Not only does Hugh Jackman have a new Hollywood action film, but the Australian actor is also tuning up his singing voice for a return to the Broadway stage. In “Real Steel,” Hugh Jackman plays a washed up boxer and failed father who gets a second chance when he reconnects with his 10-year-old son. Together they guide a robot fighter to victory in the ring. The boy, played by Dakota Goyo, steals almost every scene. But Jackman says that goes with the territory.
“I don’t think any actor ever worries about the whole thing of scene stealing. If they do, it’s stupid. Basically it’s a team sport.”
It was as part of a team that Jackman got his big Hollywood break a decade ago, when he began playing “Wolverine” in the “X-Men” films.
Jackman has a new “Wolverine” adventure coming up, with plans to start shooting next year. He is so identified with the fierce comic book character that many of his fans are surprised to learn the Australian had his first show business success on the musical stage.
Jackman played Curly in the 1998 London revival of “Oklahoma!” a role he calls one of the highlights of his career. He came back to the stage five years later – this time on Broadway in “The Boy From Oz:”
His portrayal of the late Australian singer Peter Allen earned Jackman the Tony award as best actor in a musical. He returns to the Great White Way this November with his solo show “Hugh Jackman: Back on Broadway.”
“I had a chance to do this show earlier in San Francisco and then worked on it for another couple of months, took it to Toronto. I didn’t think I was going to be doing it now. I was sure I was going to be shooting “Wolverine.” That’s been the story of my year, but I couldn’t quite fit it in before “Les Mis” the movie and there was a theater available, so we’re in.”
That film project he casually mentioned is the long-awaited screen adaptation of the hit musical “Les Miserables,” in which he’ll play the hero, Jean Valjean, being pursued by fellow Aussie Russell Crowe as Inspector Javert. The director is Tom Hooper, who made last year’s Oscar-winner “The King’s Speech.” Even though Hooper offered him the role, Jackman insisted on auditioning for it.
“I wanted to do this so bad that I didn’t want to leave anything up to his imagination. I wanted him to know what I could do, just in case he thought of ringing up Daniel Day Lewis,” he says with a laugh.
In addition to his stage and screen success, Jackman has earned honors as the host of televised award programs including the Tony Awards three times and, in 2009, the Oscars.
“I will never forget hosting the Oscars. I still pinch myself that they asked me,” he says. “I had a blast doing it, and I just hope one day I get to do it again.”
Meanwhile, Jackman is happy to keep working on both stage and screen. And if he gets backing for his dream project, it will combine both those loves again in a new adaptation of the classic musical “Carousel.”