Hugh Jackman Opens Up on Academy Awards Nerves, Nominated Role

By ABC News

Feb 14, 2013 7:38am
gty hugh jackman ll 130213 wblog Hugh Jackman Opens Up on Academy Awards Nerves, Nominated Role

Johannes Eisele/AFP/Getty Images

ABC News’ Kelly Hagan reports:

The movie industry’s most prestigious night is fast approaching, and for Academy Award-nominated actor Hugh Jackman, Feb. 24 is very much on his mind.

“Good Morning America” co-anchor Lara Spencer caught up with Jackman in Atlanta, where he’s filming a new movie, and the Hollywood A-lister talked about his awards season nerves.

Nominated for his role as Jean Valjean in the musical drama “Les Miserables,” Jackman is one of the most talked-about actors of the season.

He’s already been recognized for the role with a Golden Globe award for best actor in a musical or comedy category, he has an Oscar nomination for best actor for the same portrayal.

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“I feel such gratitude to be part of this,” he told Spencer, speaking of the movie, and added that the character of Jean Valjean was “a hard one to leave.

” I really love playing that character,” he said. “Getting to play him is something I’ll never forget.”

Part of the preparation for that role included tough physical training of up to three hours per day.

“The beginning bit was horrible because in the very beginning as Jean Valjean, he’s a prisoner. It was extremely arduous.  And so I lost probably 30 -  I think probably 25 pounds I lost in the three months before, and my trainer, who’s just a crazy guy, goes, ‘Man, if you really want to go for it, if you don’t drink any water, any liquids whatsoever for 36 hours before that first day of shooting, you’re going to lose all this water weight,’” Jackman recalled.

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“Do not try this at home.  Nobody,” he added. “This is not an infomercial for some crazy diet.  Trust me, you’ll have a massive headache and you’ll be very, very grumpy … .”

For the later parts of the movie, where his character his heavier, Jackman switched to a diet of two entrees and two appetizers at ever meal, chips and Guiness to regain the weight.

The live singing Jackman — and his co-stars — did for the movie also brought its own regimen that was grueling even for Jackman, who is a seasoned vocalist.

For him, the vocal preparation included swimming.

“Swimming is one of the great ways to warm up your voice,” he said. “And then when I’d get to set we’d go and rehearse, do makeup.  And while they were lighting we’d go and do a 40-minute warm-up singing lesson.  And then you had to keep warming up all through the day.”

“This was not a party set, let me tell you,” he said, before adding jokingly, “even though Russell Crowe was in the cast. And he did have a few parties.”

This year Jackman is an Academy Awards nominee, but he has hosted the event.

“I love the Oscars,” he said. “I’ve always loved it from a kid.  Hosting it, I loved it.  I love somehow the pageantry of it.  I love the, you know, the spontaneity of it and the show of it.  I really enjoy it. So the great thing about being a nominee is that you get a pretty good seat I am figuring … if I’m up in the mezzanine there’s a very good chance I won’t be winning.”

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Asked what advice he’d give to this year’s host, Seth McFarlane, Jackman replied: “I’ve got to be honest with you. Having hosted the Oscars, being a nominee? Walk in the park.”

Jackman has been married to actress Deborra-Lee Furness for 16 years, and they have two children. Family is a priority for Jackman, and he said he learned that from his own father, whom he called “the closest living example I know to Jean Valjean.”

Valjean is the fictional protagonist of the classic novel “Les Miserables,” by Victor Hugo.

“The one thing he constantly reminds me about — enjoy the celebration and … all of that.  But at the end of the day make sure your family are okay. Make sure the people around you are okay.  And just make sure you are doing the right thing inside,” Jackman said, speaking of his father’s advice.

 

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