Hugh Jackman relives the abandonment he suffered as a child

Long before Anthony Hopkins became the oldest actor to win a best actor Oscar for The fatherwhen the director of that successful film, the Frenchman Florián Zeller, was one of the most revered playwrights of the moment, Hugh Jackman had been following in his footsteps for a long time. He had seen the play on which the film was based, which so well depicts the confusion of a man falling into the clutches of senile dementia, and had once been about to act in one of his many plays. But when he read The son, another work of his that recounted a father’s struggle with his teenage son’s deep depression, was so shocked that he did not hesitate to write Zeller an email. “I don’t know if he is dancing with someone else. I’m not the type to interrupt a dance, but if you’re not, I’d love to play the part and talk to you about that possibility.” The playwright and director was surprised, and agreed to a meeting via Zoom in the middle of the pandemic. When she spoke to him, it took her eight minutes to realize that Jackman should be the lead in him. “I felt like there was something very strong about his reason for connecting to the story, and it seemed like he was willing to do exactly what I needed to do,” he said. What he did not imagine the actor who has become synonymous with Wolverine is that the experience of shooting the film would be so exhausting.

In the story, his character is a New York lawyer who has just fathered a baby with his new wife (Vanessa Kirby), and who between diapers and bottles must attend to Peter, a son from a previous marriage (Zen McGrath). , who in a depressive crisis accuses his father of having ruined his life when he decided to separate from his mother (Laura Dern). To support the morale of the cast members, the film’s producers hired a team of psychiatrists, who remained on the set to support the actors. In an interview with the BBC, Jackman confessed: “It was the first time I saw anything like that on film. People used it and it was really necessary.”

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Oscar nominee for The Miserables revealed that the experience had helped her to start therapy to control the anxiety that had caused her to return to acting after the pandemic and to try to resolve certain traumas that had remained from her childhood. It’s that when he was eight years old, his parents divorced, and his mother returned to her native England with the couple’s daughters, Zoe and Sonya, leaving Hugh and his brothers Ian and Ralph to care for their father in Sydney. In an interview with the Australian magazine quien published in 2018, Jackman had recalled the incident: “It was traumatic. I thought she was coming back. But that trip was postponed time and time again. When he was 12 or 13 years old, he understood that his mother, who visited them once a year, would stay in England forever.

Although over the years he managed to re-establish the relationship, Jackman was able to understand as he read The son, the feeling of abandonment of the character that McGrath would later play: “It was as if I felt a fire inside me. What’s more, the desire to play this character was a true compulsion. It’s such a chilling and beautiful feeling that you rarely feel as an actor. You know that this role is perfect for you at that moment in your life and that you have to do it. The problem is that they may not give it to you”.

Hugh Jackman, Laura Dern and Zen McGrath, in ‘The Son

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Although the film’s reception at the Venice festival wasn’t the best, Jackman’s recent Golden Globe nomination for Best Actor in a Drama for that role seems to have justified the effort, as the odds of him being rewarded with an Oscar nomination increase every day. A curiosity that the film has is the scene that Jackman and Hopkins share, in which the Oscar winner plays a father who does not hesitate to tell his adult son the most devastating phrases: “Hopkins is a titan for me. He is one of those actors that I have looked up to for many years,” praised Jackman.

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Hugh Jackman relives the abandonment he suffered as a child

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