In a wide-ranging interview with Variety about his career, Australian actor Hugh Jackman recalled the time he gave Matt Damon a lap dance.
Jackman found fame playing Wolverine in the X-Men movies. However, he proved he was much more than a comic book hero when he took his first starring role on Broadway in 2003. He played gay singer-songwriter Peter Allen in The Boy From Oz.
Jackman went on to win a Tony award for his energetic performance as the exuberant performer.
“The most fun I ever had was playing Peter Allen,” Jackman said, explaining he often dragged audience members onstage and roasted them during an improvised part of the show.
“There was, I don’t know, roughly 10 to 12 minutes of every show that was ad-libbed. Once I was 50 or 60 shows in, I felt completely free to do whatever the hell I wanted.
“I was an a**hole at times. I brought up Barbara Walters and Matt Damon, and made Matt Damon give Barbara Walters a lap dance, which turned into me giving Matt Damon a lap dance. And he didn’t punch me.”
Damon found himself in hot water last year after an interview in which he admitted casually using the word ‘f*ggot’ in front of his family and was strongly criticized by his teenage daughter.
Jackman also recalled pulling Sarah Jessica Parker up on stage in 2004. He made her dance in a tight ballerina costume and says there was almost a wardrobe malfunction.
“I really felt for her that night. As soon as she got up onstage, I could tell those boobs were about to come out.”
Peter Allen died from AIDS-related cancer in 1992. Jackman says he’d consider reprising one of his best-loved roles.
“It did cross my mind a couple of times. I’m 54. Peter died at 48. So you could find a way to make it work.”
Failing an audition for Miss Congeniality
Jackman also reflected on his early days of trying to get ahead in Hollywood. He recalled auditioning to play Sandra Bullock’s love interest in Miss Congeniality before the X-Men franchise came along.
Jackman said that as he read lines opposite Bullock, he was blown away by her talent. He found himself thinking: “‘Holy shit! She’s amazing! And so quick and fast. I’m not even vaguely up to speed here.’ I was pedaling as fast as I could, but I didn’t know the script well enough.”
The part eventually went to Benjamin Bratt, with Jackman calling his missed opportunity “humiliating”.
Jackman currently stars on Broadway in The Music Man, which will close on January 1, 2023. He is also set to reprise the role of Wolverine in Deadpool 3, alongside Ryan Reynolds.
The interview with Variety was primarily to discuss his leading role in The Son, in which he plays a workaholic father struggling to hold his family together. It’s a grittier role than Jackman usually plays and his performance is already generating Oscar buzz.