‘Wolverine’ his favorite role, Hugh Jackman says

Whether performing on a Broadway stage, singing in a movie musical, or hosting the Oscars, Hugh Jackman approaches them all with equal intensity.

Yet, when he dons Adamantium bone claws in “The Wolverine,” the 44-year old actor admits that something magical happens.

“It may be the strongest of all the roles I’ve played,” Jackman says of the “X-Men” antihero.

When the Australian actor was interviewed before the opening of “The Wolverine,” he honored the icon comic book character with appropriately trimmed facial hair showing off Logan’s signature muttonchops.

And why not? It’s the role that launched his career in the first “X-Men” film. He’s played the character six times already, and is currently shooting a seventh installment due in 2014.

“There’s four or five roles that end up being the foundation of your entire career. There’s no doubt to me that this (“The Wolverine”) is one of them.”

As a fan of the comic book series, Jackman says this one was important for him.

“I wanted to make (this movie) for 13 years when I first read that samurai story,” the actor said. “I just think seeing this character in that world, juxtaposed with Japan in every way, I thought it was perfect and to see him battle with his powers, which really gives him an almost immortality.”

While there’s immortality to Logan, the operative word for the man who plays him is versatility. Jackman seems every bit as comfortable in an action film as he does in a Broadway musical. It’s an adaptability he attributes to a bygone era.

“I’m more of kind of a throwback kind of actor. This is how all actors had to make a living 40, 50 years ago,” Jackman said. “When Clint Eastwood was under (studio) contract … he would do musicals, he would do cowboy dramas.

Jackman credits his training back home for preparing him for a wide range of roles. But he also acknowledges the core intent had more to do with survival.

“The nature of acting in Australia is you need to be up for everything. If you want to make a living, if you want to pay the rent, you’ve got to be able to do everything. There’s only 10 movies made a year so that’s natural to me,” he said.

Part of Jackman’s fascination with the Logan character lies in the duality between the human and the animal. The actor says the key is to balance the chaotic and controlled emotions within him.

“On one level you can say I’m playing a guy with weird hair and claws coming out of his hands, but actually he’s incredibly human and a great sort of anti-hero and tragic figure,” Jackman said.

“That’s why he’s eternally fascinating to me and that’s why I keep coming back.”

Last year, Jackman starred in the film adaptation of “Les Miserables” as the iconic Jean Valjean, picking up a Golden Globe win and an Oscar nomination for his effort.

In between, he’s been working on the original Broadway musical, “Houdini,” when he puts on the cape as the legendary illusionist. That show hits Broadway in the spring of 2014.

“I’ve never originated in a musical before, so I’m thrilled,” the Tony-winning actor said.

The talk of his stage and screen work makes his face light up, because as he puts it: “I’ve been blessed with opportunities that I could never have imagined.”

And he acknowledges that the necessary “grounding” for his career to thrive comes from a strong family bond. It’s something he felt was missing early on.

“I didn’t grow up with a particularly stable family life and trying to create that … is a priority for me and for my wife,” Jackman said of Deborra-Lee Furness, his spouse of 17 years.

“Your family is there forever. At the end of the day when you’re on your deathbed, your family is sticking by you. You’re not going to be filled with DVDs of movies that you’ve done,” he said. “So that’s the most important thing.”

“The Wolverine”

The movie opens today at . See Page XX in A&E section for a review of the movie.

More in Life

How did 300 feathers get stuck in that old utility pole?

Artful adornment in Everett is the creation of a retired Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer.

‘Found’: Author and climber a 20-year veteran of mountain rescue

In her second book, Bree Loewen shares her experiences of volunteering with Seattle Mountain Rescue.

Herb Alpert aims to uplift the world in two recent albums

The Tijuana Brass bandleader releases a Christmas record and an album of covers.

Slick new V6 engine, safety updates boost Nissan Pathfinder

The SUV’s extensive redesign boosts towing capacity and adds driver assistance technology.

Prioritizing permanence and putting down roots

Adapted from a recent online discussion. Dear Carolyn: I’m at a loss… Continue reading

Foo Fighters bounce back with new album ‘Concrete and Gold’

Foo Fighters, “Concrete and Gold”: Can you hate the Foo Fighters? Not… Continue reading

Taking a service dog on the trail

Tenley Lozano hikes with her service dog, Elu. They have section-hiked the… Continue reading

‘Fixer Upper’ couple say they’re ending popular HGTV show

Chip and Joanna Gaines says season beginning in November will be the last one.

How to shop in the street markets of France

It’s the best way to connect with the nation’s farmers and artisans.

Most Read