‘I’m not always nice’: Hugh Jackman on anger, vulnerability and the loss of his father
X-Men made him a star; now The Son is giving him a shot at an Oscar. The actor talks about family, superheroes and the sexual misconduct claims against director Bryan Singer
Hugh Jackman is feeling reflective. It’s easy to understand why. In his latest film, The Son, he plays an absentee, workaholic father struggling to help his estranged and acutely depressed teenage son. The role changed Jackman, he says, “as a man, as an actor, as a father, as a husband”. Such a part would inspire a period of introspection for most parents, let alone soon-to-be empty nesters such as Jackman, 54, and his wife, the actor and producer Deborra-Lee Furness (they have two children, Oscar and Ava). Also, towards the end of production, his father died.
“We were close,” says Jackman. “Here’s a great way to describe my relationship with my dad: we could go to Test cricket and be totally comfortable sitting together, and over a seven-hour Test we’d talk for 20 minutes.” Jackman is speaking over a video call from the home of his publicist. He’s relaxed and open, often undercutting serious emotional points with a punchline and a booming laugh.