Celebrity Then And Now
Posted by Jake Frost
Celebrity Then And Now
Publication: Stanton Daily. Posted by Jake Frost
X-Men Series, The Prestige, Van Helsing
Currently Known For:
The Greatest Showman
2000 - Present
All it takes is one role for an actor to establish a long career, and there’s a certain degree of luck that comes with it. For Hugh Jackman, he went from being relatively unknown outside of his home country to becoming one of the biggest stars of the 21st century. Even if he’s played the same character for nearly 10 films, Jackman still has quite the impressive resume when he’s not portraying Wolverine.
Jackman was born on October 12, 1968 in Sydney, Australia, where he had an upbringing that many would consider to be typical. In the late 1980s, Jackman took an interest in acting while he was in school, where he’d star in stage productions. When he made it to college, Jackman didn’t have a focus on acting as a career, instead opting to get his degree in communications from the University of Technology in his home city.
Once he had finished college, Jackman decided to turn more of his attention to acting after realizing that it was his true passion. He felt as if he wasn’t the strongest actor in his acting class, but worked tirelessly on his craft. Immediately after he had gone through the acting academy, Jackman landed a role on the Australian series “Correlli”, where he met co-star Deborra-Lee Furness, whom he eventually married (and is still married more than 20 years later). Outside of the miniseries, Jackman would continue to work on stage, hoping to land the attention of casting directors around the world.
When it was announced that an “X-Men” movie was being developed for 2000, there was of course a lot of interest in teh casting. With Logan/Wolverine being a fan favorite and a focal point of the film, producers knew that they had to get the right actor for the job. Originally, it was decided that Dougray Scott would play the role, who is known most for his role in “Mission: Impossible 2”.
However, a scheduling conflict came about, which forced Scott to withdraw from the movie. With that, director Bryan Singer had to move on, and his first choice had actually been Russell Crowe. Crowe, who is from Australia himself, suggested that Jackman take the position. The rest, as they say, is history. According to Jackman, he actually encountered Scott after getting the role as Wolverine.
“I met him early on and I said to him, ‘Man, I am sorry,’” Jackman said. “And he said, ‘It’s just business, but you have just gotten one of the greatest roles out there, so go crush it.’ I just remember being so impressed by that and his class, and hopefully I am a big enough guy that when someone else takes over, I will do exactly what was done to me and I feel glad to just be a part of the legacy of (Wolverine).”
According to Jackman, even he wasn’t aware that “X-Men” was even casting. “I was only in Los Angeles to do paperwork for the adoption of my son,” he said. “I had an agent at the time, and I gave him a (call) and said, ‘I’m in town for a week. Is there anything I can read for?’ He said, ‘I’m hearing some whispers about (“X-Men”) – let me make a few calls.”
Jackman’s appearance as Wolverine wouldn’t just be confined to one film. Over the course of more than 15 years, Jackman would play the role in nine films. His final appearance with the character came in 2017’s Logan. Not only was the film a success with both audiences and critics, but it was considered by some to be the best superhero film made thus far. Some had even suggested that Jackman be nominated for an Oscar.
After he played Wolverine of the first time, Jackman would instantly become a household name, which opened up a lot of lead actor opportunities. In the early 2000s, he’d have success in films such as “Swordfish”, “Van Helsing” and “Kate & Leopold”. Jackman then followed that up with memorable roles in “The Prestige” and “The Fountain”, wrapping up the first decade of the new millennium with “Australia”.
In more recent years, Jackman would use his stage talents for the film adaptation of “Les Miserables”, playing the role of Jean Valjean. The performance was deemed worthy of a nomination for Best Lead Actor at the 2013 Oscars. Though he’d lose out to Daniel Day-Lewis (for “Lincoln”), it was a reminder that Jackman came from a very musical background. This helped him to get the role of P.T. Barnum in “The Greatest Showman”, one of the most successful musicals in recent years.
Now entering his 50s, Jackman has plenty of roles left in the tank. He most recently starred in the Jason Reitman film “The Front Runner” that had a successful limited release before opening up to audiences nationwide. He’ll also star as a voice actor in “Missing Link” and hasn’t given up on stage acting, having recently been in “Broadway to Oz” as recently as 2015.
Despite usually playing the macho type on screen, Jackman has also carried a reputation as being one of the nicest actors to work with. “It’s the way I was brought up,” he said. “My parents always treated people with great respect. My father never yelled, and I admired that. I also genuinely love the family aspect of what we do, and I feel more comfortable being relaxed and myself with everybody…maybe people attribute it as being nice, but it’s just being a normal person.”