I recently got the opportunity to talk to D.B. Dickerson about his role in Hugh Jackman’s new film, ‘Real Steel’. Here, D.B. talks about what it was like working with director Shawn Levy and which three things he couldn’t survive without on a desert island…
Hey D.B. Thanks for taking the time out to talk to me. ‘Real Steel’ is currently in cinemas right now…
What’s the general plotline surrounding the film?
It’s a father and son drama set in the near future where 2,000 pound robots do battle instead of humans doing the boxing. The robot fighting is used as the backdrop to a heartfelt storyline about a father and son who bond over the sport of robot boxing in the year 2020.
Tell us a bit about the character you play in the movie…
It is a small part but in a really good movie. I am credited as the Twin Cities Controller. My job in the movie is to control Twin Cities, the red two-headed tyrant/robot with spinning heads, who is currently getting his ass kicked in all the trailer spots.
How did you get involved in the project in the first place?
I think what makes my story so interesting is that I didn’t get the part through the traditional channels that most actors go through. I was chosen to play this part after an audition about 6 weeks prior to filming and after meeting with the director and crew. I came in as a featured extra and became one of the two principal performers playing the role. I used comedy as my impromptu approach to the performance. I improvised several robot one-liners so I could get into that Rock em’ Sock em’ spirit. It was do or die…I needed the dialogue to stick out so that it would find its way into the final product. What came natural to me ended up making it into the picture. I had a lot of fun with this role.
How would you say this film is different and unique? Would you say it’s ‘Transformers’ meets ‘The Fighter’?
Each one of these robots has its own distinct personality without even talking. The bonding between Max and his robot, Atom, is priceless. This is where ‘Rocky’ meets the 1973 father/daughter drama ‘Paper Moon’. It’s ‘Transformers’ with heart and little bit of ‘E.T: Extra Terrestrial’ squeezed into the middle. All that stuff you loved as a kid into adulthood is located right here. People are generally surprised at what fun this movie is. Get that strictly Rock em’ Sock’ em B.S. out of your mind and have a good time.
The film stars Hugh Jackman, Dakota Goyo, Evangeline Lilly, Anthony Mackie and Kevin Durand – with Shawn Levy onboard as director – what was it like working with the cast and crew on-set?
Well, I worked mostly with director Shawn Levy and it was a huge honour! At 5:30am in the morning he was full of life and ready to go to work. Very easy guy to get along with. He said “Be Tom Cruise in ‘Cocktail’ except with your robot fight deck”. I replied “Doing it Brian Flanagan style!” Ironically, that’s one of my all-time favorite movies. Dakota Goyo is amazing. He learned those dance steps quickly from what I understand. I can see a bright future ahead for him. Hugh Jackman seems to be one of the nicest guys in showbiz!
Let’s talk a bit about you D.B. What made you want to get into acting in the first place?…
I have a great love for movies. I was very young when I knew that I wasn’t a businessman, an accountant, or whatever … I was an artist. I first admired the acting abilities of Scott Bakula from ‘Quantum Leap’, Dave Coulier on ‘Full House’, Steve Martin’s performance in ‘Father Of The Bride’, Leslie Nielson from the ‘Naked Gun Trilogy’, Denis Leary, Jim Carrey … I thought to myself, “I’d like to do that!”
You’ve been in a number of TV and film projects – who has been your favourite actor/actress to work with so far and which project has been your favourite to be a part of?
I have done a few art house flicks and I have been a regular background player on a network television series. Check out the ‘Approaching Midnight’ vignette on my official Youtube channel. The best comedy is sometimes what comes natural and improvised. I enjoyed all of this, however, ‘Real Steel’, being my first international movie release, is my current favorite.
In a completely unrelated piece of film news, ‘Tower Heist’ has been in the news recently because of a proposed idea that new films should be made available to people in their own homes at a rental price – do you think this is a good or a bad idea?
In my opinion a studio project should only be released theatrically. Movies were only watched at the cinema before the eighties. Movies then made their way into home entertainment through multiple formats like VHS, Beta, Laserdisc, DVD, and now Blu-Ray. Frankly, Blu-Ray looks weird to me…too real. Having said that, U.S. ticket prices are now very high but there will be a certain magic lost if all entertainment enters through the route of On Demand. The hype surrounding a new release will slowly dissipate if things go digital. However, we now live in a disposable society. This is a digital age of convenience so it’s going to happen.
If I asked you to decorate a room, what colour would you paint it and why?
I have a preference for deep red or a shade of brown. Seems warm and welcoming.
If you were stuck on a desert island – what three things could you not live without?
My Beatles collection, my keyboard, and my memories.
What’s coming up for you in 2011/12?
I am a jack-of-all-trades and I will be getting creative. I live in Michigan where we had a generous tax incentive enticing Hollywood to film in our state for three years. It has since been taken away. I would like to focus on my rap and collaborate with other talented artists. I would also like to gain steady commercial work. This is only the beginning!
Thanks for the interview!