“[Director] Tom [Hooper] offered me the chance to see [Les Misérables] about a month ago but I said no, I wanted to see it done — which was me chickening out, really,” [Hugh Jackman] said in Sydney yesterday during a break from the set of The Wolverine. “I find it very difficult to watch myself sing.”
Jackman was so nervous about his performance as convict-turned-mayor Jean Valjean that he elected to see the hotly anticipated film version of Cameron Mackintosh’s groundbreaking musical for the first time on Friday night at a private screening attended by his wife Deborra-lee Furness, his father and stepmother, and a couple of close friends. “I told them they were only allowed to say good things and that they weren’t allowed to talk to me for a few minutes afterwards.”
Jackman’s wife, Deborra-Lee Furness, encouraged him to stick with the part of Jean Valjean when he was having doubts, the actor says. But three weeks before filming began, Jackman says he rang Furness with serious doubts about his ability to pull it off — both in terms of the acting and his character’s two-and-a-half octave range. “She listened and then she said: You can’t play Jean Valjean and not feel that. Embrace the vulnerability.”
Les Misérables held its first press screenings yesterday, November 23rd, in New York City. There are raves pretty much across the board for the ambitious Tom Hooper-directed movie adaptation of the famous musical, based on the literary classic by Victor Hugo. Although there’s a press embargo until mid-December(-ish), various journalists have tweeted their reactions and reported on the crowd response at the two screenings. Pete Hammond of Deadline, however, was lucky enough to speak to both Tom Hooper and Hugh Jackman.
The article is a very good read, touching upon the exhaustion from Hooper to finish the film on time as well as Hugh’s nervousness to see the finished picture. “I was a very relieved man about 6PM last night,” he says in the piece, while reeling from his screening experience. There’s equal praise among them: Hugh commenting on Hooper’s decision to do Les Mis immediately after The King’s Speech, and Tom Hooper saying, “The movie wouldn’t exist without Hugh Jackman.” Check out a paragraph below before heading to the source for more; it’s also been added to the press archive.
“[Hugh] Jackman himself only just saw the film last night and when we spoke just a while ago he was still reeling from the experience. “I just saw it last night [in Sydney]. I was pretty speechless, I have to say. I think when I saw it in its entirety — I knew intellectually it was a big risk — but when I saw it I said, ‘Wow, man. This is massive, a big bone to chew on, that one.’ I felt so proud to be part of it. And I think for Tom to do this as his first film after King’s Speech is just an incredible kind of testament to him,” he said.
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Sometimes there’s nothing to promote: it’s just about sitting down and talking about food. Hugh Jackman recently spoke to Food & Wine about one of his favorite subjects, including the benefits of being friends with Jean-Georges, how/why he learned to cook, and what his (and Wolverine’s) last meal might look like. Read the excerpt below before heading to the source for more; it’s also been added to the press archive.
You’re on the set of the new Wolverine movie right now, so you are in hard-core training mode. What have you eaten so far today?
Today I woke up and had just water, then I did cardio, had a protein shake, hit the weights, another protein shake. Actually, you caught me on a real treat day; just now, I had dry rye toast, three poached eggs, and smoked salmon.
Will there be a celebratory meal or two in New York when training is done?
Oh yeah. I’ll be going to ABC Kitchen, Locanda Verde, Barbuto. Italian is always a great way to go off a diet. But what I really crave is the most basic stuff: Australian meat pies, breakfast cereal, hot dogs.
You’re close with chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten. What are the best fringe benefits of that?
Getting invited to his country house. It’s like living in a Food & Wine photo shoot: There’s lobster, lamb, steak, fish, salad, all done just simply. Lunch at his house was one of the best meals I’ve ever had in my life.
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Scans courtesy of Hugh Jackman Fan Site.
This is a bit delayed, but Hugh Jackman was on the cover of the Australian Women’s Weekly November issue. The article itself doesn’t cover much new ground for fans who follow him closely, but there’s some interesting insight on his marriage with Deborra-Lee (“passionate but not argumentative”) and on views regarding fatherhood (including what he’s learned from it, like “humility” along with “empathy and understanding”). There are also a couple of images in there that I believe are previously never seen.
Check out the above video of Hugh Jackman and Chris Pine introducing Rise of the Guardians, followed by a (pretty decently long) clip of the film when Jack Frost arrives at the North Pole. There’s also a Q&A with cast and crew after the scene with director Peter Ramsey, Alec Baldwin (Santa Claus, aka North), Isla Fisher (The Tooth Fairy, aka Tooth), and executive producer Guillermo del Toro. If the video doesn’t satiate you, there’s also a new article on the film with a couple of quotes from Hugh talking about Guardians — and how his kids already love the series (even if Bunnymund isn’t their favorite character):
During one of the story meetings, it was determined that Santa’s bodyguard yetis were the ones who made toys and not the elves, who are a bit flighty. And when talking with Ramsey, Jackman convinced Ramsey to let Bunnymund have a little chip on his shoulder since North gets all the attention.
The key to voicing a gruff, albeit gentle, ninja rabbit? “Always recording early in the morning — then there’s no acting required when it comes to gruffness,” says Jackman, whose 12-year-old son Oscar and 7-year-old daughter Ava are already Guardians fans.
“It’s really so fulfilling to me that they are so excited by it. They are obsessed with the movie and have been reading all the books since then. I’d like to say Bunnymund was their favorite, but I think the truth is that Sandman was their favorite and they just don’t want to hurt my feelings.”
Back when Les Misérables was filming, there were reports that photographer Annie Leibovitz was on set. Only now, for the December issue of Vogue, are we finally seeing the fruits of her labor. A slideshow entitled Dreaming a Dream: The Cast of Les Misérables shows the film’s actors in character: Hugh Jackman (Jean Valjean), Russell Crowe (Javert), Anne Hathaway (Fantine), Amanda Seyfried (Cosette), Eddie Redmayne (Marius), and the Thenardiers (Helena Bonham Carter and Sacha Baron Cohen).
On Jean Valjean: “He’s one of the great literary characters of all time; a real study of the human spirit under the worst adversity possible.”
On filming Les Mis: “The stakes were as high as they could possibly be every day. And that sort of cauldron of expectation and pressure and excitement was exhilarating.”
Anne Hathaway is on the cover of the December issue, and her feature article – Leap of Faith – goes pretty in-depth into the making of Les Mis. There are some quotes from Hugh, along with on set anecdotes — did you know Russell had sing-along parties at his apartment on Fridays? For those interested, there’s also a short video right here, which goes behind the scenes on Anne’s Vogue cover shoot, along with comments from her and Eddie on Les Mis. Check out the nice things Eddie had to say:
“One of the most extraordinary things – and complicated things – about this film was the meeting of the theater world and the film world. Hugh and Annie worked out how to combine those two worlds and were really role models, in some ways, on how to make this incredibly famous work have new life breathed into it.”