We’re a day late (once again) on #ManCrushMonday, but yesterday was a holiday, so we at least have an excuse. This week, we’re (respectfully) ogling stage and screen fave Hugh Jackman. The Tony and Broadway.com Audience Choice Award winner returns to the Great White Way this fall in Jez Butterworth’s The River at the Circle in the Square Theatre. In the spirit of going back to school and thanks to Vulture, we’ve been studying up on the Aussie hunk. From his unexpected workout activity to the fate of his beard (and shirt) here’s what we learned today!
1. He's a Zumba freak
What’s the secret to that ripped body? Zumba. Equinox at Greenwich. “My wife was doing it,” Jackman explains, “I went in and joined that class and it was fun actually.” But like any of his performances, things get extreme. “You can’t do Zumba halfhearted. Do it enthusiastically or get out.” We’re picturing a very strange combination of this and this.
2. His Les Miz roots go way back
Before reaching A-list status, Jackman auditioned for Beauty and the Beast in Australia. He obviously got the gig, but only under the condition that his singing improved. His voice teacher at the time was Martin Croft, who was in the ensemble of Les Miserables down under at the time. “Every time we did a lesson, he’d sing a song and then we’d work on it. Just like trying to impersonate someone, that’s all it was.” Wait. So how much of your Valjean is you and how much is you as Croft? Who are you, Jackman?
3. He uses his family (for research)
In The River, Jackman plays a fly fisher, and the role has led to some extensive character research. “I’m in a bit of trouble,” Jackman admits, “because I took [my son] to Montana in March and said, you know, let’s fly fish, it’ll be a father son trip, but come October he’s going to realize it was a research trip.” There’s nothing wrong with killing two birds with one stone. Or casting two flies with one rod. Or something.
4. The shirt's staying on
The River isn’t exactly X-Men: Days of Future Past. “There are no explosions, I guarantee—no shirt come off, I’m pretty sure,” Jackman says. Sorry, Idina Menzel. It looks like you’re gonna have to get your chest hair fix somewhere else. Here’s a start.
5. He's tolerant toward theater snoozers
The first play Jackman saw on Broadway was Hughie starring Al Pacino, coincidentally at the Circle in the Square. Unfortunately, the early morning rush line got the best of his wife, and she dozed off ten minutes into the play. “Be warned,” he says, “if you come and fall asleep, I know I will see you. But given my experience, I’ll forgive.” How merciful! We’ve all been there; just don’t let Zach Braff catch you.
6. His facial hair game is on point
There was that crazy beard in Les Miz. There’s that crazy beard in Pan. But for The River, we’ll probably see a relatively clean-shaven Jackman on stage. “If you’re a girl and you go to a remote fishing cabin on a moonless night with a guy with a bald head and facial hair like that, you’re probably going to run the other way.” Ugh, you’re so insightful. Now show us your Zumba moves?