Screenwriter John Gatins calls himself a “failed actor.” He came to Hollywood, like many young actors, hoping to make it big. He starred in several independent horror movies, including Witchboard 2: The Devil’s Doorway and Pumpkinhead II: Blood Wings, to name a few. He was doing alright, but not great. That is, until he got a call from Steven Spielberg. The famed writer-director-producer was looking for the perfect guy to write his passion project about robot boxing. Gatins was that guy.
The idea — which would become the movie Real Steel staring Hugh Jackman — was based on the short story, “Steel,” by Richard Matheson. Spielberg buffs will recognize Matheson as the author who wrote the source material for Spielberg’s first film, Duel.
A passion project it was, and Gatins took the reins. The film is set in a futuristic world where human boxing is illegal. Robot boxing, via remote control, has become the new sport of choice. Script sat down with Gatins to hear about this extraordinary journey from B-movie horror star to A-class screenwriter for Steven Spielberg.
- “Everyone has a good movie in them, you just have to do it …”
- “Write what you know …”
- “Go for it! When I started, I didn’t even know how to type …”
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