“Real Steel” found origin in Richard Matheson tale
Hugh Jackman plays a down-on-his luck former boxer who’s now the manager of a robot fighter in “Real Steel.” In the world of the film, human boxing has been outlawed, and all boxing is now done by mechanical fighters.
Some readers may recall this premise from an episode of “The Twilight Zone.” “Real Steel” is partially based on the short story “Steel” by Richard Matheson. The story was first released in 1956, in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction. Matheson adapted his short story in 1963 for the fifth-season “Twilight Zone” episode “Steel.”
“Steel” was released recently in a new Matheson collection, “Steel and Other Stories.”
Matheson, a 2010 Science Fiction Hall of Fame inductee, might be best-known for his novel “I Am Legend,” which was adapted into film three times: 1964′s “Last Man on Earth,” 1971′s “The Omega Man” and 2007′s “I Am Legend.”
More than a dozen short stories join “Steel” in the latest collection, which includes two stories not previously collected.
Lee Marvin played the lead role in the “Twilight Zone” episode, in which he’s a washed-up boxer named Steel Kelly, who was never knocked down in his prime. Now, well past his prime, he’s managing a washed-up robot boxer, “Battling Maxo,” a B2-model who’s obsolete in the era of B9s. When his boxer fails to work properly, Steel has to make a dangerous decision. The feelings of desperation and perseverance make “Steel” a truly memorable “Twilight Zone” episode.
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