Saturday, 31 May 2008

How Hugh said no to soap on a rope


Hugh Jackman thanks his lucky stars he never took a job on Neighbours 15 years ago. "It would have been detrimental to my career as an actor," Jackman admitted to PS yesterday, fresh from the hair and make-up chair on the set of his new action sci-fi thriller Wolverine.

Jackman hosted the 21st birthday party last night for the Actors Centre Australia in Surry Hills, one of the few self-funded acting schools in the country. "After I studied communications and listened to my journalism teacher, Wendy Bacon, talk about doing death knocks I was somewhat disillusioned about becoming a reporter … I had always thought about acting … I auditioned for ACA and got in, but it was going to cost me $3500, which I didn't have … but my grandmother had just passed away and left me the exact amount of $3500 … I took it as a sign from Nan."

These days Jackman commands multimillion-dollar pay cheques, but admits that studying for one year at the actors centre "ignited the passion for acting" within him. Jackman was offered a role on Neighbours after graduation in 1992 , but opted to continue studying his craft at the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts in Perth.

"While I would have learned a lot about handling press and camera technique on Neighbours,
I kept asking myself would it help me audition for the Royal Shakespeare Company or the STC … and I had to admit it probably wouldn't."

Jackman said he and his family, fellow thespian and wife Deborra-Lee Furness and kids Oscar and Aida, will happily remain in Sydney until the end of the year, with work on Baz Luhrmann's epic Australia continuing for some time before its release in November.

"I have never seen such dedication and so much attention to detail working a film. It has been the best experience of my acting life so far," said Jackman, who plays Nicole Kidman's cattle-droving love interest.

As for Kidman: "She's a phenomenal actress … kissing her was the easiest part."

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