When speaking in a recent interview of his latest role as Blackbeard in the movie Pan, Hugh Jackman opened up about his life, comparing his experience with that of Peter Pan and saying how his difficult childhood affected his life.
Jackman told Parade about his painful childhood, saying that just like the character Peter Pan, his mother left him when he was a young child.
According to E!Online, Jackman said that as a young boy he was volatile and once he reached 12 or 13 years of age, his anger really surfaced. Apparently at one stage his parents were trying to reconcile and put their marriage together again, but it never happened.
“My mum left when I was 8. My anger didn’t really surface until I was 12 or 13. It was triggered because my parents were going to get reconciled and didn’t. All those years I’d been holding out hope that they would.”
Hugh Jackman went on to say that once he reached his teens, his anger hit boiling point, saying there was this “perfect storm of hormones and emotion.”
Explaining he had never spoken about it before, Jackman recalled he and his friends, head-butting the metal lockers at school until they dented them, half in fun and half in sheer teen angst.
“Like, who was the toughest and craziest?”
He went on to say that sports became one major outlet for his frustration, especially rugby.
“In playing rugby my rage would come out, rage that I identify as Wolverine rage. I’d be somewhere in a ruck in rugby, get punched in the face and I’d just go into a white rage.”
The interviewer asked Jackman where these feelings of rage were coming from and he explained that it was from the moment his mother left him. Jackman said he became a “fearful kid who felt powerless.”
The youngest of four siblings, Hugh Jackman said he was always the first one to get home after school and was frightened to go into the house on his own. He said he always waited outside feeling “scared, frustrated.”
— Gist Today (@GistToday) October 2, 2015
According to People, Jackman went on to explain how that fear affected him in his early life, saying that growing up he was scared of heights and scared of the dark, and how this always limited him.
“I hated it, and that contributed to my anger. Isn’t most anger fear-based, ultimately? It emanates from some kind of powerlessness. I was really feeling that.”
Asked how he got over his fear and anger, Jackman said that religion helped in many ways and that this ended up drawing him to the stage. As a family, they were very religious and they used to visit to various evangelists’ tents and at the age of around 13, he had a strange premonition that he was going to be onstage, just like those preachers.
In fact, he says that even now he finds being on the stage is a religious kind of experience and that he feels an “intimacy that feels natural, that’s transcendent.” Jackman went on to say that on stage he feels as intimate with the audience as he does with his wife and before he goes onstage each night, he pauses and dedicates the performance to God and that taking the stage gives him peace in his life.
While these days that era of rage and anger is over for Jackman, he did say he worries about his own children, Oscar and Eva, adopted with his wife, Deborra-Lee Furness. He wonders how they will be affected by his career decisions.
Jackman said that every movie he does, he thinks “My kids are going to see this,” and that any movie that involves adoption, he wants to ensure they don’t feel uncomfortable.
“Peter Pan is a classic tale, but now we live in a different world where we’re more sensitive about adoption. I’m completely comfortable [with Pan]. If I wasn’t, I wouldn’t have done the film.”
Hugh Jackman’s new film Pan is heading to theaters on October 9 and no doubt he will excel in the role of the evil pirate Blackbeard. Other stars sharing the screen with him include Levi Miller as Peter, Garrett Hedlund in the role of Hook, Rooney Mara as Tiger Lily, Adeel Akhtar as Sam Smiegel and Nonso Anozie as Bishop. The official trailer for Pan is included below.
[Photo: Hugh Jackman at Pan World Premier by Anthony Harvey / Getty Images Entertainment – Hugh Jackman by Adam Trafford/AFL Media / Getty Images Sport – Blackbeard the Pirate screengrab from Pan trailer]