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REAL STEEL

The Cast
Director Levy and his producing team spent a great deal of time finding the perfect actor for each of the roles in "Real Steel” and are thrilled that all brought more than expected to their characters.

The value of the project that instantly drew Hugh Jackman ("X-Men Origins: Wolverine,” "The Prestige”) to the role of Charlie is the same thing that made the director and DreamWorks eager to be part of this unique story. Jackman says, "What I loved first and foremost about the script is the father/son relationship and the idea that people who have made mistakes, who have regrets, can get a second chance, and they can become better people.”

Jackman was also intrigued by the world in which the story is set. "I loved the idea of the time period being not too far in the future. It's a future that is seemingly accessible to us,” the award-winning actor says. "Also, I'm a big sports fan, so the robot boxing idea fascinated me. And of course it's a real underdog story with the person who has the most heart winning in the end. It's definitely a feel-good movie. And for me it was something different from what I've done before. Also, working with Shawn Levy was a no‐brainer. Shawn is just about the most positive, energetic and fun person to be around. The shoot was one of the most challenging and enjoyable I've ever had.”

For the role of Max, the son who was abandoned early in his life by Jackman's character, the filmmakers auditioned hundreds of boys and found many exceptional young actors. "We always had the feeling that there would be a kid out there who would be talented and who would have the right look, but would have that little something extra, something that you can't quite put your finger on but is magic up on the screen,” director Levy says. "When we met Dakota Goyo, a kid from the suburbs of Toronto, we knew that he had that special indefinable quality we were looking for. He has that thing that I'll never quite find the right word for. When you watch the movie you'll see what I mean. It's undeniable.”

Jackman reiterates his director's strong feeling about casting the role of Max. "The heart of the movie is the father and son relationship. When Shawn and I first discussed casting the role, we agreed that we had to have a great young actor and that if we didn't have great chemistry between the father and son, we didn't have a movie,” Jackman says. "Sure, we may have cool action and great robots and all that, but the father/son bond is the spine of the movie.”

For the role of Bailey, which went to popular television star Evangeline Lilly ("Lost”), director Levy admits that he was already a big fan of the actress and was thrilled that she accepted the role. "I marvel at Evangeline,” Levy enthuses. "I was crazy for her on ‘Lost.' I was a big fan of that series. I always knew she was good, but I didn't know that she was great. And in ‘Real Steel' not only does she deliver in the big dramatic scenes between her and Dakota and her and Hugh but also even when she was in a crowd of thousands of people reacting to the fights. In those tiny short cutaways within the fight scenes she brings so much visceral, rousing energy. She was kind of an audience surrogate for us. She is so into it and so vested in what happens.”

Recalling her introduction to the role and ultimately being cast in "Real Steel,” Lilly says, "I received the script from my agent and when I started reading and discovered it was about robot boxing I immediately thought, ‘No way! I can't do a movie about robot boxing! This is so not me!' I'm invested and interested in cool little indie films. But I kept reading, and by the time I finished the script, I was so moved and so touched and it was so heartfelt and well written, I wanted the role.”

Kevin Durand, who had previously worked with Hugh Jackman in "X-Men Origins: Wolverine,” and with Evangeline Lilly on "Lost,” was cast as Ricky, the robot fight promoter who, despite a long-standing friendship, isn't shy about fighting Charlie to collect on a debt.

Rounding out the cast, the filmmakers hired Anthony Mackie ("The Adjustment Bureau,” "The Hurt Locker”) as Fin, the host of the Crash Palace; Tony® Award nominee Hope Davis ("God of Carnage”) for the role of Deborah, Max's aunt who has her heart set on obtaining custody of her nephew; and James Rebhorn ("White Collar,” "30 Rock”) as Marvin Barnes, her wealthy older husband. Russian actress Olga Fonda, with little previous film work, was cast as the Russian robot owner, while Karl Yune ("Memoirs of a Geisha,” "Speed Racer”) portrays Tak Mashido the world's premiere robot designer and the pioneering legend behind the sport of robot boxing.

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