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Hugh JackmanBluntly Speaking | Hugh Jackman
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Bluntly speaking? Even if you're not into comics, X-Men's werewolfy chap Wolverine, is a hot little bad boy - Rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr. While Wolverine's no legit lycanthrope the Lon's would worry about, he's transformed to life not by moon blooming Wolfbane, but hunky Hugh Jackman.

And Jackman's back as the snarling claw baring cigar smokin' Wolverine - aka Logan - we've all embraced in this summer's final salute to the celluloid mutants of the X-Men franchise X-M3: The Last Stand. The poster is all about Logan and his silver appendages - the mutant and the man have become box office magic.

Hughie, the lad behind the brooding bearded-and-buff reluctant (er) super hero is a tad less scary - sans claws, clingy leather gear and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang hairdo. He's a warm, rather normal looking, Aussie chap with a razor wit, who likes to dabble in many areas of entertainment. It's apparently in the water down under.

Recently Jack chatted about the big bad wolf-erine, being a new dad (again), and his next big role…as well as his own preference in a mutant power:

EMILY:How is your preparation for an action film like this different from other films?

HUGH: For me, no different. Acting-wise, no different. I look at the script the same way and I think that's why X-Men has been successful. It's a character-driven piece. Beyond the amazing visuals and the great special effects, it's really about these ten or so characters. This film, I think, is by far the most emotional. A lot happens in it and, in a way, as an actor, it's probably tougher to get that across to an audience when there is so much going on visually. It's so epic. You've got Elvis-chops on and Elvis hair and claws coming out of your hands and you've still got to make people believe and slightly rel ate to that character. I'm not saying I should be up for an Academy Award, I'm just saying it's exactly the same.

Emily: Can you talk about doing your own stunts and the training?

HUGH: I train every day. I start training about four months before the film starts and then, stuntwise, we rehearse things like jumping off the tree. That takes quite a long time. Other things don't take as much time to do. It just takes balls, more than anything, so it's better not to rehearse it and know what you're in for. Generally, my rule of thumb; I have two stuntmen and I say 'you do it first'. If the guy doesn't kill himself and it doesn't look too hard then I just get in there and do it. It's kind of complicated because one of my stuntmen in my brother-in-law and on Van Helsing he broke his leg and dislocated his shoulder so it's kind of a slightly tense family situation [laughs].

Emily: If you could have an X-Men power would it be Wolverine's claws or something else?

HUGH: [laughter] I don't think the claws would be my ultimate power. Really, every time you used it you'd be up for life imprisonment so it would be a tough gig. I think, honestly, the walking through walls is kind of cool but really the telepathy. That's very, very handy, let's face it. Early in life it could cut down the dating process. You could be in and out of a bar in like five minutes; check it out, 'okay, what are my options?. There we go, let's go!'

EMILY: How was working with director Brett Ratner?

HUGH: Brett is great. He's the most fun guy. You can see his personality in the film. He loves the epics. But he's also an emotional guy. He's not as cerebral as Bryan (Singer). He's more instinctive and incredibly passionate. He loves what he does like I've never seen anyone love what they do in any job, in any field and I think that comes across. He's unflappable. You're been on these sets. It's the toughest thing for a director to pull off and to not ever have a tantrum. There's a couple of moments where he fell asleep! n the chair at 4 A.M. and the entire set left and we have him on video. He wakes up, starts looking around and this huge set piece was empty. He went straight back to sleep by the way. But, apart from that, generally, he was always up. I thought he brought a lot to the film. I thought he was smart to not change what was working. He didn't try to reinvent the wheel, yet he made it his own.

EMILY: About the bio-medical ethics theme of the movie, a drug that would be a cure for something some people don't think needs curing.. just being different with powers. What do you think about that?

HUGH: Everything in life is a double-edged sword. Having power is a double-edged sword. If you were the leader of the free world as President, there are going to be moments where you wish you were a garbage man. Every person's dream can become their nightmare. So, even though the X-Men have powers that seem so cool, every one of them, because of their power, is alienated, separated and unhappy with it too. Look at Rogue's character. She's arguably one of the most powerful yet there's a human being who can't touch people, can never have children, can never make love or kiss. It's a pretty horrible prospect.

EMILY: I see what you mean but should the X-Men take a pill to become "normal"?

HUGH: There's not a person on the planet that doesn't feel a little different and wouldn't like to change something in their life and if there was a pill you can take… which is really what this story is a metaphor for…would you just get rid of [your power] like that? Philosophically speaking, I'm sure most people on a high moral ground would say the hurdles we have in life which are placed through genetics, through the environment, whatever they happen to be, are generally the things that make us but sometimes they break us. So, compassionately speaking, I can really see both sides of it. When we were filming X-Men: The Last Stand, there were arguments on set. For example, 'should Rogue take the cure or not?' Literally, there were arguments about it and it was split and I'm sure the audience is going to be split. I think that's what makes X-Men a little different.

EMILY: Will there be more Wolverine in your future?

HUGH: I hope so. I hope that we can do a wolverine spin-off. I'm championing it. We have David Benioff who is a fantastic writer who has written a second draft. It's never been my intention that, if we did a spin-off, it would be X-Men 4. I always hoped we'd have an opportunity to really flesh out this character. I've been lucky is getting one of the most complex and amazing characters in comic book history that is well-loved for a reason. He's got a lot of depth and mystery to him. I see it as a kind of Max Mad: Road Warrior which I grew up with, one of those great characters like a Dirty Harry. I'm sure we're going to make a movie and we can finally, once and for all really understand what this guy's about.

EMILY: What feelings do you tap into trying to find Wolverine's core?

HUGH: Everybody, particularly in the teenage years, everybody has those moments of 'I want to fit in. I just want to be normal. I don't fit in'. I defy anybody to say they haven't had those moments. It's not that tough for me to draw on that. I think the tough thing for Wolverine, as an actor, is, except when he's fighting in that berserker rage, he's fairly laid back yet you always have to feel that he's ready to snap so that's just a thing of concentration and intensity that you have to have. Over five months [shooting], that's the toughest thing.

EMILY: You've been in People magazine's "50 Most Beautiful People" for like five years in a row. Are ya feelin' sexy?

HUGH: [laughs] Well, I was just told, actually, by a publicist of mine, that I wasn't in it the last couple of years. [laughs] Maybe this is a sign that this is on the way down. I still have all five copies. They're on me now. I carry them everywhere. If people get the year wrong, I just pull them out at parties. It still works. [He's totally kidding].

EMILY: You're a dad again. How does that effect the roles you'll accept?

HUGH: It does make you think on another level about what you choose knowing that your kids are going to see it. Of course, I have a six year old and now a 10 month old but they haven't seen any of my movies. I have two animated movies coming out later in the year and I definitely did that because I wanted it for them. It certainly makes you think twice about what you choose because at some point they're going to go 'dad, what were you thinking?'.


EMILY: Growing up, did you read X-Men comics?

HUGH: I had no idea about the X-Men. I wasn't a big reader of comic books. I was a big fan of cartoons but the X-Men cartoons didn't even come out in Australia, not when I was around. My favorite was "The Justice League" and "The Legion of Doom". It was kind of like the good guys and the bad guys. Superman I did love actually as a kid and I did love the movie that came out when I was in Australia. I loved that.


EMILY: You had a great run on Broadway. Are you going back?

HUGH: Absolutely. I'm looking at several things at the moment in terms of Broadway. I think the one thing that "The Boy From Oz" did for me was re-ignite my passion for the stage. I hadn't been on stage for about five years, and made me realize that, for me, it's an important part of who I am as a performer to be balanced and helps my movie career in terms of my movie acting. I need to be doing both. That's what I'm planning to do. "Sunset Boulevard" has come my way in terms of interest and I'm looking at it but there's nothing concrete yet. That role, that movie, it's very important who plays Norma [Desmond]. That's really key.

EMILY: Can you talk about your part in The Fountain?

HUGH: Yeah. "Fountain" was the toughest thing I've ever done on film and probably the thing I'm most proud of. It's the film that I can guarantee, it's like nothing you've ever seen before. I'm proud to be in it. Darren Aronofsky is the new Kubrick. I think he's that good.

EMILY: You've played a wide variety of characters. Is that important to you?

HUGH: I've always been attracted in this business to doing different things. That's why I want to do stage musicals. I want to do Shakespeare. It may be a little greedy but I love all of them. Really, for me, there's something at the core of every character whether you're playing Hitler, Peter Allen, Wolverine, there's a humanity at the core that unites everybody and once you tap into that, it's the same feeling with everything you play no matter how different it is. That's what I love.

END And, that is perhaps why we never get tired of Mr. Jackman…and his obvious manbeauty - natch.

X-Men: The Last Stand out now!



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