Belfast Telegraph

Jackman: I'm averse to labelling

Hugh Jackman has revealed he likes to "push the boundaries" when it comes to his film roles.

The heartthrob actor is known for being a nice guy and family man in real life, but he admitted he likes to try things people might not expect of him, such as the rage-spewing, formerly alcoholic survivalist he plays in kidnapping drama Prisoners.

He said: "I'm always looking to push the boundaries of what people think I should be doing or can do.

"I'm very averse to the labelling you get. One of the downsides of doing press, which is a necessity, both the media and audiences go, 'Oh he's this kind of guy. He's a family guy, nice guy.' Whatever label it is, it's the hardest thing for an actor to get past."

Prisoners, which debuted at the Toronto Film Festival, is about the frantic search for the kidnapper of two girls. When the chief suspect (Paul Dano) is released from custody by the police detective in charge of the case (Jake Gyllenhaal), the father (Hugh) pursues and tortures him.

The 44-year-old said of the role: "For an actor, it was one of those parts where you go, 'OK, this is something I haven't done before, this is going to stretch me.' It's asking for a sustained intensity that I haven't had before."

Hugh, a father-of-two, researched the part by learning about kidnapping experiences and the mentalities of survivalists. Though he drew on his own experiences as a parent, he revealed he favoured an acting approach that looked outside himself.

"It's dangerous to constantly dredge up your own family thing," said the star. "The bottom line is, actors will do whatever it takes. But if you can possibly get there without doing that - just using your imagination. Obviously, if you're only going to use your life experiences, you're limited."

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