of that), we can bring you the first peek at the film in progress, in a shot that debuted in USA Today. And please note: that's an honest-to-god mechanical robot, not a CG image or man-in-suit. Apparently they've built 18 robots, between 8' and 10' tall, ready to batter each other onscreen.
Jackman is seen coaching his impressively-designed 'droid Noisy Boy in the Crash Palace, just one of a number of underground fighting venues where controllers and trainers send the mechanical warriors against each other to the delight of roaring crowds.
Real Steel also finds Kenton reconnecting with estranged son Max (Dakota Goyo), and together the pair help rebuild a possible champion 'droid, while helping Charlie to drag himself out of the sinkhole that his life has become.
Admittedly, Levy's films have been less than stellar thus far, with the likes of Night At The Museum, Date Night, and The Pink Panther on his CV. But this on-set image, from the moody lighting to the gloriously chunky, old-school robot, is distinctly promising, as is the cast, with the likes of Evangeline Lilly, Anthony Mackie, Kevin Durand and Hope Davis providing back-up to Jackman.
Real Steel steps into the cinematic ring on November 18, 2011.