There are so many articles about and interviews with Hugh Jackman out there that merely reiterate the same information over and over, but not this time. Static Multimedia was able to interview him recently about Rise of the Guardians and Les Misérables — and it’s quite the exciting read. In it, he talks about some childhood anecdotes, singing live on set from 8AM to 8PM, Christmas traditions, and he touches base on the power of meditation. It’s definitely worth the read for any fan looking for more insight into the man and his life. Check out an excerpt below before heading to the source; it’s also been added to the press archive in its entirety.
Who or what helped you to find out who you are?
Still going, man. Still working it out. But that’s why we are here really, isn’t it? So my father and my mum, particularly my dad, I think, had an influence on my life. He’s quite a religious man but I would say a very practical religious man. He doesn’t talk about it a lot, but he always encouraged that inner journey which I would say I am still on, definitely.
It would be sad if it ends one day, wouldn’t it?
Well for me, that’s everything. Way more important than the journey outside, as magical as that is, the inner journey is way more important.
[Rise of the Guardians] is also about dreams. Are you an intense dreamer?
No. I think I am just too tired and I sleep through it all. I used to dream a lot, and I remember when I was a kid, it’s really fascinating that idea of the boogie man because I remember being terrified of the dark, and terrified of going into the house alone. I remember running from room to room, all those things. In fact, my brother played a practical joke on me which probably put me in a state for years. I used to hear about boogie man under your bed and my brother would say, ‘Oh no, he’s there, he’s there!’ And we shared a bedroom together. And for about a month, I would occasionally feel this tap on the bed and I was like, ‘I think there’s something there.’ Like just one tap or two taps, and I would go off to sleep and I never had the guts to actually look under. Finally when I did, I want to say after a month, my brother was there and went, ‘Boo!’ So for a month every night, he had been under my bed. Cruel right?
Check out the video above of Hugh Jackman and The Wolverine director James Mangold making a special announcement. On October 29th – that’s a Monday, one week from today – they’ll be conducting a live web-based Q&A with fans from the set of the movie. You can submit questions via Twitter, tagging them with #TheWolverineLive. The feed will broadcast live at 1pm Pacific time both on YouTube and the movie’s official site.
On Saturday, October 20th, Hugh Jackman and wife (Deborra-Lee Furness) attended the 20th annual Red Ball. Taking place yearly in Melbourne, Australia, the gala is presented by Fight Cancer Foundation as a way to raise money for cancer treatment, research, care, and support programs. Hugh was there as a special guest, performing numbers from his Back on Broadway stint. Not sure of a song list (yet), but you can check out pictures of him and Deb on the red carpet in the gallery.
A new article on Tom Hooper’s Les Misérables is featured in this week’s issue of Entertainment Weekly (October 19th). I’ve added caps to the gallery, courtesy of “VictoriaVanDort.” There’s a lot of information about the actual set – not so much the actors – but it gives great insight into the production of an epic movie-musical. There’s also a few new film stills – including another of Hugh Jackman with Isabelle Allen (young Cosette) and the debut of the Thenardiers – as well as the progression of concept art to fully realized costumes and sets.
A beautiful new film still from Les Misérables has been released, once again featuring Hugh Jackman as Jean Valjean. It looks like it must be from the early on-location shooting done in France. Très magnifique! Be sure to check out the picture in the gallery for the full-size, as the makeup and costume are impeccable and definitely worth getting a closer look at.
The Daily Telegraph recently posted an article all about the new and original song, “Suddenly,” to be featured in the upcoming Les Misérables movie-musical. There’s a lot more information on the song, including the subject matter and even a short line from the lyrics. Lyricist Alain Boublil and composer Claude-Michel Schonberg visited Hugh Jackman during his Back on Broadway run to know exactly what kind of voice they’d be writing for. Check it all out below:
Hugh Jackman has received one of the greatest honours in musical theatre. Not another Tony, a Drama Desk, or a Laurence Olivier, but a song. Not just any song, but his own song; written by the creators of the Les Miserables stage show, tailored specifically to his voice, for inclusion in a film that could change big screen musicals forever.
And he is finally ready to reveal its subject.
Jackman drops down into the interview chair at Pinewood Studios, straight from the gym and still in his tracksuit and trainers. Though he is looking better fed now, he had to shed 14kg to sculpt his character Jean Valjean’s tortured convict physique in the initial scenes of the Les Miserables shoot.
He has since regained 11 of those kilos and aged considerably; his hair is tinged with grey.
It is this incarnation of Valjean, by now a prosperous but charitable mayor, who sings the much-anticipated new solo created by Les Mis lyricist Alain Boublil and composer Claude-Michel Schonberg.
They watched Jackman’s one-man show on Broadway before putting pen to paper.
“It’s kind of an amazing honour they came to see the show and I was singing for 2 1/2 hours so they saw every possible colour of my voice and they said ‘right, now we’re going to write it for you,'” Jackman, 44, says. “I’ll do my best not to screw it up.”
He leans forward and tells in excited tones how the song reveals the inner emotions of the kind-hearted Valjean when he first meets Cossette (played by Amanda Seyfried) the orphaned daughter of the prostitute Fantine (Anne Hathaway).
Valjean fulfils a promise to take her under his wing after rescuing her from an abusive foster family. The Victor Hugo novel on which the musical is based describes how he suddenly finds himself overcome with a new emotion.
“Meeting Cossette is the first time he’s ever experienced love,” Jackman explains. “It’s the most beautiful passage, because he says he never knew the love of a mother, a father, of brothers or sisters and vice versa, never loved anyone. So he meets this little girl who’s in his care, he experiences this flood of emotion that for a 50-year-old man has never occurred. It’s a pretty amazing invention of Victor Hugo and it’s never really been dealt with in the stage musical.”
For Schonberg, the song’s sentiment is best summed-up by the line from the original text that inspired it. “There is a wonderful line by Victor Hugo where he says that two unhappy persons together can create one happy person,” he says.
Lyricist Boublil brought this feeling to life with the lyric, “two hearts can beat as one.”
During a quiet moment on the set, a rain-soaked 19th century Parisian street producer Debra Heyward describes Jackman’s delivery of the heart-wrenching words as “absolutely amazing”.
“He deserves 50 Oscars for what he’s done already,” she says, only half joking.
Director Tom Hooper made the courageous decision to record all vocals live, instead of using the standard safe option of pre-recording and having his actors mime. If the cast pull it off they will be leading a revolution in the musical film world.
Jackman acknowledges that it is not unusual to do 23 takes for one song in this brave new world, but the result is unmatched authenticity.
He recalls the first scenes he shot high in mountains in the south of France: “It was below zero, it was very windy, singing live, you can see the steam, you can hear the cold in my voice. I was literally freezing. To be doing that miming, that is a whole different thing.”
Cameron Mackintosh, the musical theatre producer who brought Les Miserables to London in 1985 and is co-producing the film, initially thought that Jackman would play the part of Inspector Javert, the policeman who tirelessly pursues Valjean after recognising him as a prison escapee.
But it became apparent that the X-Men star, whose philanthropic passions include battling poverty and disease, better embodied the spirit of the story’s hero. The role of bad cop went to Russell Crowe.
Finally, there’s some news on the upcoming original musical, Houdini. Broadway.com recently spoke to director Jack O’Brien, and he spilled the beans on what to expect with the music. We also have somewhat of a timeline on what to expect with further advances in the musical-making progress, as an Act I reading is scheduled to take place in January. Check out the information below:
“The two ballads Stephen has written, one that closes Act I and one that closes the show, are among the greatest things he’s ever written,” O’Brien recently told Broadway.com. “Hugh just kills with them. It’s vintage Schwartz, it’s gorgeous,” O’Brien said of the Wicked composer’s newest score, noting it echos music from the 1920s, when the story is set.
Oscar-winning Social Network scribe Aaron Sorkin is penning the musical’s book and taking a different narrative route than that of a traditional biography. Instead, the musical tells the story of an epic battle between Houdini and a trio of women, known as ‘Spiritualists,’ who convinced millions of people they could communicate with the dead.
Jackman and the show’s creative team are “working our butts off,” according to O’Brien. A read-through of the show’s first act is scheduled for January. Jackman will then take a break to film the police drama Prisoners with Jake Gyllenhaal, then reconvene on Houdini in March and April.
Two images from a new photo shoot have been added to the gallery. With Hugh Jackman sporting short-cropped hair, it looks like they were taken over the summer. (You might remember the Best Life cover posted a couple of months back, which also features an image from the shoot.) Hopefully I’ll be able to obtain HQ versions of these eventually – Hugh looks great in them – but enjoy these smaller pictures in the meantime!
The Les Misérables promo team has just released something new for fans: character art, featuring Hugh Jackman as Jean Valjean. I’m not quite sure if this is considered an official poster that will be used (there aren’t even any actor credits), but it’s a great close-up look at Valjean with a wonderful new tagline that associates with his character.
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