Baz Luhrmann doesn’t bother to give Hugh Jackman’s character a name in his new, unabashedly old-fashioned romantic epic, “Australia.” Then again, the man the “X-Men” star plays doesn’t really need one. His dramatic entrances — whether on horseback, through a crowded bar or wearing the kind of white tux only a select few can pull off — tell it all. This guy is a hero cut from the same cloth of Bogart and Gable (indeed “The African Queen” and “Gone With the Wind” are just two of the films “Australia” recalls).
In Luhrmann’s latest, Jackman and Nicole Kidman play a seemingly mismatched pair whose love affair plays out against the huge backdrop of a real-life World War II sneak attack that decimated the town of Darwin in 1942.
MTV News caught up with Jackman just hours after he was anointed the “Sexiest Man Alive” by People magazine. We took the opportunity to grill him about that weighty responsibility, whether he’s been bothered by rumors about his sexuality and where he wants to send Wolverine on the antihero’s next adventure.
MTV: How do you plan on enjoying your reign as the Sexiest Man Alive?
Hugh Jackman: I’m not resting, mate. I’m not a one-term winner here. I want two terms, three, four, something like that. Brad [Pitt]’s had two [but] never back to back. That’s my goal.
MTV: I’m disappointed about one thing. In the issue you can actually smell some of the gentlemen, like Taye Diggs, through scratch-and-sniff technology. Why are you denying the world the scent of Jackman?
Jackman: [Laughs.] Actually we’re about to release a perfume. It’s Essence of Hugh.
MTV: Please tell me you’re joking.
Jackman: I am joking. Trust me.
MTV: And what would that smell like anyway?
Jackman: It would [smell] timeless.
MTV: You were pretty forthright with People magazine when they asked you about the three biggest rumors about you.
Jackman: Gay, gay and gay.
MTV: You said in that article that the rumors while you were playing Peter Allen in “The Boy From Oz” [on Broadway] bothered your wife. Did they ever bother you?
Jackman: Come on. No, it’s ridiculous. I just think the whole idea of judging someone based on their sexuality is ridiculous. In Australia, we’re much easier on all those fronts. I was playing a gay guy. I actually took it as a compliment. I probably shouldn’t be saying this, but I remember when I was about 19, me and my mate used to go to these dance parties which were 80 percent gay guys, 18 percent girls who were sick of heterosexual guys hitting on them, and then vultures like me and my mate. We would go there until 2 in the morning, when the girls were really drunk and wishing they weren’t with 80 percent gay guys.
MTV: So you’re basically the worst kind of straight guy?
Jackman: The worst! The leech! The vulture!
MTV: By now we know a lot about “X-Men Origins: Wolverine.” Are there any surprises left?
Jackman: I can guarantee you there are going to be surprises. David Benioff, who wrote the script, is one of the great writers in Hollywood, and he is the biggest comic book fan in the history of the world. There is not an issue of “Wolverine” or “X-Men” that he doesn’t own. When he first pitched me the idea, he had such a brilliant idea that was his little twist on events. He’s written it smartly. He knows what the fans want.
MTV: Where do you think the character will appear next? In one of the spin-off films for a character like Deadpool, or another Wolverine film?
Jackman: I’m not thinking I’m going off with anyone else. [Laughs.]
MTV: You want another one of your own?
Jackman: Yeah, damn it. Of course.
MTV: Where do you want to see the character go in the future?
Jackman: The most intriguing thing to me was the Japan story. I love the Japan story. I wanted to do the Japan story from around “X-Men 2.” Can you just picture Wolverine in Japan with the triads and the samurai? It’s just genius. Comedically and dramatically, I thought, “This is awesome!” But how can you do that before you explain his origins? If we tried to mix the origin and Japan together, it wouldn’t do justice to either. So you can tell by the answer where I’d like it to go.
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