INTERVIEW Hugh Jackman, “The Son”: “This movie changed me as a father! I realized how wrong it was to think I should always look strong”

“The Son” is part of the same series as the Oscar-winning 2020 film “The Father,” based on the play by Florian Zeller, who also directed the film adaptation. Hugh Jackman stars in the drama alongside Laura Dern and Anthony Hopkins. The film explores themes of childhood trauma, upbringing and depression.

Jackman is best known for his role as Wolverine in the X-Men film series, but the Australian actor doesn’t have much in common with the clawed Canadian mutant. In an interview with Q magazine he said the role has always been a tough one, despite having played Wolverine in nine films.

“You only have to know me for three seconds and you can tell I’m very different from that character.”

Over the course of his career, the famous actor has won some of the biggest awards, including a Golden Globe for Les Misérables, an Emmy, a Grammy and a Tony. He has just one Oscar left to win.

The Son had its world premiere at the 79th Venice International Film Festival.

Our colleague Loredana Salanță managed to get an interview with the famous actor for RoyalsBlue.ro, where Hugh Jackman tells us about the adventure in the film The Son that changed his vision of being a father.

“I thought my job as a father was to be a strong son at all costs”

Reporter: They say you practically begged Florian Zeller to give you that father role in The Son. For what reasons?

Hugh Jackman: I don’t remember feeling this passionate about a role in the past. Right from the beginning, I felt a kind of fever all over my body when I thought about this project. I hadn’t had a chance to see the play, but I loved this story of a father who finds his life turned upside down with the return to everyday life of his severely depressed first child from a previous relationship.

For this I immediately contacted Florian who was kind enough to give me a few minutes via videoconference because we were in the middle of a pandemic. He hadn’t planned at this first meeting to make the choice, but I was so insistent that I wanted to be in this film that he felt compelled to hire me! (smiles).

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Even though this play originally took place in France, the story was so moving that it might as well take place in New York. Being a father myself made this role resonate so much with me.

R: In this video we can see you moving your hips. Is dancing still an important part of your daily life?

Hugh Jackman in The Son
Hugh Jackman in The Son

Hugh Jackman: I admit it’s still a little embarrassing because, in the script, I had to dance like a slightly ridiculous father. Then I asked my 17-year-old daughter if she could show me some gestures and moves that might actually make me look ridiculous during this dance scene, but to my surprise, my daughter dared to reply, “Dad, you don’t need me to show you anything. You really don’t need to practice. If you are yourself when you dance, you will naturally look ridiculous for this scene! (laughs) Just ask to turn on the lights and move to the front of the room!”

The Son – Son is also above all a love story.

This film teaches us how difficult it is to raise a child, but also that sometimes love may not be enough to solve a person’s problems. To me, loving someone doesn’t automatically make that person happy. There are many things to consider. You know, love comes in so many different forms, love can be expressed in a friendly way, in family… and all characteristics are needed to truly love a person. There are so many people who influence us, who guide us along the way.

R: This film also deals with depression, and illness in general. Why is this such an important topic for you?

Hugh Jackman: This is a subject that interests me as a father. This is something we don’t have to talk about, we have to understand and we have to be united. We all want to be sort of teachers to our children, and this film really shows us how isolated people are especially when it comes to mental health issues. It’s kind of a shame and kind of a guilt trip.

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As a father, I always have this deep desire to fix things. I feel like that’s one of my duties as a parent. Recognizing our vulnerability leads to being able to truly understand and empathize with those people around us.

R: What kind of father are you?

Hugh Jackman: This movie changed me as a father! I realized how wrong it was to think I should always look strong, confident and never worried. I thought my job as a father was to be strong at all costs, but I discovered how important it is to share my anxieties, my concerns, my vulnerabilities with my children who are 17 and 22.

I realize now, that they feel a kind of relief when I don’t pretend to be someone I’m not and when I stop hiding my weaknesses.

R: Do you have any regrets as a father?

Hugh Jackman: I wish someone had told me I was going to make as many mistakes as good decisions. I’m sure I’m acting like every parent who’s terrified of what their kids have to deal with almost daily.

Is this the right decision to make? Should I behave this way or differently with a child? Am I being too harsh? I think it’s all so terrifying and beautiful and disturbing sometimes. I can tell you that in this film I had the most humble role I’ve ever played.

I personally can’t exactly relate to this story, but in a way we can all relate to some of these decisions, even if they’re not as dramatic as this one in The Son.

Because of this movie I really learned a lot as a father!

The actor was filming “The Son” when he lost his own father to complications from COVID-19. He said that it was filming at that time that helped him heal and heal more easily from that deep grief.

“When I filmed that very emotional scene, I remember thinking I must have the emotional support of everyone on the crew,” he said.

“Often in the past, when I had a very emotional scene, I would go into my own world. And then I said to myself: Oh, no, I need to heal, I need the crew, the camera, the sound, the people, everybody. I felt my father’s presence and that helped me,” according to CBSnews.com.

Hugh Jackman’s performance in “The Son” earned him a Golden Globe nomination for Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Drama.

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