J.J. Abrams Going Steampunk With Boilerplate

J.J. Abrams Going Steampunk With Boilerplate

J.J. Abrams plans to bring the story of the world's first robot to the world.

J.J. Abrams, Lost co-creator and director/producer of films such as the recent Star Trek reboot, has his sights set on a steampunky tale about the world's first robot called Boilerplate: History's Mechanical Marvel. Originally popularized through a graphic novel of sorts, Hollywood Reporter revealed that Abrams will be adapting the character's story into a movie.

Boilerplate, created by Paul Guinan, is a fictional humanoid robot character built in the late 1890s, and boy did he get around. The book Boilerplate: History's Mechanical Marvel is not a typical graphic novel and instead inserts the robot into various historical images, making Boilerplate into the Forrest Gump of robots. He's seen alongside Lawrence of Arabia, Houdini, Nikola Tesla, and other famous characters from the world's past. Boilerplate is said to have disappeared during World War I.

Guinan's efforts, including the Boilerplate website, often refer to Boilerplate as a real robot, leading some to think it was a hoax when they discovered a robot didn't actually hang out with Teddy Roosevelt. Abrams direct involvement with the project doesn't appear to have been decided yet though it was handed to his production company Bad Robot by Paramount.

Boilerplate sounds like an interesting concept that could result in a really cool movie with a steampunk theme. The fact that Abrams is behind it doesn't mean it'll automatically be amazing, but he does bring a degree of clout that could ensure it's well made and that people will probably go see it. I would pay $10 just to see a robot on a high-wheel bicycle.

Source: Hollywood Reporter

Permalink

Sounds interesting; might have to go see it when it comes out.

Guinan...Guinan!?!?!!?

I need a drink and some how she got out of ten forward again.

It may make for a decent movie, but right now that look for the robot is just plain silly.

Umm... Automata, anyone?

EDIT: Seriously, this might be awesome.

Anything J.J. Abrams touches turns into gold. I'll keep my eyes on this one.

I'm not gonna lie - Boilerplate is creeping me out.

I don't see the draw here. The whole idea of inserting a robot into historical pictures seems like a novelty at best. This was a popular graphic novel?

LorChan:
I'm not gonna lie - Boilerplate is creeping me out.

Why, because he looks like a steel blow-up doll?

ImprovizoR:
Anything J.J. Abrams touches turns into gold. I'll keep my eyes on this one.

And you have the Dharma symbol as your avatar. A bit of a LOST fan, are we?

OT: That looks like it could be a good movie, though it might just be Forest Gump with a robot. But it does look interesting to say the least.

Meh.

It would be more interesting if the idea hadn't been retreaded heavily, and in general I tend to view anything that is alternative history or retro-science fiction calling itself "Steampunk" with a negative light unless it actually knows what it's doing and keeps some of the "punk" elements intact which this certainly does not from what I've seen. I actually give things more weight if they use more accurate labels rather than misunderstood "buzz words". Next thing you know people are going to start saying Harry Turtledove is one of the fathers of Steampunk if they haven't already.

Aside from that similar themes have already been explored. Robot Archie (somewhat), Spartan from "WildC.A.T.S." operating in the past with Emp as John Colt, Tom Strong's "Pneuman", and of course some of the characters we've seen running around in things like "Astro City" or even the retro storyline from "Top Ten".

It could be interesting, but I guess I'm jaded enough where in looking at it I can't help but compare it to other concepts that I feel would have covered a lot of the same ideas somewhat better.

As far as J.J. Abrams goes, he does some very good work, but truthfully I think he should stick to TV for the most part. His movies have been far less impressive to me, I was not all that pleased with "Cloverfield", and actually felt the hype leading up to it was more interesting and more entertaining than the movie itself. It wasn't a bad idea for a film, but it felt somewhat lacking.

This looks kinda interesting

image Abrams

Looks like a nice and original movie, I'll probably see it in one form or another.

Intresting...Might be something fresh for a change

I don't know what to think. It could be a heart warming tale of a robots adventures, or it could be super lame. My expectations are low for this one.

so...no cloverfield 2?

image

Well, as long it doesn't still look like a wireless blowjob dispenser by the time the movie comes out, I guess it could be cool.

Hey, while we're on the subject, does anyone know what the hell "Super 8" is?

Therumancer:
Meh.

It would be more interesting if the idea hadn't been retreaded heavily, and in general I tend to view anything that is alternative history or retro-science fiction calling itself "Steampunk" with a negative light unless it actually knows what it's doing and keeps some of the "punk" elements intact which this certainly does not from what I've seen. I actually give things more weight if they use more accurate labels rather than misunderstood "buzz words". Next thing you know people are going to start saying Harry Turtledove is one of the fathers of Steampunk if they haven't already.

Agreed. I do not want to see what the snooty Steampunk forums are saying about this. They might be ecstatic to see their culture breaking into the mainstream again. (Or, of course, they could be outraged for the same reason.) But either way, I doubt they'll enjoy it if it's misrepresented. We'll have to wait and see. Does the movie say that steampunk is simple neo-Victorianism, and a strange fascination with gears and brass goggles? Rage.

On the other hand, I'll probably see it. (I'm not going to call myself a steampunk for fear of getting my head bitten off, but I'm pretty into it.) Even saying that, though, the robot is really creepy looking.

So Steampunk rises, this can be either very good or kinda bad...

DJmagma:
so...no cloverfield 2?

Uh...no. No cloverfield to. Just no.

Have you thought about that at all beyond "Hey, cloverfield was awesome! I want more of that!"? I mean really put any thought into it? Cloverfield was a suspense movie. It put you in the position of all the other helpless peons in new york while this 'thing' lays waste to the town. People are being slaughtered by the hundred by thie enitity. And not just that. It can flake off peices of itself and track you everywhere. It isn't until the end of the movie we see what 'it' is, in the brief moments before it downs the only escape route we had left(And I apologise if that's a spoiler, but the movies been out forever, get over it).

If you make a sequel out of that, you've already lost the suspense part of it. We already know what 'it' is, we've seen it. We already know what it can do, because it's done it. When you take out the suspense, all you're left with is a newer, and crappier, godzilla movie without the King of Monsters. And they already tried that once. Didn't work well then, and it wouldn't work well now. That's why the next Godzilla movie is going back to the traditional T-rex-ish thing.

And they COULD try to do cloverfield the same way and make it all suspenseful, but again, we already know the antagonist, so all you're really making is The Blair Witch 2: In Color! Now with more Monster.

And nobody wants to see that. Just enjoy Cloverfield for what it was. If you want to see more Cloverfield, hit Stop, then Main Menu, and Play again.

Jark212:
So Steampunk rises, this can be either very good or kinda bad...

Second post in this thread, I'll keep it brief.

How can a rise in Steampunk ever be a bad thing? Everything I've seen of Steampunk is awesome. The lore surrounding it is wonderful. It takes our world in a fantasy direction that is still governed by the same rules we all know and live with, so it makes it identifiable. The artistry that goes into a lot of steampunk works, whether in literature, music, or especially art, is always, ALWAYS well done. It's surreal, detailed, and captivating. And beyond that, the fan base for steam punk is, I think, one of the best around. I've never met a person that was heavy into Steam punk that was elitest or snobbish. I've never seen a steampunker ripping on the cyberpunks for all their 'gay technology'. They're generally a good group of people that share a common fascination and hobby. I suppose there's always the exception that will be outwardly mean and cruel towards other interests, but if there is I haven't met them.

ShadowKatt:

Jark212:
So Steampunk rises, this can be either very good or kinda bad...

Second post in this thread, I'll keep it brief.

How can a rise in Steampunk ever be a bad thing? Everything I've seen of Steampunk is awesome. The lore surrounding it is wonderful. It takes our world in a fantasy direction that is still governed by the same rules we all know and live with, so it makes it identifiable. The artistry that goes into a lot of steampunk works, whether in literature, music, or especially art, is always, ALWAYS well done. It's surreal, detailed, and captivating. And beyond that, the fan base for steam punk is, I think, one of the best around. I've never met a person that was heavy into Steam punk that was elitest or snobbish. I've never seen a steampunker ripping on the cyberpunks for all their 'gay technology'. They're generally a good group of people that share a common fascination and hobby. I suppose there's always the exception that will be outwardly mean and cruel towards other interests, but if there is I haven't met them.

Steampunk books and art tend to be pretty amazing from my perspective and Steampunk (finally) being recognized will lead to great movies and other media (art & literature) inevitably, I'm just afraid that this movie could just turn into a cliched adventure story with a robot, but if this movie is done with respect to the original work there would be no way that it could go bad. I really like Steampunk and the culture surrounding it, probably not as much as most of the fans but I still don't really want to see it exploited to a point where it's just another generic movie...

Well, there is a graphic novel, but I think it was never fully realized, so the main Boilerplate thing is that website. Does this mean this will be the first mainstream movie to be based on a website? God bless J. J. Abrams. Do Real Ultimate Power next.

Boilerplate is also a pretty cool story (eh is made of meatl and doesnt afraid of anything). Defining it as a Victorian Forrest Gump pretty much nails it. I hope they don't change the ending, though.

Jark212:

ShadowKatt:

Jark212:
snip

snip II: revenge

snip III: return of curse

I think the problem is that there might be a dumbing down of the concepts. I remember reading a steampunk blog that nailed it quite well, in my opinion: In the early 90's, goth was something new and different, then it went mainstream so companies just started sticking a skull in their products. Soon it will happen to steampunk and they'll add cogs instead.

That said, if it'll die anyway it might as well go mainstream before it does. It'll make it more likely to leave a legacy.

Imagine if he turned out to have been Jacob from Lost.

 

Reply to Thread

Log in or Register to Comment
Have an account? Login below:
With Facebook:Login With Facebook
or
Username:  
Password:  
  
Not registered? To sign up for an account with The Escapist:
Register With Facebook
Register With Facebook
or
Register for a free account here