Entertainment behind the scenes
‘Wolverine’ Hugh Jackman — declawed
“Wolverine” star Hugh Jackman has many sides. There is the movie action hero, the Broadway musical award winner and the charming Oscar host. He also hobnobs with billionaire Rupert Murdoch’s family and visits Third World countries where microfinancing projects give people hope for breaking out of poverty.
Jackman plays the main character in superhero movie “X-Men Origins: Wolverine” that opened on Friday, reprising his role as a tough mutant with claws that spring from his knuckles.
But in real life, the 40-year-old Jackman is not likely to turn anyone into mincemeat as he does in the “X-Men” movies, including the fourth and latest film in the franchise which kicks off Hollywood’s blockbuster season.
Jackman is a married family man, whose two young adopted children have playdates with Murdoch’s kids, and who himself hangs out with the media mogul’s adult son.
Of course, the “X-Men” movies that made Jackman a star are productions of Murdoch’s Twentieth Century Fox, and both men are Aussies, so there’s a kinship there.
But Jackman, who says his most expensive hobby is wine and who splits his time between New York and Australia, also has a kinship of sorts with an impoverished woman in Cambodia, after visiting the nation to see microcredit charity work in action.
“It was unbelievable to see this woman get 200 U.S. dollars in her hand, with tears running down her face and the real first chance she and her family had ever had to escape the cycle of poverty,” Jackman told Reuters in a recent interview.
The woman planned to use the money to buy a sewing machine and some supplies to start a clothing business, he said.
Jackman made the recent trip to Cambodia as an “ambassador” for charity World Vision, which has joined in the microcredit movement, offering loans to poor residents of developing countries so they can make a living and sustain themselves.
Jackman is friends with Nobel Peace Prize-winning economist Muhammad Yunus, a pioneer in the world of microcredit and author of the 1999 book “Banker to the Poor.”
Apart from his philanthropic work, Jackman enjoys skiing, kayaking in Sydney Harbour and horse riding. Like many children, his kids enjoy tearing the limbs off the “X-Men” toy figurines that have become popular in recent years.
“Somehow, it’s saving me therapy bills for my kids down the road,” Jackman joked.
Although some reviewers have taken their shots at “X-Men Origins: Wolverine,” indications are that it will post strong box office numbers this weekend. Online ticket seller Fandango.com reported on Friday that the firm accounts for 81 percent of its ticket sales, and that it appeals to both men and women. In a survey of moviegoers planning to see the film, 48 percent were female, and 72 percent of all respondents said Jackman’s starring role was the major reason to see “Wolverine.”