Film’s grim tale took toll on Jackman
Hugh Jackman found his latest role gruelling, writes
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.’’
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