Exclusive: Director Shawn Levy on the ‘Secret’ Sequel to Real Steel


Director Shawn Levy is an interesting cat, because he has had enough success with his studio movies, mainly comedies and family films, that he’s been given chances to branch into new areas like he does with the upcoming ensemble dramedy This is Where I Leave You.

Levy’s most dramatic film to date came to the Toronto International Film Festival for its premiere where ComingSoon.net had a chance to chat with the filmmaker about a variety of topics, and one of the subjects that came up was the sequel to his 2011 adaptation of a Richard Matheson short story into Real Steel, starring Hugh Jackman.

There have been rumblings of a sequel ever since, but we decided to find out if that’s a real possibility after three years.

“We have been quietly developing a sequel to ‘Real Steel’ for three and a half years,” Levy revealed. “We’ve come up with some great scripts but Hugh and I would only make it if the plot feels fresh, but also the character journeys feel fresh, and we’ve found both but never at the same time. It’s ongoing. I know the clock is ticking. That movie, weirdly, for a movie that did very well globally–it did okay domestically–but the love for ‘Real Steel’ remains kind of unique as far as rabid fans who ask me all the time for another one. Hugh and I love that movie so if we can crack it, we’ll make it, but I have this sense that we better make that happen soon or frankly, the audience may not be there in the same way. So we shall see.”

One of the odder titles that jumps out from Levy’s long list of films in development is a movie based on the classic PBS children’s show “Sesame Street,” which millions of children and parents have watched since it first aired in 1969. Levy gave us an update on that:

“I watched it when I was 3. My kids now watch it now that they’re three. We actually have a very good script now by Mike Jones, who has written a bunch of movies, one for Pixar and a bunch that are now in the process of moving towards production. It’s really good. We’re doing a polish on it and we turn it into Fox and Sesame and hopefully it’s something we shoot next year.”

Currently, Levy is in post-production on the third movie in his hit franchise with Ben Stiller, Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb, which will be out in time for Christmas. We were curious how it was going back to that after doing more dramatic fare and with Stiller coming off a couple more somber projects like Noah Baumbach’s While We’re Young and his own The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.

“Ben and I, we’re so different. Our manners are different and our energies are different, but Ben and I have always meshed up really well,” the director responded. “Ben understands, as I do, that every creative person needs to be fulfilled in a variety of ways. We happen to have been united on this franchise that’s been very successful and fun for both of us, but I have to say that we came to ‘Night at the Museum 3’ just really grateful. It felt like a bit of a homecoming, a cast that we knew and loved in a world and a franchise that has been embraced at a level that I’ve never experienced. ‘Night at the Museum,’ that first movie is both of our most successful movie, still. We came together with a brotherhood and a shared love of this franchise and we wanted to close it out right. We wanted to close it out at an elevated level, both in terms of spectacle and comedy and emotion, this third one feels very good.”

Levy doesn’t quite know what he’s going to do next–something involving “world building” perhaps?–but you can learn more about his thoughts on that in the full video interview which we’ll post sometime before the September 19th release of This is Where I Leave You.