We know you want to read more about what we discussed with Hugh Jackman during his time in Hong Kong. Here, at a round table interview that YP reporter Melanie went to, he talks about Peter Pan, working with Levi Miller and the look of his Blackbeard costume.
What versions of Peter Pan have you seen and what do you think of the story?
I have seen Hook, I’ve seen the animated movie. I think that’s where I first got to know the story. I’ve seen the live show, I think I’ve seen my sister do it at school. So I’ve seen a bunch of the originals, so it’s nice to do a story that was a little different. Not just another version of Peter Pan. And you know what was great? Reading the original book which I don’t remember ever reading. I highly recommend it for all adults to read. It’s a really beautiful, beautiful book, and very poignant for adults. It speaks to adults as well as to kids.
Peter Pan is an amazing fairy tale and it crosses cultures. It’s a great sort of reminder as an adult to keep the kid alive. It’s really what it’s saying, isn’t it? That the world is Neverland if you want it to be, full of magic and wonder and possibility and adventure. You just have to keep that kid alive.
What do you think about the Neverland in the new film?
Joe Wright, the director, had a very fun and clear vision of Neverland, which is that we’re seeing it from an 11-year-old’s imagination. So pirates can sing Nirvana, they can also dress like they’re some cross between a samurai and a … from the 18th century. It’s all made up and it’s all play acting. This is Neverland, not reality. Yes, boys can fly and all these wonderful things [can happen]. So, I think the movie has that infectious spirit of a kid. It makes you feel like a little kid again when you watch it, like everything’s possible. So as an actor that sense of limitlessness, and sense of imagination.. there is no wrong. It’s just adventure. And I suppose we try to keep that as much as we can.
Peter is afraid of heights. Blackbeard is afraid of losing power. How do you interpret that?
[Peter] was quite a fearful kid. He’s frightened of the pressure on him. He’s has no idea if he’s the prophecy. People have huge expectations for him, so I think actually that’s even more really the theme. Living up to our sense of what people want from us. And I think it doesn’t really go away even as an adult. Most of us here have a boss, it’s wanting please your boss,...it’s something hard to get rid of, living up to our own expectations, or our parents expectations and our school’s expectations… and trusting yourself that you can do it, that you’ve got it within you.
There’s a scene in the middle you see Blackbeard offer his sword to Peter I kind of see that moment as the things you’re terrified of losing, part of you wants to be free of it. You can work your whole lives to own a home, own your car and put your kids through school, and you work work work work work … and it’s never fine. All these things you fight for but on some level we dream of just letting it all go. We strive for things so much at some point we question why we strive for it.
Blackbeard’s terrified of getting older, but he also realises it doesn’t mean that much. So he’s empty, a little bit, he’s just holding on for fear. You get to see a little bit of his sadness actually.
What advice did you give to Peter Pan star Levi Miller?
Very early on, he was not great at eating correctly. Cause he’s a kid - there’s a table with lollies and candies and croissants, and I was like, ‘Mate, I want that too. But if you eat all that at seven thirty in the morning, by two o’clock in the afternoon you’re going to be (dazed look). So you need to eat healthily because you need to keep your energy very steady through the day.’ Just explaining to him that a day of filming, about 12 hours for an adult, that’s probably 2 minutes of the film. So who knows, it could be at four o’clock in the afternoon, it could be nine in the morning, ten o’clock at night, you just have to be ready. That was the only advice I gave, everything else he was a natural.
You shared with us how you overcame your own fears. How do you help your children overcome theirs?
When my son was young he was frightened of sleeping alone in his own room. So I got a mattress and I put it at the base of his bed. And I said, I’m gonna sleep here tonight. And the next night I moved it a little bit back toward the door, and then I moved it further back the next day. After about five weeks, I was sleeping in the hallway. I remember waking up in the middle of the night, I remember because the mattress was the width of the hallway. And I could feel this foot stepping over my head to go and sleep with my wife in the bed. And I just went, ah, whatever. That was my failed attempt.
Did you get to have a say in how Blackbeard’s costume was done?
Almost all of that is Joe and the make-up department. It evolved. The beard started as a full beard, and then we cut it a little bit. I knew I had to shave off the head because of the bit of the story about the scalp. So and then we had wigs, we had loads of wigs, it’s just an arbitrary decision. But all of this, ruffles and sash, all this, like the Spanish conquistadors, it’s all that was really the costume department. I had some ideas, but they’re just not as good.
What did your kids think about your costume?
They laughed at my pants. And my daughter said it was very weird that I was wearing tights. Like these red tights in the beginning. And the other pants that were puffy. She said, ‘Dad those are the weirdest pants.’ She thought it was so uncool.
We’ll probably be seeing some Blackbeards for Halloween this year.
I put out a warning - it’s not an easy costume to pull off!
Why did you decide to stop playing Wolverine after the next movie comes out?
It’s just right. If you go to a great great party, you know there’s a point where you don’t wanna stay too long. You’re gonna regret it the next morning. And it feels like I’m not ready to go yet, I’m going to dance a few more songs, but it just feels like the right time. I have too much respect for the character and the audience and the fans and also what I do as an actor, to try and love it. Try and do too much with it. I would hate to miss that point where I should have left. The series and the characters are in a really good place right now, and it hasn’t always been as good as good as it is now.