×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Why Hugh Jackman Was ‘Scared’ to Play Gary Hart in ‘The Front Runner’

Some stars play it safe, but not Hugh Jackman, who keeps pushing himself in new directions. After a string of wide-ranging roles (“Prisoners,” “Les Miserables,” “The Greatest Showman,” “Logan”), he again shows his versatility by playing politician Gary Hart in Sony’s “The Front Runner,” which opens wide Nov. 21.

Do you always seek out challenging roles?

Yep. I was as scared of this as anything I’ve done. The weight of playing someone who could have been president — and who was mercurial and enigmatic, and who I knew would see the film — all made this very frightening. But I’ve learned if you’re going to be scared, make sure you’re working with great people who will catch you, like [director] Jason Reitman.

Part of the complexity is that Gary Hart didn’t open up.

I made five bound books of research about him, his background and politics. I also spoke with those who worked with him; they said Gary would draw you in, but just as you’re getting close, the shutters would close. I related him to my father, who’s very smart, very ethical, principled, but a hard man to get to know. That’s partly the generation, partly personality. Also, my brother, who’s a Rhodes scholar, is a dizzying intellect. I figured being around Gary must be like being around my brother, where you’ve got to gallop just to keep up.

You’ve been a star for almost 20 years. Have the boundaries of privacy changed?

The biggest single change is that everybody now carries a camera. There used to be a sense of “I probably shouldn’t bother him.” Now it’s “Sure, I’m going to talk with him.” For me, it doesn’t feel like a burden, and the benefits far outweigh the negatives in what I get to do for a living. For Gary, it’s really difficult; he was always struggling with it.

The movie seems to be saying that in 1987, politics suddenly became more showbiz.

As an actor, you’re a brand; your film is a brand. We understand that in show business. Gary rejected that idea. At that moment in 1987, politics changed forever.

Talk about some of your philanthropies.
Global Citizen: Being involved with Global Citizen and the annual festival means being involved in politics at a macro level, where you see the world in totality. This is the generation who see the future and they’re trying to adapt for that. Global Citizens are building a real movement, and the momentum is massive; they’re making major changes.
Laughing Man Coffee: Paul Newman is my hero, onscreen and off. The jobs we create, the good we do for the people who grow the coffee and who drink the coffee, that will outlast me.
MPTV Fund: Working in the industry makes a lot of demands, long hours and hard work. Every one of those people deserves to be looked after. I love being part of a community that supports everyone in the business. I believe in an egalitarian world.

Things You Didn’t Know About Hugh Jackman

AGE: 50 BIRTHPLACE: Sydney FAVORITE CHARITIES: Global Citizens Festival, Laughing Man Coffee, MPTF TWITTER FOLLOWERS: 12.8 million OM RUN: Practicing T.M. since age 20 FIRST JOB: Gas station attendant, graveyard shift

More Film

  • Radiohead - Thom YorkeRadiohead in concert

    Radiohead’s Thom Yorke to Release Solo Album Accompanied by Paul Thomas Anderson Film

    Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke’s new solo studio album, “Anima,” will be released digitally on June 27 on XL Recordings, he announced today. The album’s digital release will be accompanied by a “one-reeler,” also entitled “Anima,” directed by Paul Thomas Anderson (“Boogie Nights,” “Magnolia,” “There Will Be Blood”) and set to three tracks from the new [...]

  • HKIFFS and Heaven Pictures

    Hong Kong Festival, China's Heaven Pictures Launch 'Back to Basics' Film Project Support

    The Hong Kong International Film Festival Society (HKIFFS) and China’s Heaven Pictures announced that they will award six Asian filmmakers RMB1 million ($145,000) in a joint project to demonstrate how high-quality films can still be made inexpensively. The six films that emerge from the new initiative, titled “Back to Basics (B2B): A Love Supreme,” will [...]

  • Nuri Bilge Ceylan in conversation at

    Shanghai: How Nuri Bilge Ceylan Sees the World so Differently

    At a masterclass on Thursday, Turkish film director Nuri Bilge Ceylan gave the initial impression of being an austere and unwilling participant. Wearing heavy glasses, keeping his coat on, and responding to questions rather than offering a class, his manner suggested that he was difficult. In China as the head of the Shanghai International Film [...]

  • SpiderMan Far From Home

    Hollywood Takes on Italy's Vacation-Heavy Summer Season With Blockbusters

    With upcoming movies such as “Toy Story 4,” “Men in Black: International” and “Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw,” Hollywood studios are finally taking the plunge this year and slotting their blockbusters in Italian cinemas during the summer, a time when residents traditionally hit the beach en masse. For decades, the studios withheld their [...]

  • Easy Money

    Netflix Orders 'Snabba Cash' Series Based on Hit Movie Franchise from SF Studios

    Netflix has ordered a six-part original series based on the hit Swedish crime franchise “Snabba Cash” from SF Studios. Based on Jens Lapidus’s bestselling novels, the series is set in Stockholm’s gritty criminal underground ten years after the events depicted in the “Snabba Cash” (“Easy Money,” pictured) movie trilogy. The society has become even more [...]

  • The Kings Man

    Film News Roundup: Disney Sets 'The King's Man' Spy Comedy for February

    In today’s film news roundup, “The King’s Man” and “A Kid From Coney Island” get release dates, and “Barry” star Anthony Carrigan joins “Bill & Ted Face the Music.” RELEASE DATE Disney has set its Fox spy comedy prequel “The King’s Man” for release on Feb. 14, 2020. Disney made the announcement Wednesday at its [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content