Dakota Goyo: The Real Star of "Real Steel"
12-year-old Dakota Goyo, who played young Thor in the recent movie, plays Max, an abandoned, street-wise young guy who finally gets the chance to bond with his dad (Hugh Jackman), as the ex-boxer and son rebuild an old “bot” and hit the robot boxing circuit looking for prize money, fame and… a family.
We’re on the cell with Dakota who is calling us from his home in Toronto to give us the insider info on the fun new film and what makes him and his character Max tick.
TeenHollywood: Are you looking forward to becoming a teen next year?
Dakota: I can’t wait to be a teenager! When I turn 13, I’m either gonna go paintballing with my friends and have a really big party or go with my dad to Motocross, a dirt bike and ATV thing with dirt tracks and stuff. Maybe both.
TeenHollywood: Fun! If you could design your own giant robot, what would it be able to do?
Dakota: Definitely I’d put lots of spikes on him and make him look scary. I’d obviously have him do my chores, clean my room and he’d do my homework. Then, taking me to school on his shoulders would be insane!
TeenHollywood: You and your robot Atom do some cool dancing in the movie. Weren’t you dancing on set with a guy in a motion capture suit and they put in the robot later? Did you already know how to boogie like that? You were good.
Dakota: Thanks but I never knew how to dance before this so we had a choreographer working with me and the guy (doing motion capture) was dancing on stilts which was really dangerous but he seemed to get through it really well. We were there three days straight for 20 minutes just to get a two minute routine. But it was great.
TeenHollywood: Some of the real giant robots were on set. We got to meet two of them. Were you surprised when you saw them there? Were you expecting a tennis ball on a stick to act opposite?
Dakota: When I first heard about the script I thought it would be all CGI but when I got there they had real robots; real standing 8 and 9 feet tall robots! It was pretty incredible.
TeenHollywood: Did you feel sorry for Max when you first read the script? He’s had a pretty tough life.
Dakota: Well, I never really played a character like Max at all. He’s very independent. He holds his feelings on the inside and shows his toughness on the outside. I really felt bad for him reading the script. I read it once, the whole, entire script before we started filming. He’s really sad and he’s really mad. Getting to play that character was an honor.
TeenHollywood: Are you homeschooled? What is your favorite subject?
Dakota: I go to a regular public school. My favorite is science. I do art, drama and dance but if I were to pick a “real” subject, I’d have to say science.
TeenHollywood: Max is sort of tech-savvy. Are you good with computers and tech stuff?
Dakota: Actually I am. I play a lot of videogames like Max. I’m very good on the Playstation 3. I like to play “Call of Duty” or “U.S. Navy Seals”.
TeenHollywood: Was it fun to be sort of a wiseass and say some pretty rough things that you might not get to at home?
Dakota: Yeah! Max is very, very mouthy. I would not be able to talk like he does to his dad Charlie to my dad and mom. He’s pretty rude to people who treat him bad. I like it in Max but it’s really inappropriate.
TeenHollywood: Was it hard to yell at Hugh and be mad at him in a scene after you two became friends? Hugh is such a nice guy.
Dakota: On it was really hard. We’d be in a fight scene in the Crash Palace (where there are underground robot fights) sitting in the back of the truck and we’d be fighting and yelling at each other. As soon as we’re off set, he’d give me a high five and say “Nice job, mate!” We’re playing totally opposite characters [to how we are in person], especially him. He’s really the nicest guy.
TeenHollywood: Did you meet Hugh’s son Oscar on set?
Dakota: Yes. Oscar is one year younger than me and he brought his daughter Ava who is, I think, six. They came to see him on set and we had a lot of fun and we stayed at the same hotel and we’d be in the swimming pool racing. I got to know them really well.
TeenHollywood: Did you ever watch “Lost” on TV and know who Evangeline Lilly was? She plays Hugh’s girlfriend in the movie and you have scenes with her.
Dakota: Yes, I actually watched “Lost”. My brother and I watched the whole series, all the seasons. When I saw her on the screen then in person, and the same thing with Hugh, I was like “Oh My!” I was just stunned that I was acting with them.
TeenHollywood: What kind of music are you into? Who is your fave singer or band?
Dakota: I’m into music. I try playing it myself with my friends. We kind of put together a band and try jamming out but my favorite band would be AC/DC and I’m also into rapping, Eminem, and Usher is a great hip hop singer.
TeenHollywood: Why will kids and teens especially enjoy Real Steel?
Dakota: Not just kids and teens but adults too. The father and son story is really great for families and also there are robots! Robots fighting to the death but I even think teenagers are going to love the dad/son story.