Actor Hugh Jackman Reflects on Role That Changed His Views on Fatherhood

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Actor Hugh Jackman Reflects on Role That Changed His Views on Fatherhood

By Movieguide® Staff

Actor Hugh Jackman recently revealed that he prepped for his role in THE SON by looking at his own life.

In the movie, Jackman plays a man who has a child with his new partner after leaving his wife. His 17 year-old son from his first marriage struggles with his mental health, and Jackman’s character searches for ways to help him. 

A portion of the Movieguide® review reads:

THE SON stars Hugh Jackman as Peter, an upper-class executive in New York whose adultery and abandonment of his first wife has traumatized their teenage son, Nicholas. When his ex-wife discovers that Nicholas has been skipping school for a month, the boy tells her he wants to live with his father. Peter takes the boy even though his new wife has just had a baby. Peter finds out Nicholas has been cutting himself. After a few weeks, Nicholas seems to be thriving living with his father. But, has Nicholas recovered from the trauma of his father abandoning his mother?

THE SON is a powerful, often tense drama about the sins of the father being visited on the offspring. Hugh Jackman delivers a superb performance. At first, the son is unable to tell his father what’s bothering him. It becomes clear, however, that the father’s cheating on the son’s mother and leaving her for another woman is the issue. A visit with the grandfather reveals it’s a multi-generational problem. MOVIEGUIDE® advises extreme caution for some foul language, family arguments and a theme of suicide.

Jackman shares Oscar, 22, and Ava, 17, with Deborra-Lee Furness, his wife of 26 years. His own role as a dad, plus losing his father during filming, really impacted his performance in the movie — and his life. 

“I think I’m a different parent now because of it,” he shared. “I think I’m more open to being vulnerable with them saying things like ‘I’m not sure,’ or realizing that sometimes I may be preoccupied by something going on with me.

“Like I’m preoccupied about the opening of THE MUSIC MAN, for example,” Jackman explained. “And then realizing that they may think they’ve done something and just me not communicating because I’m thinking, ‘I don’t want to burden them with that,’ doesn’t help. So now I find myself saying, ‘Hey guys, sorry if I feel distant, I’m really nervous about this thing and if I’ve gone off my head, it’s nothing to do with you.’”

He concluded, “Just because you’re the father — you don’t have to know, you don’t have to know what to do or what the best thing is, and it’s OK to say that and then, of course, they use that and wrap you around their little finger.”

The actor also addressed how losing his father influenced his performance in THE SON. 

“I think I was just confronting a lot of things as a parent, fears that you have, and I just wasn’t sleeping very well,” he shared. “I found myself thinking a lot and in a lot [of] emotional turmoil. And I think it was just part of giving over…giving over to the story, and I just sort of went with it.”

While THE SON has its issues, it’s wonderful to hear that Jackman used the themes of the movie to explore and deepen his relationships with his own children.