Hammacher Schlemmer's RC boxing robot toysSwitching gears from his middle-of-the-road comedies, director Shawn Levy (Night at the Museum, Cheaper By the Dozen) is taking on a sci-fi sports drama based on a short story by Richard Matheson. The film, Real Steel, takes place in a future world where human boxers have been replaced by realistic androids who are able to dish out more viscerally satisfying carnage on each other than humans can.

Hugh Jackman is the frontrunner for the lead role, and Levy shared a little about his character's place in the script, "It's faithful to the story in that that story was very much about a down-on-his-luck, slightly desperate journeyman who works in this robot boxing sport and who is desperately needing redemption and one last shot. The movie is more Rocky than Transformers." Levy wants to focus on the father/son relationship at the heart of the story over explosive CGI-driven robot battles.

It's that approach that caused producer Steven Spielberg to hand the project over to Levy, a director whose body of work doesn't even hint at being able to do dramatic science-fiction. Production on Real Steel should ramp up in 2010 with an eye toward a 2011 release date.

(via SciFi Wire)