Hugh Jackman, uno de los actores más codiciados de Hollywood y mejor conocido por interpretar por más de una década a uno de los superhéroes más populares (“Wolverine”) en la pantalla grande, ahora da el salto al género de la fantasía y aventura. En PAN, una nueva versión de origen sobre la historia de Peter Pan y Hook, el australiano protagonizará al notorio pirata “Blackbeard”.

En una reciente entrevista (en inglés), Jackman tuvo la oportunidad de hablar sobre este nuevo papel y proyecto…

QUESTION: What can you tell us about Pan and the journey we will take on this film?

HUGH JACKMAN: Just about everyone on the planet knows Peter Pan, but no one knows how he became Peter Pan. [Screenwriter] Jason Fuchs has taken key elements from the classic J.M. Barrie book and imagined how the characters that we think we know became who they are in the book – from Hook to Tiger Lily to Peter Pan. The story takes place when Peter, an orphan from London, is taken up to Neverland, and during the course of this movie, he becomes the hero that we now know – Peter Pan. 

QUESTION: You have created so many iconic characters in your career. What was the appeal for you of taking on Blackbeard in Pan?

HUGH JACKMAN: First of all, I love the story of Peter Pan and what it’s about. I love the idea of creating a world where, whether you’re an adult or a kid, you’re going to finish watching that movie feeling like a kid again because that’s really what the story is about – keeping that childlike way of believing.

I love [director] Joe Wright as a filmmaker. I was onboard as soon as I knew he was doing it. When I first met Joe, he showed me an image on an iPad and said, ‘This is what I’m thinking for Blackbeard.’ I said, ‘Oh, okay.’ So, of course, I had this image of Blackbeard – you know, he famously had incense in his beard that looks like smoke, and he was dark and mean and menacing. Joe had this picture, which was my face with white makeup on that was cracked like an old painting, the wig of Marie Antoinette, the costume of Louis the XIV, and bejeweled fingers. I was like, ‘I’m in.’ [Laughs]

Joe’s basic theory of the movie is that in Neverland – being the summation of a child’s imagination – every adult should be equally ridiculous and frightening. That’s pretty much the only adjectives that adults offer kids. They’re never really sensible; they’re ridiculous or they’re funny, thank you very much. So I just thought, ‘Okay, this is going to be whimsical and out-of-the-box. It’s going to be a little bit nutty and crazy and wonderful and exciting,’ and it proved to be that.

QUESTION: That’s a wonderful idea about portraying an adult as kids see them. How did you make that real as you were developing the Blackbeard we see in Pan?

HUGH JACKMAN: There’s a line that we have in the movie saying that Blackbeard is the pirate that all pirates fear. Now, of course, for an actor it’s a great line. I’m thinking, ‘This is my setup line? This is just perfect.’ And then Joe has the idea of me coming out singing Nirvana’s Team Spirit. It was so off the wall!

When Joe and I first sat down and talked about it, we both got to the point where we were asking, ‘What is terrifying to kids about adults?’ It’s not just that they’re mean; it’s even more terrifying if they’re unpredictable, when you actually have no idea when they’re going to turn and get mad. At times they might be warm and caring, and funny and charming. The next second, for seemingly no reason, they’re the opposite. We’ve all experienced adults like that. That’s what’s terrifying; it’s unnerving and unsettling. So that was the basis of the character that we started with.

Then Joe had this three-week workshop, something I’ve done in theater but have never done before on a movie. One week of that was just the pirates in a room together, all day, every day, creating our characters – creating the look, creating their walks, creating their backstory, creating their interactions, creating the dynamic. Who was the top dog? Who was the bottom? All of that stuff. We had a massive box of dress-up clothes that the costume designer brought down, and shoes and a rack of other wacky things. So wacky. [Laughs] Joe would get us into character and then say, ‘You can go and dress up.’ And a few days later he’d say, ‘Oh, put on a different costume.’ And it gradually came together with who the characters were, what their names were, how they looked.

QUESTION: That’s amazing.

HUGH JACKMAN: That’s the kind of process that I love in theater more than anything, the rehearsal process. And in film you don’t really get that.

QUESTION: Blackbeard has quite a look in the film. What was the makeup process like for you?

HUGH JACKMAN: Well, luckily for me, we decided early on I could shave my head because we had the idea that he wore loads of wigs – like, lots and lots of wigs. It started with the idea of Marie Antoinette’s wig. There’s actually a real reason why he is bald, which I don’t want to give away. The wigs sometimes were placed halfway back on his head, somewhat like a samurai look. He has great vanity. So then we had this idea of him wear white makeup, dark eyes, just looking completely unlike me, which was phenomenal. I have to say, for six months of my life no one recognized who I was. It was fantastic. But I had to wear a lot of sunscreen on my head. [Laughs]

QUESTION: Can you talk about your fellow Aussie, Levi Miller, and the qualities he brings to Peter Pan?

HUGH JACKMAN: I’m so in awe of what he did for his first film. His performance is so touching. I think he has no idea, really, how good he is. He has no idea that he walked onto a set that he will probably never walk on again in his life. The set was magical, fun, filled with music, and the experience of making this film was so joyous. He cried so much on that last take with me – I will never forget it. That’s when I realized, ‘Here’s a kid from Brisbane who’s so thrilled to be plucked from school and get to come and be Peter Pan on this set filled with wonder and magic!’

In life, he’s incredibly well-parented. His parents are the nicest, and the siblings came to the set when they had vacation. They have the most down-to-earth, normal family life. And Levi is unbelievable polite and respectful, so much so that when I first met him, I was thinking, ‘Hmm, he’s so nice and so polite. Is he going to be able to play the cheeky side?’ And, bang! He was a natural, complete natural.

QUESTION: What was it like working with Rooney Mara, Garrett Hedlund and Adeel Akhtar, who play Tiger Lily, Hook and Smee – the little band that forms around Peter?

HUGH JACKMAN: Rooney and Garrett are two of the hardest working actors I’ve met. Both are brilliant in this. They’re at the age I was when I was doing my first Wolverine movie, and I’ll admit to you that now there are a few times where I’ll say, ‘The stunt double can do that one.’ It was funny because I was watching that fight sequence Garrett has with the fiercest warrior from the native village, and he was getting beaten up and kicked in the face and neck – and day after day, he was just going in there. He’s an unbelievable trooper. He was also doing a different kind of performance than I’ve seen from him, almost an old-fashioned swashbuckling Errol Flynn sort of role. It was really terrific.

I got to work with Rooney a lot on this. We did a lot of sword fight training, and she’s got real confidence. It’s easy to want to do too much when you’re working on a film for a long period of time because you feel like, ‘I’ve got a month before I’ve really had a big moment.’ But she’s happy and confident enough just to let the camera find her. And when she does smile and you do see this connection, man, does it pay off on that screen!

And I think is Adeel is phenomenal playing Smee. There were so many takes that I just couldn’t get through, he made me laugh so much. When we were doing those improvs, I would just be laughing the entire time.

QUESTION: How about Nonso Anozie as Bishop and the other actors who play Blackbeard’s crew?

HUGH JACKMAN: Oh, my God, Nonso is such a softie – this massive man. We all had this scene where we have to wear these harnesses, the sort of thing that goes up the groin, and I’ll never forget it. All of the pirates are getting dropped down into the forest. And I don’t know how much Nonso weighs, but he was like, ‘If you could put me down really quickly, that’d be good.’ [Laughs]

All the pirates had a great time. We all played together and partied together and rehearsed together and created those characters together. There was a real sense of camaraderie, and even the extras had a great time. Joe just has a way of creating an atmosphere of play; it’s just a thrill.

QUESTION: What was it like for you to interact with all the big sets that were built for this film? Did you have a favorite?

HUGH JACKMAN: Well, I’m very partial to my own ship. I saw that ship and thought, ‘This is the biggest thing I’ve ever seen.’ It was this massive ship like you’ve never seen before, and it was so beautiful as it was being built. Normally for a movie you’ll make little bits; like if you’re in a jet, it’ll just be the cockpit or just the cabin on the plane or something. This was an entire ship on a gimbal.

Also, the set of Neverland. When I was doing a camera test, I put the costume on, did the full makeup – which took about three or four hours – then I went to find Joe. I asked the AD [assistant director], ‘Where’s Joe?’ And the AD said, ‘Oh, he’s just around the corner.’ And he wasn’t there. We had three ADs looking for him on the set – it was that big. You could actually get lost on the set. I remember thinking, ‘I’ve been in a lot of big movies, but none as big as this.’ And it may never happen again, because the green screen technology is so advanced that it’s so much easier to create it digitally. But Joe is from the school of theater and puppetry. It’s important for him to have the physical thing there, to create a space, to create a physical environment.

QUESTION: You have so much experience doing different kinds of stunts and swordplay, so I was surprised that you actually trained for this role in Pan.

HUGH JACKMAN: Yes, but I was so thrilled. My whole life I dreamt of one day getting to do sword fighting on film, and in this movie, we do a long, long bout of it. I wanted to give Joe the option of shooting the whole thing from a wide angle, so we worked for a long time on the fight.

Then, about two weeks before we shot it, Joe said, ‘I think I want this fight to take place on the spikes at the front of the ship.’ I was like, ‘Okay.’ So, all of a sudden, it’s gone from playing a game of football to playing a game of football while it’s teetering on top of a gymnast’s balance beam, basically. So, we had to completely go to another level and degree of difficulty, and I had a number of bruises and cuts, but it was a great thrill and we worked very, very hard.

QUESTION: Can you elaborate a bit on the energy and aesthetic Joe brings to this project and what the experience was like to like for you to work with him as an actor?

HUGH JACKMAN: He showed me the opening sequence of the trip to Neverland. It was fifteen minutes long – sort of a storyboard/animatic/cartoon at times – all put together. That alone was a work of art. I said, ‘Joe, I really feel sorry for the people who are not going to get a chance to see this. I mean, I know the film is going to look incredible, but that’s a work of art.’ I hope he puts it on the DVD.

At every step, Joe is the most creative, fun, out-of-the-box thinker. I’m thrilled that I’m part of a business that will still back true artistic visionaries like Joe, who not only take you to a world that you never thought was possible, but also understand that movies, in the end, are about feeling and heart – that you connect to the characters, their struggles and their journey – and that’s what this movie does. It’s uplifting. He’s giving people a reason to go to the cinema, and I think we’re sometimes lacking those reasons nowadays.