Last week, I had the opportunity to participate in a small phone-based roundtable with Dakota Goyo, who plays Hugh Jackman’s estranged son Max in the film. The 12 year old, Canadian-born actor was well-mannered, mature, and a pleasure to speak with. Before the roundtable, I read a little bit about this accomplished actor, and learned that he appeared in his first commercial as an infant and made his television debut at the age of 5.
After reading about his film successes, I knew that none of his prior work included robots. I was curious about the type of preparation that might have been involved, specifically with regards to working with robots. Interestingly enough, the only real preparation involved was him reading through the script several times and looking at the robot models displayed on set to learn about the technology involved. And robots, after all, were what compelled Dakota to audition for the role of Max in the film. Isn’t that every child’s dream?
If you’ve seen the film, you know that there are several tense moments where, for example, the audience is on the edge of their seat rooting for Charlie, Max, and Atom during one of the boxing scenes. We asked Dakota what his favorite scene from the film was and whether or not he was scared during the scene where he fell off the cliff in the junkyard. Not surprisingly his favorite scene, which is very touching and probably also one of my favorites, is when Max cleans off Atom in the junkyard and sees his name on his chest. It was also in this scene where Max falls off of a cliff in a junkyard while him and Charlie are searching for anything that would be of value to them to construct another robot. Surprisingly, Dakota was not scared, however, his mother was nervous about the scene. “I really love doing my own stunts,” Dakota stated. And not only did the scene provide an adrenaline rush, seeing his mother’s reaction was “priceless.”
As parents juggling children in school and activities, many of us were curious as to how Dakota juggled school, family life, and relationships with friends. Shooting a film understandably involves long days. It was interesting to hear that he and the other actors filmed 9 1/2 hours a day for 72 days straight. In some ways, it surprised me that it didn’t take longer, particularly considering the technology involved with making the film. It was good to hear that while there wasn’t a lot of time, Dakota was able to skateboard, swim, and “be a kid” during those times when he wasn’t filming. We learned how supportive Dakota’s family is and some of the proactive decisions they make to keep him grounded in his home town.
So what’s next for the talented 12 year old? “Acting is something I would like to continue,” he states. I for one definitely think he has a long career ahead and perhaps one day we’ll see him direct his very own film.
Real Steel is currently showing in theaters nationwide.