October 12, 1968– Hugh Jackman:
“I have a wife & kids, but the gay rumors have started. I guess it’s a sign that I’m moving up the ladder.”
Shocking, but I have never seen him as his most famous character, Wolverine. I avoid comic book films or anything Marvel. Still, Hugh Jackman is a favorite actor at my house.
With matinee idol looks & perfect physique, it would be nearly enough to fill the requirement for movie star, but Jackman is also sublimely skilled at swordplay, soft-shoe, singing show tunes, & with a preternatural proficiency for picking roles that are commercially & artistically gratifying. His films have grossed over 6 billion worldwide.
Jackman enjoys a career that brings him awards & good reviews working on stage & on screen with roles as a varied as that popular steel-clawed comic book anti-hero, an enigmatic prestidigitator, a singing providence-led ex-convict in early 19th century France, a time-traveling duke, a monster killing bounty hunter.
On stage, in Australia, London & on Broadway he moves easily between comedies, dramas & musicals with what Jackman calls a drive to be “perpetually curious & hungry, wanting to always get better.”
Jackman has a reputation for being one of the most professional & pleasant guys in show biz.
Australian born Jackman began his acting career on stage, appearing in musicals in Melbourne & Sydney. He became known outside Australia when he played Curly, the male lead, in the 1998 Royal National Theatre‘s much loved production of Oklahoma! in London. It is a production that was filmed & is available for you in the PBS Great Performances archives. That great performance brought him an Olivier Award nomination for Best Actor In A Musical. He played Billy Bigelow in Rodger & Hammerstein’s classic musical Carousel at Carnegie Hall in 2002.
He won a Tony Award for singing & dancing as gay entertainer Peter Allen in The Boy From Oz (2004). Plus, Jackman hosted the Tony Awards in 2003, 2004, & 2005, to great acclaim & earning an Emmy for Outstanding Individual Performer In A Variety, Musical Or Comedy Program. He also did well as host of the Academy Awards in 2009, always a tough gig.
“Doing the Broadway musical The Boy From Oz was a big turning point for me. My film career was going very well, & here was this 18-month commitment playing a flamboyantly gay character. It wasn’t what anyone considered a good career move, but I just knew it was the right thing to do. I knew the piece moved me & I knew it would move audiences, so I just truly committed to it. Whatever we do in this life, if it’s done for the right reasons, from the heart, the result almost becomes irrelevant; it’s the journey that matters. I’ll only follow my heart from here on out, which is why I have to return to the stage every now & then.”
His performance in the film version of the musical Les Misérables brought Jackman his first Oscar nomination & a Golden Globe Award win for Best Actor In A Motion Picture Musical or Comedy in 2013.
Unsurprising, Jackman was named People Magazine‘s Sexiest Man Alive in 2008.
It seems that Jackman would mostly be identified with his famous, money making Wolverine in the X-Men series, a role he has done 7 times, but he has also worked in smaller films including Woody Allen’s mystery Scoop (2006) opposite the female version of Jackman, Scarlett Johansson. He starred opposite Christian Bale in the trippy The Prestige (2006), as a pair of rival magicians in Victorian England.
One of my favortite Jackman flicks is in the underrated Australia (2008) opposite fellow Australian Nicole Kidman, directed by Sydney resident Baz Luhrmann. In this one, Jackman is often shirtless & wet.
In winter 2012, Jackman was honored with his own star on the Hollywood Walk Of Fame. At the unveiling, Jackman stated:
“I believe this is the 2,487th star on the Walk Of Fame. However, apart from Lassie, I’m the only one who’s gotten it for playing the same character in 15 movies.”
This weekend Jackman opened in the Peter Pan/Captian Hook origin story film Pan, playing the villainous pirate Blackbeard, directed by Joe Wright. Earlier this summer he appeared in the well-reviewed sci-fi adventure CHAPPiE, South African director Neill Blomkamp’s first American film, where Jackman plays opposite Sigourney Weaver who also celebrated an October birthday.
Jackman is adored by gay fans for his good-looks & hot bod, plus the singing & dancing. Yet he has had to dodge the gay rumors. I even have a friend in the biz that insists that Jackman has special men friends visiting his trailer on the set.
He has been married since 1996 to fellow actor Deborra-Lee Furness, 17 years his senior. Jackman claims the rumors “bug” his wife & he revealed she has a tough time ignoring the whispering.
“She goes: ‘It’s big. It’s everywhere!'”
The Jackmans live in Melbourne with their 2 adopted children. I sympathize about the gay rumors, but I bristled a bit when they claimed that the talk was “offensive” & that the speculation is “frustrating”.
“If I was, I would be. It’s to me not the most interesting thing about a person anyway. I do get frustrated for Deb, because I see Deb go, ‘Ah, this is crazy’.”
“I have a terrific marriage, but unlike a lot of relationships where they ebb & flow, no matter what happens you fall deeper & deeper in love every day. It’s kind of the best thing that can happen to you. It’s thrilling.”
All the fuss & the denials make me appreciate George Clooney‘s statement that he refuses to deny the rumors because it makes it look like being gay is a bad thing.