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Hugh Jackman: 'Real Steel' is 'Rocky' for new generation

October 6, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
This weekend on the big screen, Hugh Jackman jumps into action, drama and sci-fi in "Real Steel."

"I really, genuinely believe this is kind of 'Rocky' for a whole new generation," said Jackman.

In the film, Jackman stars as a former boxer who jumps into the world of high tech, robot boxing. Initially he wasn't sure a movie about futuristic robots was necessarily for him.

"I was about 10 pages into the script and, by the way, I was reading it to my son because I was interested to see ? what he thought of it without seeing any of the cool images. He made me read it to him every night for the next 10 nights, like it's his favorite story," said Jackman.

So while Jackman's son was a big influence on his decision to do the movie, another big selling point was the chance to work with a true champ, "Real Steel" boxing consultant, Sugar Ray Leonard.

"Meeting Sugar Ray Leonard, I'll admit to being star struck. I'm a big sports fan. Sugar Ray Leonard is one of the greats of all time," said Jackman. "I remember the studios saying, 'Hugh, do you mind if we have Sugar Ray Leonard come as your personal trainer?' And I'm like, 'would I mind? Sugar Ray Leonard, are you kidding me?' It was amazing."

While teaching Jackman how to look like an ex-fighter and trainer, Leonard focused more on emotion and facial expressions, "feeling the conviction" of each shot.

"Hugh was so coachable," said Leonard. "The reason Hugh is so successful, is so good, is the fact he puts his guard down, he surrenders, and takes in what you can help him with."

Jackman said he's also embraced the tag line of the film: "Champions aren't born. They're made."

"I love that idea that within all of us is the potential to be the best version of ourselves. That's what I mean by champion. I think we can all absolutely work to that," said Jackman.

"Reel Steal," rated PG-13, also features "LOST" star Evangeline Lilly.


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