He's one of the biggest stars in Hollywood, but Square Meal
�nds a modest family man in Hugh Jackman
WORDS ELAINE LIPWORTH GUY
e's the iconic, adamantium-clawed Wolverine, the
Oscar-nominated Jean Valjean, the proli�c Hollywood
actor with any number of memorable parts in a slew of
hits. But there's one role Hugh Jackman's legions of fans
are unlikely to have seen him play: the one where he's a
"Gordon Ramsay-type of chef who loses his temper all
the time". This culinary saga is strictly reserved for the family home
in New York, where he and his wife, Australian actress Deborra-Lee
Furness, keep son Oscar, 15, and 10-year-old daughter Ava enthralled
with energetic bedtime stories of their own invention.
And Ava has several supporting roles. "She plays various ingredients
of recipes I create," laughs Jackman, who turns 47 this month. "My
daughter makes me tell a made-up story every night - either
my reading skills are really bad or she just prefers mine.
"We tell a series that we call Oompa Loompa Stories with
funny, crazy characters, which often ends up in a wrestling
match. My son liked our stories for a long period of time,
but he's now 15 and is more interested in watching Will Ferrell
movies with me." Having conquered stage and screen, perhaps
it's the children's literary world next? "I hadn't thought it,
It's early on a balmy Saturday morning and I am meeting Jackman
in a bland Beverly Hills hotel. The sopori�c atmosphere livens up
considerably when the charismatic Australian makes his entrance.
He is promoting his latest role as a ruthless pirate called
Blackbeard in Pan, a Peter Pan origins story from acclaimed British
director Joe Wright. For this part, gone are the matinee idols looks
- Jackman is unrecognisable as the bald, menacing and deliciously
despicable villain. This morning though, wearing a crisp, grey
Burberry suit, he's dapper as ever. "I always wear suits. Even at
weekends. I get a lot of style advice from my wife," he smiles.
"Happy wife - happy life. Deb is always right!"
MR NICE GUY
I have interviewed the actor several times over the years, once on
Cockatoo Island in Sydney Harbour at 3am, during the �lming of
Wolverine. Even at that unearthly hour he was courteous, interesting
and energetic. In my experience, Jackman ranks as one of the
friendliest actors in Hollywood. Perhaps his daily Transcendental
though he credits a
good upbringing. Is he
always this amiable?
"No, no! I am not
nice all the time," he
"No-one is. My wife
will make fun of me,
she calls me Senator Jackman. She's like, 'Do you really have to know
the name of every waiter?' But I always saw my parents being
respectful to everyone they met. And I was a waiter for years, so
I know what it is like when people are dismissing you."
But today, Jackman is a Hollywood dream. Proli�c and diverse, he
is an integral part of the globally successful X-Men franchise, sang and
40 | squaremeal.co.uk FAMILY
"I never even went into
a hotel until I was 20. To
this day I jump up and
down on the bed!"
PHOTO: WARWICK SAINT / AUGUST