Greg Cox might be regarded in some circles as the luckiest man alive. First, he is an acknowledged master of franchise fiction (or what I call “franfic”), which means he spends his days novelizing things like the Underworld films, writing New York Times bestselling Star Trek books, contributing stories about various superheroes and -villains to various anthologies, and generally living every fanboy’s dream. In his X-Men/Avengers “Gamma Quest” trilogy, he even made me an agent of S.H.I.E.L.D., which to this lifelong Marvel fan is about as cool as it gets. Check out his website (http://www.gregcox-author.com/index.html) for further details, as well as fun photos of his cats and dog.
In his spare time, however, Greg is also Richard Matheson’s editor at Tor, and as such is a good source of information about upcoming Matheson movies or other activity. Today he forwarded a story from SCI FI Wire (http://scifiwire.com/2010/02/hugh-jackmans-looking-for.php#more) about how they’re looking to cast the role of Hugh Jackman’s son in Real Steel, based on Matheson’s classic story “Steel.”
Due to my manuscript deadline, you won’t find a chapter on Real Steel when McFarland publishes Richard Matheson on Screen later this year (http://www.mcfarlandpub.com/book-2.php?id=978-0-7864-4216-4). But you will find the straight dope on the classic episode of the original Twilight Zone that Matheson adapted from his story, with a powerhouse performance by Lee Marvin in the Jackman role. Among Richard’s personal favorites, it also boasts a superb script, including one of Rod Serling’s most memorable closing speeches.
Not surprisingly, the character of the son has no analog in the short story or half-hour episode, but has obviously been added to bring the story up to feature-film length. Let’s hope they do so more successfully than the makers of last year’s train wreck The Box, based on Matheson’s “Button, Button” (also adapted, less successfully, on the ’80s Twilight Zone revival). But more on that another time…