Hugh Jackman Embraces “Vulnerability” for Jean Valjean

“[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.”