In an interview with Flicks And Bits, Hugh Jackman talks Les Misérables. Not only does he touch upon what makes his character (Jean Valjean) a hero, but he talks about the timeliness of the story and why it’s so important even in today’s world — or, rather, especially in today’s world. It’s a pretty short interview, but it might be worth checking out anyhow. Read an excerpt below before heading to the source for more; it’s also been added to the press archive.
For me, Jean Valjean is very much an archetypal redemptive hero. How do you yourself look at your character? He’s a man who goes through a huge amount of conflict in this story?
Hugh Jackman: Jean Valjean is one of those; he’s a very humble man who constantly feels like he’s falling short. And here, the journey of his life, the journey of this story, is actually about acceptance of himself [and] acceptance of the world that he’s in. And also finding love. Everyone in this musical is fighting a battle. Sometimes that’s within themselves; sometimes that’s in their life, with their circumstances. But there’s difficulties for everybody. And for me, in all the things I’ve done, I’ve never had a role that required more of me in a concentrated period. It requires everything I’ve done. All of the things I’ve done leading up to this, whether it’s the stage work or the film work, it all came together for this role and for this movie. It was the most demanding thing I’ve ever done – physically, emotionally, vocally – but it’s also probably the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done.
And with Jean Valjean, we live in a world where there’s a lot of movies about superheroes – I play one of them [laughs] – but to me Jean Valjean as a character is a real hero. He’s about as good a man as I can imagine. Playing him is daunting because he’s certainly been lower – he’s had more obstacles than I’ve ever had in my life by a mile – and he rises above them. Playing him – with his humility, his courage, and ultimately his love and service for those around him – I see him as a model.
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