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article imageAussie actor Hugh Jackman packs a punch with 'Real Steel' Special

By Earl Dittman     Jan 24, 2012 in Entertainment
After singing and dancing his way across the stages of Broadway, Toronto and his native Sydney, the part-time' X-Men' mutant Wolverine has returned to motion pictures with the thrilling robot-boxing movie 'Real Steel' (now on Blu-ray & DVD).
Australian-born Hugh Jackman is easily one of the most recognizable, busiest and talented actors -- with his stunning work packing motion picture screens across the globe and in live shows on stages on Broadway, in Toronto, on London's West End and in his native Sydney. "I do tend to get busy at times," admits Jackman when asked about his work habits. "But there are so many things that I still want to do. I love what I do. I just don't want to miss out on anything. If that makes me a workaholic, than so be it. I just strive to be the best workaholic in the business." Shortly before finishing up his recent run on Broadway in Hugh Jackman In Concert, a sold-out, critically-acclaimed, musical one-man show, Jackman -- who shot to international stardom as Wolverine in the X-Men film franchise -- began work on the family-friendly Real Steel, an amazing story of redemption set in the world of robot fighting. In Real Steel, Jackman portrays Charlie Kenton, a washed-up boxer who barely scrapes by as a small-time robot-fight promoter while trying to make a comeback of his own in the ring. Against all odds, Kenton eventually succeeds -- at least in the eyes of his son Max (newcomer Dakota Goyo).
Hugh Jackman on the set of  Real Steel  with Director Shawn Levy
Hugh Jackman on the set of 'Real Steel' with Director Shawn Levy
Directed by Shawn Levy (Night At the Museum franchise, Date Night and What Happens in Vegas) and produced by Steven Spielberg (Saving Private Ryan, Schindler's List), Real Steel is set in the not-so-distant future where boxing has gone high-tech and 2000-pound, 8-foot-tall steel robots have taken over the ring. In addition to Jackman and Goyo the film also stars Evangeline Lilly (Lost, The Hurt Locker) as Bailey Tallet, Kevin Durand (I Am Number Four, X-Men Origins: Wolverine) as Ricky, and Anthony Mackie (The Adjustment Bureau, The Hurt Locker) as Finn. "I like the movie because it appeals to more than just one group of people," Jackman says of the vast appeal of Real Steel. "Adults, teenagers and kids should all be able to take something from this film. There's a lot of action, but it also has a whole lot of heart and soul. It has a story that speaks to all of us."
Hugh Jackman in the ring as Charlie Kenton
Hugh Jackman in the ring as Charlie Kenton
Chatting With Hugh Jackman on Real Steel:
Being so famous and successful in real life, what was it like playing a loser in Real Steel?
"Well half, definitely half of one. Maybe a little bit beyond that, but what I always loved about the part of Charlie was that his strength actually emanated from his son first. What I got right from the beginning, I always felt for this character. I got that 'He's someone that could've been a contender,' you know. He could've been the guy. It wasn't his choice. In the end he wasn't the best boxer of all time, but he was right up there, and it's taken away from him. He's made mistakes. He definitely made a mistake with his son, probably with many relationships, and he owes money all over the place. He stopped believing in himself. I'm not sure exactly when that happened, but of course I made up a whole back story of him losing his father and Bailey's father becoming like a father to him, then he dies. I thought of it as a bit like Mike Tyson and D'Amato, you know. That these people make a big difference and when they're gone, he's just someone who had not much to rely on. He had no base. When life becomes too painful, I think people switch off and it's easy not to participate and make bad choices after bad choices. It's a self-fulfilling prophecy. And it's the kid who's kind of like, 'You can do this,' and Bailey says, 'You can do this.' He doesn't even believe himself to be a father. So even though he was kind of a loser, I always felt for him."
In your own life, have you ever felt like a bad bet, like your character, Charlie?
"I think when I started acting. I felt like a bad bet. I was someone who acted all the time; school plays, having a musical society, having done plays, you name it. Then I thought, I want to go and do some acting classes. I'm finished, majored in journalism, and I have a degree. It's like, I don't know if I'm up for it, so I went and did some classes. I got into this one year course which was not easy to get into and I snuck in. There were 18 of us in the course, the first four months, I felt like the dunce of the class. I don't know why. I really knew nothing about acting, except that I like it. And everyone seemed cooler and had a big leather jacket and smoking. I was like, 'Hey acting, it's going to be really cool. How are you doing? Love that. Have you guys seen Indiana Jones? Cool movie. Raging Bull man.' I was like, 'Okay.' Every time I did something, the teachers would roll their eyes. I don't know if you've ever been in this situation, but when there's a smell about you, like you're the dunce of the class, everybody's like, Hey, man, how are you?' It's a lonely feeling. The turning point was kind of just not caring anymore what anyone thought. I was like, 'I'm never going to be an actor, that's obvious, so I'm just going to enjoy this. I don't care whether you're rolling your eyes at me or not.' It was a great lesson to learn. In a way I've carried that with me as an actor. 'Alright man, you're just going to have to do what you think is right and you're going to have to work harder than everybody else.'"
Hugh Jackman with Dakota Goya as Charlie s son Max and a robot boxer
Hugh Jackman with Dakota Goya as Charlie's son Max and a robot boxer
Looking back, what was your journey to becoming an actor really like?
"When I started as an actor, it was all I can do and not be unemployed. I want to keep working and I don't want to have to go back to whatever small jobs I had. I just want to work as an actor, and I'll try it for five years. I was a presenter on a TV show, I did TV, I did a couple of small films, and I did theatre. I did musical theatre for crying out loud. I've never sung in my life before. I was shocked. I am the only person in the history of musical theatre to have in his contract to have to pay for and take singing lessons every week. So I was good. I was not great. Trust me. And I thought, 'I'm going to keep opening as many doors as I can.' And somewhere, I'm not sure where that happened, maybe five or six years ago, all of a sudden instead of it being just a survival mechanism, it became like the thing that differentiated me from other people. Now it's been 15/20 years that I've been having singing lessons every week. I've been doing dancing classes, you name it, I did everything. But I don't want to be that guy that stays at the party too long. There's nothing worse than a desperate guy. 98% of actors don't make it, it's okay. So I thought five years I'll do it, and if for 5 years I couldn't support myself, I was moving on. I remember after five years going 'Okay.' You know, it was okay, it was not great, but I might do another five years, and somewhere in that five years X-Men came along."
What was the training for Real Steel like?
"Okay, what happened was I was doing a movie called Selma for Lee Daniels, which got canceled the last second, and Lee wanted me to play the character of Clark, who's fat and wears his pants up high. He asked, 'What happens if you get fat?' I said, 'I'm skinny by nature. So if I did no training, I'll have little skinny arms, legs, and a pot belly.' He goes, 'That's not what we want, because Clark is short, stocky and fat.' So he said, 'Just hit the gym. Do no cardio and eat everything inside,' and I did. I put on about 30 pounds, and I was training hard. Training for that is like heavy, heavy, heavy weights, but very few reps. It's a bit like sumo wrestling with short bursts. So anyway I did that and it got cancelled. I was like, 'Oh man, I gotta ring (director) Shawn (Levy) and tell him, This is where I'm at.' We've got three months out from filming. What do you think? What do you want me to do? Do you want me to lose it all?' I said, 'I should look like I could have fought, look thick, but not too similar to where I was at.' He said, 'That's awesome. I love that idea.' I came in, called the costumer and said, 'I've put on some weight. It's literally like putting on my son's clothing.'"
Evangeline Lily and Dakota Goyo in  Real Steel
Evangeline Lily and Dakota Goyo in 'Real Steel'
What was it like working with Dakota Goyo, the boy who plays Max?
"When he auditioned, I turned around to Shawn, and we knew we had our kid. I remember the pre-lighting tests just slowly pushing in on his face. There's no acting in a lighting test, you just sit there. Everyone was talking, so he was kind of just drifting off and the camera was just moving in on him. The girl behind the monitor started crying, like he just has a softness to him. In terms of the chemistry, I just genuinely love this kid. I have kids as well, and I had to be a little careful when my son was around so that he didn't get too jealous. He's the nicest kid. He's fun and mature, which you need to be on the movie set, unfortunately. He's kind of mature without being precocious and we mucked around. I mean we literally did practical jokes with him all the time. I had to keep reminding him and myself that we're like contemporaries in this movie. If anything, he's more the adult than me! Dakota is quite skittish about dirt. The poor thing was dirty the whole time and all those mud scenes. I'll be like, 'Seriously man, you got a little something on here.' He'd go, 'Huh, what?' 'No, no, you have a spider,' and he'd start hitting me."
How about your other costar Kevin Durand?
"I love Kevin Durand. I think he's one of the most underrated, talented actors out there. I was thrilled when he was in this movie. I'd love to be in every movie with him. Honestly, I'd love for him to be a star of a movie, because I think that's what he deserves."
Hugh Jackman as Charlie Kenton goes mano-a-mano with a boxing robot
Hugh Jackman as Charlie Kenton goes mano-a-mano with a boxing robot
Of course, there's the gorgeous and gracious Evangeline Lilly, who was "giving up acting," but joined the cast Real Steel instead? Can you talk a bit about working with her?
"I think she's always given up acting. Evangeline is famous for saying that about everything, I don't know if you know that about her. The first audition that she did was for Lost. I think she told me the story as if it's almost like luck, like how she went down and became the biggest thing of all time. She always wrestled with that. She said she read the script. But she was intrigued by it, read it and started crying while she was reading it. She said, 'I was so moved by it as a story.' So she said yes. Thank God she did, I mean, she really brought so much to that. I can't tell you how many times I've heard, 'It's going to be really cool. We don't know if you really like each other. You're at each other's throats.' I'm like, 'Yeah, oh wow, we haven't seen this before.' I know there's a charm in doing that, but there's an element to this. We've seen it before. There's not one take that she does what you would expect. I don't know if you remember the scene where she slaps me? I was trying to work through the math of this. The whole time I kept thinking, 'Okay it's 50,000 for this because I love math. When she said, 'You and me, $6,000.' I ad-lib and say, 'It's actually three and she slaps me. I'm like, 'Woah!' Then she grabs my hair, and I'm like, 'Whoa.' She is right on it. That was that take. The next take, you don't know what is coming out of her. It was so much fun to act with her. Somehow that thing about her not really caring about being an actor is what draws you to her."
What was it like seeing the robots on the set for the first time?
"There's a picture of me and Dakota. It was a big moment, Shawn brought us out to see it. People were shocked. About half the movie is those robots fully operational. Dakota and I looked ten years old. It's amazing. It's so great to let us know what we're working with."
Are there any plans for a X-Men Origins: Wolverine sequel?
"What we didn't quite achieve with the first Origins is actually really getting a great snapshot of who this guy is. I think we didn't need to get hung up on his past and memory. We've explored it. It's enough you know. I think we can move ahead. The Japan saga for me has always been the strongest of the source material for this character. Right after X-Men 1, I was reading that, so I was really excited. It's simple scripts. You gotta have a great script and Chris McQuarrie has written the best script of them all. It's precisely why Darren Aronofsky signed on, originally. I tried to get him to do X-Men 3 and X-Men Origins: Wolverine, but he's like, 'I'm not sure if this is for me,' until this one. And then we all know what happened there."
Charlie (Jackman) and Max (Goyo) set up  an important fight
Charlie (Jackman) and Max (Goyo) set up an important fight
What do you consider a downside of acting?
"I think I've gone into acting on my first big movie when I was thirty. Trust me, I earned ten bucks an hour inside a koala suit running around Australia, promoting the national parks in Australia. I've worked in more kitchens as a dishwasher. I've only just now probably eclipsed my years as a working actor as suppose to being a waiter or working at a gym for six years. I know there are people who are selling my autographs and I don't agree with them selling my autographs on eBay. I met this one guy, and I know he's a professional guy, but on some level I'm like, 'Really, he's going to stand there for eight hours to get $25 selling it? That's man, that's like four bucks an hour.' I'm like, 'Alright, come here. I wish you can find a better way to make a living, like not off my autograph. But if you're really prepared to stand there that long, I'll give you an autograph.' I don't know, it's just probably a little bit of empathy."
Let's talk about your appearance on WWE, did you really break Dolph Ziggler's jaw?
"I'm pretty sure, and I've done my research on this, that Dolph was exaggerating. Actually, it's something he likes to do a lot of, and that's why I hit him. Fair enough, right?"
Real Steel 2-Disc Blu-ray Combo Pack Bonus Features: "Countdown to the Fight—The Charlie Kenton Story"; "Sugar Ray Leonard: Cornerman’s Champ"; Deleted and Extended Scenes with introductions by Shawn Levy — Extended “Meet Ambush” and Deleted “Butterfly” Storyline; "Making of Metal Valley"; "Building the Bots" and Bloopers.
REAL STEEL SOCIAL MEDIA: If you are interested in more video, photos and chatter with other Real Steel fans, visit : The Official Website at * "Like" the Facebook page at * Follow on Twitter at @realsteelmovie * View videos at and Connect with Facebook and Twitter via Real Steel Second Screen.
Warner Bros
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In these 14 adventures of everyone's favorite talking dog -- Scooby-Doo -- and his four human pals -- Shaggy, Fred, Daphne and Velma -- as try to unravel the strange and haunted history of their hometown. When you enter Crystal Cove, there's a sign that greets you as you enter the tone that reads "The Most Hauntedest Place On Earth." Scooby-Doo and the Gang do their best to keep their hometown free from monsters, phantoms, wild bikes and other spooky things. But something just isn't right -- there is danger in the air. What is their sassy, high-kicking friend Angel Dynamite hiding, and who is the mysterious Mr. E? But what really has the members of Mystery Incorporated worried are the Golden Discs they are finding all over town. They appear to be the same Golden Discs that broke up the original Mystery Incorporated two decades before. The tone is comedic, but it will never lose the edge that our heroes are in some frightening situations. The stakes are real. Now you can see the second 14 episodes of Season 1 together in this set. For more on Scooby-Doo Mystery Inc. Crystal Cove Curse catch a few scenes from the episodes within this set, start off with the Scooby-Doo! Mystery Inc. - Crystal Cove Curse Trailer at * Or catch the exciting and funny scenes “Bugs” at and “No Monsters Allowed” at
Paranormal Activity 3: Unrated Director's Cut
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The Whistleblower
Academy Award winners Rachel Weisz (The Constant Gardner) and Vanessa Redgrave (Julia) head a powerful cast that includes Oscar Nominee David Strathairn (Good Night and Good Luck) in writer-director Larysa Kondracki’s harrowing dramatic thriller. When Nebraska cop Kathryn Bolkovac (Weisz) accepts a U.N. peacekeeper position in post-war Bosnia, she uncovers a deadly sex trafficking ring. After learning that fellow peacekeepers and military contractors are involved in the ghastly practice and its cover-up, Bolkovac risks her own life to save the lives of others and expose the corruption. With masterful acting and a heart-racing plot, The Whistleblower is an acclaimed film inspired by actual events and includes stellar supporting performances from Benedict Cumberbatch (Sherlock), Monica Bellucci (The Matrix Reloaded) and David Hewlett (Stargate: Atlantis). Bonus Features: Cast & Crew Interviews and documentary "Kathy Bolkovac: The Real Whistleblower."
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Tales Of An Ancient Empire
Destinies collide in Tales of an Ancient Empire. Marrying sorcery and swords, the epic action story stars Kevin Sorbo (Hercules: The Legendary Journeys), Michael Paré (The Lincoln Lawyer), Melissa Ordway (A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas), Whitney Able (Bad Actress) and Sarah Ann Schultz (Locked Down).When her kingdom is threatened, Princess Tanis (Ordway) seeks helps from the world's greatest warriors to save Abelar. Xia (Able), a demon sorceress has sworn to destroy the land, with her army of vampires in tow. Princess Tanis finds the one man believed to be able to stop Xia, Oda (Paré), a cold-blooded mercenary, who is revealed to be Tanis's biological father. Joined by a thieving rogue named Aedan (Sorbo), the team will stop at nothing to win this epic battle. (Only on DVD) Bonus Features: Behind-the-scenes with cast interviews .
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Recipient of the Top Prize at The 8th Seville European Film Festival, this delightful Norwegian Serio-comedy is filled with “first-rate” performances. The feature debut from award-winning Norwegian filmmaker Anne Sewitsky, Happy, Happy is filled with both joy and sadnessas it follows two couples whose lives are turned upside down. Agnes Kittelsen (Max Manus) stars as Kaja, an optimistic young mother with a firm belief that happiness is the most important thing in the world. Never allowing anyone to change her merry mindset, Kaja continues to remain cheerful, even while sharing her snowy rural home with a brooding, unappreciative boyfriend. When an urban, erudite couple with an adopted Ethiopian son moves next door, Kaja is thrilled and exhilarated at the prospect of interesting new friends. Yet after a night of bonding, admiration turns to romance and Kaja’s life is permanently changed. Bonus Features: U.S. Theatrical Trailer and International Trailer.
Mannix: The Sixth Season
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Warner Bros
Final Destination 5
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Live fast and die young. Sid & Nancy, the tragic love story between a flawed and fascinating punk rock icon and the American groupie who adored him. Gary Oldman (Harry Potter franchise, The Dark Knight) and Chloe Webb (The Newton Boys) are phenomenal as Sex Pistols bassist Sid Vicious and his unforgettable junkie girlfriend, two social misfits who literally love each other to death. In this incredible biography of burnt-out icons, visionary writer/director Alex Cox (Repo Man) creates an unforgettable motion picture about the destructive lives of two 1970's punk legends. Their love affair is one of pure devotion. Sid falls hard for groupie Nancy Spungen, who seduces him with her affection and addiction to heroin. Their inseparable bond to each other and their drugs eventually corrodes the band, sending Sid and Nancy down a dark road of despair. Out of money, hope and options, the despondent pair hit rock bottom while living in squalor at New York’s infamous Chelsea Hotel. But their journey takes yet another tragic turn as they face their final curtain and attempt to fulfill their destiny of going out in a blaze of glory! Bonus Features: "For The Love Of Punk"; "Junk Love" and the Theatrical Trailer.
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