Film’s grim tale took toll on Jack­man

Hugh Jack­man found his lat­est role gru­elling, writes

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - MOVIES - Caris Biz­zaca

HUGH Jack­man is known for hit­ting the gym to pre­pare for his Wolver­ine role, but with Pris­on­ers, it was a whole other ball game.

Jack­man trawled through videos and writ­ten ac­counts from par­ents whose chil­dren had been ab­ducted to play Keller Dover, a fa­ther in a sim­i­lar sit­u­a­tion, and says it was dif­fi­cult not to be af­fected.

‘‘That was the hard­est bit. Do­ing that re­search is just so dev­as­tat­ing,’’ he says.

So much so, the in­tense re­search made him more pro­tec­tive of his two adopted chil­dren with wife De­borra-Lee Fur­ness, Os­car, 13, and Ava, 8.

Grow­ing up the youngest of five chil­dren, Jack­man had a lot of free­dom af­ter his par­ents’ mar­riage broke down and his mother re­turned to Eng­land.

‘‘My fa­ther sort of brought me up from when I was eight, on his own, so when he was work­ing, I had a lot of time on my own to ex­plore,’’ he says.

‘‘I look back at that ac­tu­ally and I see a lot of ben­e­fits, but I’m not sure if – es­pe­cially af­ter re­search­ing this movie – I’m go­ing to give my kids the same length of rope.’’

The thought-pro­vok­ing na­ture of Pris­on­ers was one of the key rea­sons why Jack­man was drawn to the part of Dover, a man who de­cides to take mat­ters into his own hands when his daugh­ter and her friend go miss­ing.

Jack­man says he is drawn to char­ac­ters like Dover, whose life is a strug­gle in ev­ery as­pect, yet he’s done his best to over­come all his de­mons.

‘‘And the heart­break­ing thing is that over the eight or nine days that the movie takes place, you just watch ev­ery­thing un­ravel for him, his faith, his ethics, his morals, and that’s what hap­pens in this sit­u­a­tion,’’ he says.

‘‘Ul­ti­mately it’s very thought­pro­vok­ing, not just in the im­me­di­ate sense, but I think it’s got a lot to say even on an in­ter­na­tional level about how we han­dle vi­o­lence.’’

Os­car buzz is al­ready cir­cu­lat­ing for the Aus­tralian, who missed out on the best ac­tor award this year to Daniel Day-Lewis. ‘‘I’m the source of all the buzz,’’ he jokes.

‘‘I ba­si­cally ex­pect noth­ing and ev­ery­thing’s a bonus.’’

Co­in­ci­den­tally, he found out he had been nom­i­nated for his role as Jean Val­jean in Les Mis­er­ables, the same day he be­gan work on Pris­on­ers.

‘‘I found out in the car ride on my way to set for the first day of film­ing,’’ Jack­man says.

Helmed by In­cendies di­rec­tor De­nis Vil­leneuve, Pris­on­ers was emo­tion­ally task­ing, but Jack­man says once the cam­eras stopped rolling, the at­mos­phere was some­what re­laxed.

Part of this he cred­its to the qual­ity of ac­tors on set, which in­cluded Jake Gyl­len­haal, play­ing the de­tec­tive in charge of the case, as well as Vi­ola Davis, Maria Bello, Ter­rence Howard and Paul Dano.

As ‘‘a bit of a sport­head’’ Jack­man likens it to field­ing in the slips dur­ing a game of cricket.

‘‘You can’t stay at the ready for a catch when the bowler’s walk­ing back to his mark . . . but in be­tween you’re re­laxed, but yet your mind is still in the game.

‘‘Peo­ple aren’t yukking it up or prac­ti­cal jok­ing or any­thing like that, but there’s a calm­ness and a fo­cus I think.’’

Hugh Jack­man stars in


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