Earlier this evening, December 11th, Hugh Jackman and wife Deborra-Lee Furness headed to Cipriani for an extravagant evening. The Museum of Moving Image was honoring Hugh and helping raise money for the museum’s programs, exhibitions, and educational activities. Carl Goodman, MMI’s executive director, said of the event, “We are thrilled to be honoring one of the world’s most beloved and talented performers.” Hugh was joined by his Les Misérables co-stars, Anne Hathaway and Eddie Redmayne; director Tom Hooper was also in attendance.
There are numerous quotes and accounts from the evening, which you can read below:
Last week, Hugh Jackman gave his Les Mis co-star Amanda Seyfried a “happy birthday” lap dance. Yesterday, he serenaded his wife, Deborra-Lee Furness, at a lunch hosted by the Peggy Siegal Company at the Four Seasons. “It’s way too early to sing,” he said, apologizing for a strained voice. “But I saw Sammy Barks in the lobby of the hotel last night in her pajamas at the same time I was there, so I have no excuse.” (Barks sang a sultry “Summertime” before he took the stage.) “I don’t get to do this very often, but a lot of this week has been about just being grateful for all the people who’ve made this possible… so I’m going to sing a song for my wife.”
Then, accompanied by pianist Marty Silver, Jackman launched into “The Way You Look Tonight,” changing the word tonight to today, with Furness right in front, blushing. “He sings to me at every meal,” she joked with Vulture afterward. “No, he does not. It was a complete surprise. He’s full of them. And in that setting, it was very moving for me, so I shed a little tear.”
“You know, it sounds weird, but when you’re doing a press tour like this, getting any time with your wife is tough,” Jackman told us when we ran into him for a second time in one day at a gala in his honor held by the Museum of the Moving Image at Cipriani Wall Street. Jackman said he originally invited his wife to the luncheon – or as he put it, “I said, ‘Babe, can you come to lunch, please?’” – just for the chance to have “five minutes to chat, because it’s been so crazy.” The song, as it turns out, was completely spontaneous. “Got some brownie points!” he said with a grin.
Despite Jackman’s worries about his voice, he sounded just fine, as did Hathaway, who also downplayed her abilities (“We’re all sick and slightly hung-over”) before closing out the sing-along with “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” with the other cast members singing backup. “You can do some minor five-part harmony, that’s fine,” she teased them before Eddie Redmayne’s voice rose out of the ensemble in an operatic bray, to much applause.
“They were like, ‘Oh, I had stayed up really late [the night before], I can’t sing,’” the film’s director Tom Hooper said. “And then they sang like angels.”
Having lost a lot of weight to play Jean Valjean, Hugh Jackman told us that the Les Misérables set did not include pizza dinners after the cameras went off. “There was none of that, although there were a lot of parties at Russell [Crowe's]. But basically it was a carb-free event,” he told VF Daily over a steak lunch. “I had a long time, three or four months to lose the weight, but Anne [Hathaway] had 15 days, so, literally, a bit of apple would come up and she would be excited. It would be the size of a dime, and I would be like, ‘Really?’”
Jackman, who infamously gave Amanda Seyfried a recent birthday lap dance, said the two went through a very in-depth process playing father and daughter. “I basically would keep the discipline, keep her in line, and that’s a very demanding job with Amanda. She’s very naughty.”
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When we caught up with Jackman at the gala at Cipriani Wall Street, we wondered whether he ever gets tired, between the premiere the previous night, the luncheon, the museum dinner, plus endless promotional duties. He does, he said, while somehow not looking the least bit fatigued. “Makeup,” he explained. “They just wind me up and send me out.”
Past Museum of the Moving Image honorees include Alec Baldwin, Tom Cruise, Clint Eastwood, Robert De Niro, Dustin Hoffman, Tom Hanks, Al Pacino, Sidney Poitier, Julia Roberts, Martin Scorsese, and Steven Spielberg.
“It’s a little overwhelming,” Jackman told VF Daily. “It’s kind of all hitting me that I’m here. It’s truly humbling, because I see that list of all the other honorees, and I’m like, ‘Wow.’ I’m a little in shock.”
• Anne Hathaway: “Not to sound ungenerous, but it’s been my experience that when someone is as charming and likable as Hugh, it’s usually because they are overcompensating for a lack of talent. Or a psychopath. But I have worked with Hugh a few times now so I know this is not the case here. He is crazy-wonderful.”
• Christopher Nolan: The filmmaker told guests at the Museum of the Moving Image fete that though “ruthless” is not a word usually associated with Jackman, the Wolverine star is indeed “ruthless creatively” and a performer “driven by intense ambition.” The director also said that he looked forward to working with Jackman again, “probably not on a musical though,” despite Jackman’s urging him to direct one.
• Liev Schreiber, after seeing Hugh in The Boy from Oz: “I realized there was a kind of depth to this guy, as an actor, that I didn’t know from Kate and Leopold. And he can turn on a pretty zany sense of humor and a quick wit faster than most people I know [...] After a brief sampling of the training regimen required to sustain a career like Hugh’s, I began to wonder how wise it was for an actor of my age and stature to go galloping through his golden years as a giant mutant… cat. That, and the fact that no one bothered to write me into the [Wolverine] sequel probably accounted for the somewhat precipitous fall my career has endured for the past three years.”
• Mike Nichols: “The thing about Jackman is it’s hard not to get depressed thinking about all that he is and can do. And then going home and… being, well, you.”
• Rachel Dratch, sporting a heavily fake Australian accent: “Hugh Jackman does it all: acting, singing, dancing, he’s a triple threat. He’s also here tonight because he’s Australian, and that Australian accent isn’t easy to do. Just listen to me, it’s hard. Yet Hugh Jackman does that accent every day of his life.”
• Rachel Weisz: [Called Hugh] an “incredible cocktail of light and dark.” She also told the most revealing story of the night: During the filming of The Fountain – which was directed by her ex-husband, Darren Aronofsky – Weisz said that Jackman gave himself so completely to a scene in which his character realizes he’s going to die that “he sobbed for about half an hour after the cameras stopped” while Weisz comforted him. “He’d gone to the deepest, darkest place a person can go,” she said. “And he wasn’t faking it.”
• Tom Hooper, when filming Valjean’s distate of his daughter being courted in Les Misérables: “We were shooting with live butterflies. It was ‘Heart Full of Love.’ And at the end, Cosette runs inside and he tells her off, but then he comes to the gate to look at Eddie, and what he didn’t realize was that this unbelievably huge butterfly had attached itself to his hair, and he played the whole scene with this butterfly attached to his head. And we were all pissing ourselves laughing. It’s meant to be very serious. It was hilarious.”