Hugh Jackman on How He’s ‘Boring’ and His New Musical Offer
Hugh Jackman in "Prisoners" (Photo Credit: Warner Bros.)
Want to get on Hugh Jackman’s good side? Appreciate that while the 45-year-old Australian's role as a desperate father who brutalizes his missing daughter’s alleged kidnapper (Paul Dano) in "Prisoners" is getting a lot of awards buzz, it's not that much of a departure from his popular superhero, Wolverine.
"A lot of people said I didn’t play a character like Keller Dover before but I think I did a similar role," Jackman, who described himself as even-tempered, even boring on the phone, explained to Yahoo Movies when we mentioned that we thought his portrayal of Wolverine was also intensely dramatic. "Director James Mangold was so on me every day with 'The Wolverine.' It was so interior. It’s easier to be flashier or quick, but Wolverine is masking a lot of hidden pain. Thanks for noticing. A lot of people don’t. A lot of characters I play are very different from me."
And sometimes those characters sing. Jackman admits to still regretting turning down "Chicago" and spills the beans on a new musical he's been offered -- a screen adaptation of the Tony award-winning "The Drowsy Chaperone" -- in our exclusive interview.
Yahoo Movies: Who is Keller in "Prisoners" – and how close is he to you personally?
Hugh Jackman: We’re quite different in many, many ways. I can totally understand almost anything that someone does in that situation. The movie opens with a normal Thanksgiving setting and then you watch four people diverge wildly when the unthinkable happens. I have a soft spot for people like Keller: playing them and in life. I think life for this father and husband is a struggle. He’s desperate to maintain control and power over his life. At the beginning, we see the best version of him -- and then we watch him unravel. Life does come easier to me, socially, whereas my character has a lack of faith and trust in anyone or any institution. His father committed suicide. He battled alcohol. I get the picture of a man who’s an everyman -- but he’s not looking for a pat on the back.
Q: In contrast, then, your life is nowhere near as catastrophic – but boring?
HJ: I’m an even-tempered boring person. I’m very measured. I was by no means a Goody two-shoes but I very rarely got in trouble. I was always the one that said, "I’m done." In my early twenties I always had the natural brakes that others lacked. I’m often attracted to characters that are off the wall because they are so different from me.
Q: Your last three characters – Dover, Wolverine and Jean Valjean in "Les Miserables" – all struggle to hold themselves to a higher standard in extreme circumstances.
HJ: I'm really attracted to these stories of "ordinary" people in "extraordinary" circumstances. My character in "Les Miserables" is 100 percent that kind of man. For "Prisoners," I read so many stories about parents and families in this same situation, where people literally go mad. What is the breaking point? It's foolish to think there isn't a breaking point.
Q: In speaking recently to Robert Redford about his solo sailor in "All is Lost," he said that as an actor he was drawn to the same thing: What is a character's breaking point and why do some endure beyond it?
HJ: I just saw that movie. Robert Redford was so good and so restrained. I totally went along for the ride. It’s fascinating. I find the power of the mind is one of the great mysteries of life. It is the "master" more than anything. Nothing gets more in the way. The mind can be a terrible master and an incredible servant. How do you get that balance?