When I was invited to a screening of Real Steel and a chance to interview and meet the real Hugh Jackman (his Twitter handle is @RealHughJackman and he apparently tweets from that account himself!) this week, I was elated. I have been a fan for a long time when I first saw him in the movie Kate & Leopold and have been following his career ever since, from Australia to The Prestige to Wolverine. Of course, as the Culture Mom, I have always been keenly interested in his theater career and have often knocked myself on the head for not seeing The Boy From Oz and A Steady Rain. But that is about to change as I plan to see his next jaunt on Broadway in Hugh Jackman: Back in Broadway (which starts on October 25th).
His newest film Real Steel opens on October 7 and is set in a future world of robot boxing. It is set in the near future where all human sport fighting is illegal and robot boxing has replaced boxing and mixed martial arts. It follows down-on-his-luck robot boxing trainer Charlie Kenton, played by Jackman, who loses one fight too many, owes a few pennies to a long line of promoters, neglects his mechanic lady friend (played by Evangeline Lily) and unexpectedly gains temporary custody of his estranged, no-nonsense son Max (played by Dakota Goyo) rounding a busy life juggling work and children. I couldn’t make the screening but I plan to see it soon, and I’ll be taking my real-life son, also named Max.
Today as I walked to the New Amstersdam Theater, the home of my daughter’s first Broadway show, Mary Poppins, I felt as though I had won the lottery. I have loved Hugh Jackman’s appearances on the Tony Awards, David Letterman, Saturday Night Live, Oprah Winfrey and I couldn’t wait to see what this Aussie was like in real life.
He was real. More than real. He was running late after dropping his own kids off (at public school, interestingly enough) and had to run to a taping of Rachel Ray after our interview, to rehearse his show and then return back to pick up his kids at the end of the day. Sounds like the typical day of a parent, right? He said for a parent, it’s “miraculous for any of us to get anywhere on time.” I woulld agree with that.
Joining about 15 other bloggers, we talked about his family, he talked about balance. He said that even though he is home more than most dads, it’s hard being away from his family and his son is constantly concerned about how long he’ll be gone for. Right now they’re all in NYC while he’s performing on Broadway. He tries to film movies during summer vacations and is so happy to be grounded. He clearly loves NYC and is considering staying long-term.
Jackman talked about how his family has a joint calendar so they know what everyone is doing and they give the kids an extra half-hour to do things in the morning so they’re not rushed. I think I can take a lesson or two from his parenting style! He and his wife keep in constant touch with the teachers at their school and are pro-active in what their children learn.
Jackman also talked about how one of the mistakes a mom makes is that we let a child say they can’t do something, but they can. Another mantra for any parent.
We found out his favorite vacation spot is Turks & Caicos, which every mom in the room seemed to agree with. He feels very safe with there with his children, even when they’re out of his sight.
Jackman is really proud of Real Steel. I really want my son to see it. He’s into boxing and robots, he’ll be very into this film. This is the first movie that Hugh has made with his son in mind, one that he wanted him to see and thought of while he was filming. He compared the film to “E.T.”, because it’s a film that appeals to everyone and one that he has remembered since he was a small boy seeing it with his dad. He talked about the magic of film, he clearly loves it.
One last thing I guess I should add: he is as good looking as he appears on screen – EVEN BETTER.
I was invited by the fabulous gals at Moms And The City. Here is a clip from a video that they made at the event. I video’ed, too, but the quality isn’t quite up to par. I’ll get my clips up on You Tube later. For now, here is a taste of the interview:
Real Steel opens this Friday in a theater near you.