Hugh Jackman has won fans worldwide for his portrayal of Wolverine in the "X-Men" series, but when asked about his most important role to date, it's that of father to son Maximillian, 12, and daughter Eva, 6. Jackman, 43, talked to Parade.com about his Father's Day plans, receiving a special Tony award for his contributions to the Broadway community, and his upcoming role in movie adaptation of "Les Miserables."
On what his kids think about his fame: My daughter is 6 and she is really starting to get it now. My son is 12 and he just wants me to be dad. He doesn't want me to be famous. He doesn't like when people come up to me on the street. He would much prefer if nobody knew who I was. Although, I've seen him in social situations when he didn't think I was listening, and he once said to a girl, "Well, my dad is Wolverine." So when it came to try to talk to this girl, apparently it came in handy!"
His favorite part about being a dad: The things that I really cherish are the everyday moments, like sitting around cooking pancakes together on Sunday morning, or getting home after a tough day and my kids come up and give me a hug and remind me what's really important. On Friday nights, we will all sit down and watch a movie together and cuddle up. It's more everyday stuff that really is the goal.
On the best Father's Day gift he's ever received: The best is a handwritten card. I don't know where some of my awards are, but I can tell you exactly where those cards are. I treasure them most. I am pretty spoiled on Father's Day. I get a lot of home cooking, which is great. My wife is an amazing cook. And my son is actually an amazing cook, too. So I always get a fair bit of cooking on Father's Day."
On his role in "Les Miserables": It's great. We have one more week of filming and I pinch myself every day. We are singing every single take of the song. As a performer, it's fantastic. It's obviously challenging, especially when the call is at 8:30 in the morning, but it is so immediate. It is really about the acting. "Les Miserables" is one of the greatest stories ever told, and it really is an uplifting story about the human spirit. It is a rare feeling to be in something that you know you will look back on as one the highlights of your life."
On his transformation for the role: I had to actually make two transformations because my character begins as a prisoner. He's known for his strength, so I had to be strong, but very emaciated. I am now currently filming the part where I'm the mayor, so it's 10 years later and I've found a bit of money and had a couple meals! I just weighed myself today and I am 24 pounds heavier than I was in the beginning of the film.
On receiving a Tony award for his volunteer efforts in the Broadway community: I am still a little bit floored. I am very humbled by it. I do whatever I can to support the community, but no matter what I do, I feel I get it back tenfold. Honestly, it has been one of the joys of my life and I have been lucky enough to work all around the world and there just really is nothing like Broadway.
On his wife Deborra-Lee Furness presenting his Tony: I had absolutely no idea. I'm in shock. I thought that she was going to miss it because she was going to the bathroom. So I was like, "Oh, c'mon." And she hates public speaking. This is a minor miracle that that happened.
On why he loves live theater: Still to this day, anytime I'm doing any show, no matter what time I come on, if it's the beginning or the end, I always go down just after places is called and just stand close to the curtain and listen to that buzz in the audience. For me, it's one of the great things, hearing the excitement of an audience coming to see a show. Magic can happen and I hope to keep coming back...As an actor, of my top 10 moments, all of them would be on stage. Not to knock movies but something magical can happen on stage.
On his first performance: I was 5 or 6 and I played the King in "Camelot." And what I remember most is the crown being too big and falling over my face. The stage is where I began to learn my craft. It's where I fell in love with acting. The very first thing I saw was "Man of La Mancha." It was at a high school. My dad said, "Do you want to go to the school that you're going to go to, to check out this show?" I was probably 8 at the time. Hugo Weaving, who is a very famous Australian actor, was the star. And he went to the same high school as me and I couldn't believe it. I still remember the show very vividly.
On his hopes to see his Wolverine franchise get set to some music: I've been working on it for a long time. It's just a lot of people don't see the vision. I don't know why. It's just one monologue.
On his latest venture, Laughing Man Worldwide, a new business (and his "true labor of love") that uses 100 percent of profits to benefit those in need around the world: I have been doing quite a lot of research over the years about how to best use my profile in a philanthropic way, and I went out with World Vision to Ethiopia and we met with this coffee farmer and spent the day with him. I made a promise to him that day that I was going to do whatever I could to help him out. I came back and we decided to start Laughing Man Worldwide, and the first company is a line of coffees, teas, and chocolates. We buy all the coffee from that farmer in Ethiopia. I wanted to create something that would help lots of people and create jobs. It's a win-win for everyone.
The company's motto is "All Be Happy." What makes him happiest?: Without a doubt, it's my family. I have two beautiful kids, an incredible wife, and it's just about being with them.
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