By Oliver Lyttelton | The Playlist February 4, 2011 at 1:00AM
Pitch Can't Possibly Be As Stupid As Robot Boxing, Can It?
If the box office in the last few years has made anything clear, it's that contemporary audiences like nothing more than the combination of CGI robots and punching. The first two "Transformers" movies grossed $1.5 billion between them, with the third likely to join them as a huge hit this summer. But that's not enough for DreamWorks, who teamed "Night at the Museum" director Shawn Levy and star Hugh Jackman on "Real Steel," a future-set tale of robot boxing.
The film, which is presumably Jackman's attempt to ensure that "Van Helsing" won't be remembered as the worst of his career, doesn't hit until October, but a rival studio presumably likes what they've seen so far, as they've signed up both the star and the director of "Real Steel" to join forces again on a new project. Deadline reports that 20th Century Fox has acquired an untitled pitch for an action adventure from Carlton Cuse, the former showrunner of "Lost," which Levy is attached to direct and produce, and Jackman is attached to star in.
While Cuse has been working in TV for the last twenty years, he was formerly in a writing partnership with the late Jeffrey Boam, doing uncredited work on the likes of "Lethal Weapon 2," "Lethal Weapon 3" and "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade," so we suppose he has a degree of form in the area. Jackman's tentpole form outside (and even mostly within) the "X-Men" franchise is somewhat patchy to say the least, while the closest that Levy has ever come to making a watchable film was "Date Night," and to the (minimal) extent that that film works, it works in spite of its director, rather than because of him.
So yeah, we're not really holding our breath for this one, unless Cuse has come up with a truly intriguing pitch. With the script yet unwritten, and Jackman heading to Japan with Darren Aronofsky shortly for "The Wolverine" (which will presumably make the idea of returning to work with Levy seem even less appealing), and then appearing on Broadway in the Aaron Sorkin/Danny Elfman musical "Houdini" in early 2012, we imagine this is a way off yet, unless it can be ready to go in the second half of next year. Still, the first fruits of the Levy/Jackman collaboration can be seen from October 7th in "Real Steel", when the clanky robots go punchy in the face-face until they make go boom in.