Keepin’ It “Real Steel” with Tim Flattery’s Robots

by October 7th, 2011

Tim Flattery's Midas robot in Dreamworks' "Real Steel."

With all the negative attention that concussions in boxing, football and hockey have been getting lately, the scenario presented in Dreamworks’ film Real Steel, out in theaters today, doesn’t seem too far-fetched: In the year 2020, eight-feet-tall, 2,000 lb. robots have replaced humans as the pugilists du jour.

The film tells the story of a washed-up-boxer-turned-small-time-promoter (X-Men’s Hugh Jackman) who teams up with his estranged son (Resurrecting the Champ’s Dakota Goyo) to build and train a World Robot Boxing championship contender.

Tim Flattery, the chair of Art Center’s Entertainment Design program whom we interviewed in the most recent issue of Dot, designed several of the robotic brawlers featured in the film–Spitfire, Albino, Axelrod, Twin Cities and Midas.

“These aren’t your typical robots,” said Flattery of the characters he designed while working in close collaboration with Tom Meyer, the film’s production designer, and three other concept artists, including fellow Art Center faculty member Daren Dochterman. “They’re all very stylized and ridiculous, yet somehow, in the world of the movie they make sense.”

Head past the break for the trailer and an exclusive slideshow of designs by Flattery.

Based on the short story Steel by author Richard Matheson (Twilight Zone, I Am Legend) and directed by Shawn Levy (Night at the Museum, The Pink Panther), Real Steel promises a one-two punch of father-and-son bonding and metal-on-metal pummeling.

“Ultimately, the robots are really the background to what the story is all about,” said Flattery.

Hmm, perhaps. But from what we’ve seen of Flattery’s robots, we won’t mind if they get to spend some quality time in the foreground as well.

All the designs in the slideshow below are by Flattery; please be sure to visit the Flickr set to get a more detailed description of each image.

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