JJ Abrams Producing Victorian Robot Movie “Boilerplate”

Time to add another project to the list of things JJ Abrams has on his to do list. Abrams and his Bad Robot Production company are going steam punk. Through Paramount they have picked up the rights to the novel “Boilerplate: History’s Mechanical Marvel”, which is about a Victorian era robot.


JJ and the Steampunk Robot

According to the THR Heat Vision Blog, Paramount has picked up rights to “Boilerplate: History’s Mechanical Marvel,” a graphic novel-picture book about the world’s first robot. Abrams and Bad Robot will produce the adaption about the robot who fights alongside Teddy Roosevelt and Lawrence of Arabia, and travels the world seeking adventure. Boilerplate is the brainchild of Paul Guinan and Anina Bennett and was originally born as a website (and some people thought the story was true). You can learn more about Boilerplate at the official site. Here is a video trailer for the illustrated book and story of Boilerplate.

Boilerplate joins a number of other projects Abrams has in development at Bad Robot in addition to the 2012 Star Trek sequel. More details at THR.

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This will be awesome!

steam punk – could it be the next big thing in movies…?

the new Dr Who has some elements as did the new Sherlock Holmes….but not much

I actually picked up this novel in the bookstore and glanced through it. It’s pretty interesting how they Photoshopped Boilerplate into various historical situations.

The science behind it seems a little shaky, though.

He could be in the new Trek movie! I could see him being to Scotty like R2D2 was to Luke. And he seems perfectly suited to work in the Enterprises engine room.

In all seriousness it looks like a fun idea.

Sorry, but that’s just plain silly. Hopefully JJ will be able to fix it.

I bought this book at the Air & Space Museum gift shop a few months ago. After reading it, I had a feeling that Hollywood would eventually adapt it into a movie. Guinan’s creation is just too original to pass up.

And forget the shaky science. If it gets kids (and adults) interested in history, it’s all worth it.


Yeah, just pile on the lens flares and everything will be cool.

Steam Punk The Movie or Sucker Punch. First of a wave meesa tinks.

That’s a little different. Could be good.

And Jordan Hoffman of UGO’s head just exploded! RIP.

Sounds interesting. I would like to see something like that. Im sure J.J will do a great job. But would rather see J.J do another Cloverfield.

Cool concept, if done right for the big screen.

Guinan’s website was so convincing that Chris Elliot wrote Boilerplate into his Victorian mystery adventure/parody novel, “The Shroud of the Thwacker” a few years ago. Elliot wound up having to pay Guinan royalties or somesuch! Funny.

Scott B. out.

Nice to see a local fav get his just desserts. Paul and Anina have been a big part of the disproportionately large comics scene here in Portland for as long as I can remember, always as a positive and inspiring force (and they throw a killer Halloween party every year).

Congrats to them both! Viva Portland Oregon!

A Steampunk sci-fi Forrest Gump, almost.

I saw the book at the store a few months ago and thought it could make for an interesting movie. Then again, I’ve always liked steampunk concepts.

Sounds somewhat similar to Larry Blamire’s ‘Steam Wars’ , except that story has humans operating two-legged steam battlerigs the size of construction cranes. From inside. It would make a great SyFy Saturday nighter.

I hope JJ sticks to Boilerplate canon! THIS COULD BE A DISASTER!

Hahaha I can’t wait to hear this guy’s rant on this one :D

That’s the problem with the way history is presented. It’s all war and robots.

16 – Not unless the steam punks take on Octoshark and BoaGator. I WISH SyFy would do interesting movies, even on a low budget, instead of funneling cash to the black holes of talent that are C. Thomas Howell and Lou Diamond Philips.

“So, Junior, what did you learn in history class today?”

“I learned that Boilerplate helped the Allies win the War!”


Wow, JJ’s a machine! What I wouldn’t give for half his work ethic… ;)

Hm. Good trailer – but I’m surprised they used the music from “From the Earth to the Moon” (if I’m not mistaken). I wonder how long until Michael Kamen’s lawyers pull that down?

#14: With just a touch of Zelig! Or something.

Could be fun.

If they ever do a “special edition” of “All Good Things…,” they should CGI a small framed photo of Boilerplate on the fireplace mantle of the office of Cambridge Professor Data as an Easter egg. It’d be visible only if you zoom into it on a Blu-ray disc. (Or if there is no mantle, then on a desk or side table.)

is a Grandpa of Bender ???????;) hehehe

cool!…something else for the ST diehards to whine about…

26, LOL, the family resemblance is unmistakable.

#27 “cool!…something else for the ST diehards to whine about…”

Says the person posting on a Star Trek website.

Don’t like steampunk, don’t like JJ’s work, so the probability I’m gonna watch this is vanishingly small.

I’m understandably wary of movies adapted from video games (witness the butchery of Max Payne in the transition from video game to film; sad, since the latter could have retained the awesomeness of the former, considering the damn thing was already storyboarded!) — HOWEVER, if the steampunk thing is coming in in full swing, then the upcoming Bioshock movie, slated for 2003 might really be worthwhile.

er… 2013, not 2003

@17 – I hope JJ turns Boilerplate into a cannon that would help avert disaster!

It’s about time the powers-that-be started making some steampunk movies!!

Problem is the substance needs to match the style. Anyone here see Sky Captain?! It all starts on the page with the characters and the ability to make the viewer care about them and their relationships. Nothing else matters.

#35. I love Sky Captain.

Yes Sky Captain was steam punk, have it, good movie. The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen also has steam punk aspects as does maybe Hell Boy, but to take place in some parallel 1940’s or 50’s would be awesome! Looking forward to Sucker Punch, steam punk and hot girls kicking ass with incredible looking cinematography, Sucker Punch is a fresh new idea, as is Boilerplate can’t wait.

#37: “Sucker Punch is a fresh new idea”

What’s it about? The trailer just says “cute girls, explosions and lots of FX” which is neither fresh, nor new, nor (really) any kind of idea. Looks like some kind of standard formula action-escape thing.

Sounds like you know more than I do about it … what’s the “fresh new idea” hiding behind the same-old-same-old eye candy?

I guess he was taken by The Borg. Mysteriously transported back to the Home Borg World. Resistance is Steaming.

I agree with #35, #36 and #37. He would be better appeared in Sky Captain or The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen than that JJ Guy wants to make a movie about him.

Buy the way, Boilerplate (aka Steam Punk) would blow its lid (or top) when he hears about the same JJ Guy wants to recreate “The Wrath Of Khan” in the next Star Trek 90210 movie.

As Sam Beckett in Quantum Leap say, “Oh Boy!”


Good idea!

I don’t like this, looks stupid, sides we already have Iron Man. This project looks like a cheap 3rd world rip off and fits in nicely with the counterfeit dvds and shoes.

#41: I hope this isn’t a “Santa Claus isn’t real” moment for you, but Iron Man isn’t a robot. It’s just Robert Downey jr in a suit.

#41: Iron Man is a human inside of a highly advanced suit of armor/jet fighter. Boilerplate is an autonomous robot built in the close of the 19th century, presented as a very active participant in history who was forgotten because few recognized the marvel of his (its?) creation. There’s a pretty wide gulf separating the two concepts.
I have to say, reading what they’ve got on the site I think this could be a really awesome movie. Eagerly awaiting more news on it.


Perhaps you should change your name.
“some-reactionary-comments-that-don’t-amount-to-a-hill-of-beans” sounds more appropriate.

Count me as another person who enjoyed Sky Captain. It’s the only Jude Law movie I’ve ever seen and, until Iron Man, was also the only Gwenyth Paltrow movie I’d ever seen.

Oh GAWD! “Sky Captain And The World of Tomorrow” was such a BORE!

“Sky Captain And The World Of To-SNORE-row”!

I thought sky capt was pretty good-heavily influenced by fleisher superman cartoons from the 40s—i admit the characters didnt have much more depth than a cartoon–the empthasis was all on the virtual efx n action–did like the speed racer mach five plane that dove into the water tho hah–n who could ever forget one eyed heli base commander angelina full lips jolie–how she flew the vehicles with no depth perception was beyond me–also the main villain was a dead actor too hehh

If J.J. wants to make a movie about a robot who’s played a key role in numerous historic events, why not get the rights to the popular comic “Atomic Robo”?! A robotic Indiana Jones with a deadpan sense of humour would make a much better movie.

#46, 47:

Your posts are full of YES.

But in fairness, at least we were warned. The trailers screamed “colossal bore,” and they were absolutely accurate. The only lie in the trailers was the implication that Angelina Jolie played a more significant role, instead of a very brief cameo.