J.J. Abrams & Bad Robot Hire 'Goliath' Writers for 'Boilerplate' Feature

November 3, 2011
Source: Deadline


Always one to employ up-and-comers, J.J. Abrams has hired Goliath scribes John D. Payne and Patrick McKay to pen Boilerplate an adaptation based on Paul Guinan and Anina Bennett's eponymous coffee table book/graphic novel Boilerplate: History’s Mechanical Marvel with Paramount Pictures and Abrams' own Bad Robot banner backing the production. The graphic novel tells the story of an early 20th century robot built as a kind of supersolider with the intention of replacing humans in battle and fighting in WWI, the Spanish-American War, and the Boxer Rebellion before disappearing in WWII. It's History Steel!

The original story, started as a bit of online fun, with Guinan and his wife Anina writing a detailed history of the robot's creation, intertwining it with real historical events, and even featuring archival photographs showing it with historical figures such as President Teddy Roosevelt (in reality, Boilerplate was a 12-inch model that Guinan photoshopped into historical photos). In an exercise to see how authentic he could make it, some people began to take fiction as fact, to the degree that Guinan has said a third of the site's visitors took it to be true. If you visit the site now, it has been developed to feature The History of Robots in the Victorian Era, which focuses on "turn-of-the-century robots, both real and imagined".

Well, if one thing is certain, it's that J.J. Abrams loves robots. Big robots, little robots, sad robots, and of course, bad robots. The project sounds right up his alley as a directing vehicle. Though no mention is made of these plans in Deadline's scoop, but this is exactly the type of thing I can imagine and hope the director ends up getting behind the lens to helm. I'm also a big fan of the films that take history and mix them with retro futuristic sci-fi elements though this has been a harder thing to pull off in the past with certain films that didn't have the nuts and bolts required (The Rocketeer probably did it well with Captain America: The First Avenger being another great example, both films from Joe Johnston). If there's anyone that can do it right though, I'd say it's Abrams.

Find more posts: Development, Movie News

1 Comment


this sounds fun. i like the historical intertwining - 'Forrest Sump', anyone? i agree there've been few successful steampunk-inspired films. there are far more unmitigated disasters like The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and Wild Wild West than there are, say City of Lost Childrens. but if the right director focused as much on the story as the effects (your Rocketeer example is a good one), we might be ok.

Anonymous on Nov 5, 2011

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