With Hugh Jackman’s robot boxing movie Real Steel dominating the box office two weekends in a row, it’s fairly safe to assume Jackman really is the most loved man in Hollywood. Even if his character in the movie is a jerk for most of it, the audience can’t seem to get enough of him. As the film heads into its third weekend, and goes up against heavy hitters The Three Musketeers and Paranormal Activity 3, we think Hugh’s likability can carry the film into the top spot once again. Guess we’ll find out next week if we’re right. In the meantime, check out our Q&A with Jackman below.
Brian McKechnie: You trained with Sugar Ray Leonard for Real Steel. How was it like working with such a legend?
Hugh Jackman: It was a huge thrill. I’m a sports nut and was completely star struck to meet him. I promoted Real Steel at the Super Bowl this year and we went through the area with the journalists and they all turned to jelly when Sugar Ray walked through. There’s something about him. Not only was he a champ, but he still looks like he was never hit once. And he was so generous. The only time I saw that hard-nosed [attitude] was when he was leaving and said ‘Man, my name is on this movie. Don’t make me look bad!’ And he gave me this stare.
BM: What was it like working with a child actor who didn’t have much experience?
HJ: In all honesty, I would work with Dakota [Goyo] in every movie I do. The kid is unbelievable and he’s a great actor. The camera loves him and he never annoyed me once. The kid is 11. I have an 11-year-old, they’re annoying! It was really amazing to me. This kid is very unlike Hollywood kid actors. I have seen the cliched kid actor and it frightens me. It’s a grown up world, the movies, and there is a lot of pressure. Especially on a big movie like this. This kid had to dance in front of 5,000 people and he handled it so well.
BM: Being Wolverine and all, do you your kids think you’re a pretty cool dad?
HJ: It’s very interesting. They love this movie. This is the first time I’ve shown one of my movies to them. It’s very exciting for me and they both loved it. They loved the robots and I think secretly they liked seeing me allow the kid to drink as many sodas as he wanted. But they don’t ever really talk to me about being an actor. I heard my son once say to a girl ‘You know, my dad’s Wolverine.’ But really they just want me to be their dad and not a famous actor.
BM: Did you worry playing a deadbeat jerk would hurt your nice guy reputation?
HJ: For the movie to work it was a gamble how far we took [my character]. I was fully prepared and expected to do some re-shooting. It’s a DreamWorks movie being distributed around the world by Disney and my character sells his kid in the first 10 minutes. How far can you go and still have the audience root for him? If you go too far you’ll just turn everyone off and they’ll never care and then the movie’s dead. Both [director Shawn Levy] and I were very nervous when the studio first screened the film.
BM: What do you think makes you so likable to the audience?
HJ: I was brought up in a way that when you’re at a dinner party you don’t grab a chip until you’ve asked everyone else. That was the manners I was brought up with. The idea of coming in and being rude I just feel like I’ll get a clip over the ear every five seconds. For me, and the way I want my kids to act in the world, is to just be respectful to other people and think of what other people are going through and to not just think of yourself.
BM: How do you balance your crazy schedule?
HJ: To me the secret to modern life is time management. I have two kids and I don’t think my life is any different than most modern day couples. The most valuable commodity is time and how to parcel that out. Twenty years ago I started meditating and I still meditate every day. I know that twice a day I can let everything drop and be quiet. It allows me to have clearer, better energy.
BM: What’s your dream role?
HJ: It’s going to sound like a plug for my next movie, but a movie musical is what I’ve always wanted to do and I’m doing the Les Misérables movie. I’ve done a lot of musicals and I’ve done a lot of movies and I know there’s not a lot of people in Hollywood who have been down those two paths. Every year they keep coming out and I’m like ‘Why are these not coming my way? Have I annoyed someone?’ So playing Jean Valjean in Les Mis is a great thrill.
Real Steel is currently in theatres. Check out a making-of featurette below.
Top image: Hugh Jackman at the afterparty for the Toronto premiere of DreamWorks Pictures’ action drama “Real Steel”. ©DreamWorks II Distribution Co. LLC. All Rights Reserved.