Hugh Jackman: Wolverine has not eclipsed my career- I could still play any character

Hugh Jackman speaks to Stephen Applebaum about the secrets to a long showbiz marriage, and why he still feels guilty about money

Do you find it frustrating when people say Wolverine has overshadowed your career given your range of work on stage and screen?

“Not really, because if I want to play a certain character I could. But I'm surprised pretty much by everything that has happened in my career.

“I was hoping to pay the rent as an actor one day and before I was an actor I was acting at the amateur musical society. I never thought I would make a career out of it. So if it stopped tomorrow I would probably go back to the amateur musical society.

“I'm someone who always tries to remember how lucky he is. And even if it's only Wolverine, it's pretty good.”

Were you worried when reports came out claiming you were being offered huge sums to do four more Wolverine films?

“Yeah, because obviously it is bull***t. It was the National Enquirer. I couldn't believe anyone picked that up. Apart from the first movie, for which I had to sign a two-picture deal, I've never done more than one at a time.

“And now what happens is the IRS and every taxation company goes, “Hang on, you didn't declare $100 million. So where are you hiding it?”

You recently received some lifetime achievement awards, are you still looking forward rather than back?

“Sometimes I say to my wife that maybe they're giving them to me as in, 'Please stop. That's enough of your lifetime. If we give you this, will you just go away?'

“I haven't told anyone this before but when I was auditioning I had this superstition that you can't ever repeat a monologue that you've done, because I was afraid that I would just do it as I always did it.

“It's tempting, sometimes, to fall back on the things you know you can do or the things you know have been successful, but you've got to keep trying to do different things and risk failing. Hey, look at Movie 43.”

I'd rather not

“Or don't [laughs]. I ran into one of the producers a little while ago and he said, 'Mate, I've got two things to say. I'm sorry. And, I'm sorry.'”

It was just a day of your life

“It was two days. With Kate Winslet with balls hanging from her neck. It wasn't that bad.”

Your Prisoners character, Keller Dover, is a pretty tormented guy. Was he tough to play?

“I don't stay in character but I can't say I was fully relaxed at the end of a day. It's a weird thing. Acting is like the greatest privilege: you get to inhabit lives and you get to touch real emotions, and at the end of the day you're calm, like you've had a great bath.”

He's driven mad by his daughter's abduction. Did having kids yourself mean you were able to go deeper into the character?

“Probably. I always like to think as an actor, arrogantly, that you can play anything. But just reading the script, I felt it in the pit of my stomach.”

You have said you're not materialistic. What do you do with your money?

“My wife has taught me a lot about money. We didn't have any when we first met. I was at the Royal National Theatre earning £375 a week and we were as happy as we are now.

“Money doesn't make you happy, and I know that. And sometimes I get embarrassed by it and sometimes I feel burdened by it.

“My wife's line is, 'You've got the wrong attitude about money. Money is energy and there's no point trying to save energy. You use it and you give it away.”

You have been married a long time for a showbiz couple. What is the secret?

“I'm almost positive 80 per cent of it is finding the right person. And when you're lucky enough to meet the right person you just know it 100 per cent.

“Like all couples there's strains and there's compromises, but she's honestly the greatest thing that ever happened to me.”

Finally, you've been working with the original X-Men director Bryan Singer on X-Men: Days of Future Past. Is it different playing Wolverine with him than it is with, say, James Mangold, who directed The Wolverine?

“It's always special for me working with Bryan on this character. He gave me that break, he gave me that character, and I can't believe, 14 years later, we're working on it again.

“He's a great friend, and he's a very smart man. I can tell you right now, he has made a great movie. I don't know if it's going to surprise people but I think people are really going to like it.”

Prisoners is released on DVD on February 3

Arts and Entertainment
Richard E Grant as Simon Bricker and Elizabeth McGovern as Cora, Countess of Grantham
Downton

Arts and Entertainment
Lynda Bellingham stars in her last Oxo advert with on-screen husband Michael Redfern

tv
Arts and Entertainment
Hunger Games actress Jena Malone has been rumoured to be playing a female Robin in Batman v Superman

film
Arts and Entertainment
Clara takes the lead in 'Flatline' while the Doctor remains in the Tardis
tvReview: The 'Impossible Girl' earns some companion stripes... but she’s still annoying in 'Dr Who, Flatline'
Arts and Entertainment
Joy Division photographed around Waterloo Road, Stockport, near Strawberry Studios. The band are Bernard Sumner (guitar and keyboards), Stephen Morris (drums and percussion), Ian Curtis (vocals and occasional guitar), Peter Hook (bass guitar and backing vocals).
books
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
X Factor contestant Fleur East
tvReview: Some lacklustre performances - but the usual frontrunners continue to excel
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Tuttle's installation in the Turbine Hall at the Tate Modern
artAs two major London galleries put textiles in the spotlight, the poor relation of the creative world is getting recognition it deserves
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Hunger Games actress Jena Malone has been rumoured to be playing a female Robin in Batman v Superman
film
Arts and Entertainment
On top of the world: Actress Cate Blanchett and author Richard Flanagan
artsRichard Flanagan's Man Booker win has put paid to the myth that antipodean artists lack culture
Arts and Entertainment
The Everyman, revamped by Haworth Tompkins
architectureIt beats strong shortlist that included the Shard, the Library of Birmingham, and the London Aquatics Centre
Arts and Entertainment
Justice is served: Robert Downey Jr, Vincent D’Onofrio, Jeremy Strong and Robert Duvall in ‘The Judge’

Film

Arts and Entertainment
Clive Owen (centre) in 'The Knick'

TV

Arts and Entertainment
J.K. Simmons , left, and Miles Teller in a scene from

Film

Arts and Entertainment
Team Tenacity pitch their fetching solar powered, mobile phone charging, heated, flashy jacket
tvReview: No one was safe as Lord Sugar shook things up
News
Owen said he finds films boring but Tom Hanks managed to hold his attention in Forrest Gump
arts
Arts and Entertainment
Bono and Apple CEO Tim Cook announced U2's surprise new album at the iPhone 6 launch
Music Album is set to enter UK top 40 at lowest chart position in 30 years
Arts and Entertainment
The Michael McIntyre Chat Show airs its first episode on Monday 10 March 2014
Comedy
Arts and Entertainment

Review

These heroes in a half shell should have been left in hibernation
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Flanagan with his novel, The Narrow Road to the Deep North
books'The Narrow Road to the Deep North' sees the writer become the third Australian to win the accolade
Arts and Entertainment
New diva of drama: Kristin Scott Thomas as Electra
theatre
Arts and Entertainment
TV
Arts and Entertainment
Daenerys Targaryen, played by Emilia Clarke, faces new problems

Sek, k'athjilari! (That’s “yes, definitely” to non-native speakers).

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Polly Morgan

art
Arts and Entertainment
The kid: (from left) Oona, Geraldine, Charlie and Eugene Chaplin

film
Arts and Entertainment
The Banksy image in Folkestone before it was vandalised

art
Arts and Entertainment

Review: Series 5, episode 4 Downton Abbey
Arts and Entertainment

Music
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Oscar Pistorius sentencing: The athlete's wealth and notoriety have provoked a long overdue debate on South African prisons

    'They poured water on, then electrified me...'

    If Oscar Pistorius is sent to jail, his experience will not be that of other inmates
    James Wharton: The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

    The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

    Life after the Army has brought new battles for the LGBT activist James Wharton
    Ebola in the US: Panic over the virus threatens to infect President Obama's midterms

    Panic over Ebola threatens to infect the midterms

    Just one person has died, yet November's elections may be affected by what Republicans call 'Obama's Katrina', says Rupert Cornwell
    Premier League coaches join the RSC to swap the tricks of their trades

    Darling, you were fabulous! But offside...

    Premier League coaches are joining the RSC to learn acting skills, and in turn they will teach its actors to play football. Nick Clark finds out why
    How to dress with authority: Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear

    How to dress with authority

    Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear
    New book on Joy Division's Ian Curtis sheds new light on the life of the late singer

    New book on Ian Curtis sheds fresh light on the life of the late singer

    'Joy Division were making art... Ian was for real' says author Jon Savage
    Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

    Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

    The Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Barbra Streisand is his true inspiration
    Tim Minchin, interview: The musician, comedian and world's favourite ginger is on scorching form

    Tim Minchin interview

    For a no-holds-barred comedian who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, he is surprisingly gentle in person
    Boris Johnson's boozing won't win the puritan vote

    Boris's boozing won't win the puritan vote

    Many of us Brits still disapprove of conspicuous consumption – it's the way we were raised, says DJ Taylor
    Ash frontman Tim Wheeler reveals how he came to terms with his father's dementia

    Tim Wheeler: Alzheimer's, memories and my dad

    Wheeler's dad suffered from Alzheimer's for three years. When he died, there was only one way the Ash frontman knew how to respond: with a heartfelt solo album
    Hugh Bonneville & Peter James: 'Peter loves his classic cars; I've always pootled along fine with a Mini Metro. I think I lack his panache'

    How We Met: Hugh Bonneville & Peter James

    'Peter loves his classic cars; I've always pootled along fine with a Mini Metro. I think I lack his panache'
    Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's heavenly crab dishes don't need hours of preparation

    Bill Granger's heavenly crab recipes

    Scared off by the strain of shelling a crab? Let a fishmonger do the hard work so you can focus on getting the flavours right
    Radamel Falcao: How faith and love drive the Colombian to glory

    Radamel Falcao: How faith and love drive the Colombian to glory

    After a remarkable conversion from reckless defender to prolific striker, Monaco's ace says he wants to make his loan deal at Old Trafford permanent
    Terry Venables: Premier League managers must not be allowed to dictate who plays and who does not play for England

    Terry Venables column

    Premier League managers must not be allowed to dictate who plays and who does not play for England
    The Inside Word: Brendan Rodgers looks to the future while Roy Hodgson is ghost of seasons past

    Michael Calvin's Inside Word

    Brendan Rodgers looks to the future while Roy Hodgson is ghost of seasons past