After playing claw-wielding superhero Wolverine seven times on the big screen, it’s no surprise that Australian actor Hugh Jackman has become something of an X-Men oracle on set.
But, as the actor points out, being your colleagues’ go-to man for all things X-Men can be a little trying, even if the colleagues in question happen to be acting legends.
“It’s kind of annoying, because Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart constantly come up and have to ask me things,” says the 45-year-old.
“Not just about X-Men but about acting tips and stuff like that. It sort of gets old after a while,” he adds with a mischievous smile.
Jackman is joking, of course, but you can imagine that if anyone was in need of a refresher on the film franchise, he’d be a safe bet to approach.
He’s a very familiar face among the cast, having worked on the series, based on the popular Marvel comics, for the last 14 years.
For the latest film, X-Men: Days Of Future Past – which sees Wolverine and fellow characters from the original trilogy sent back in time to reunite with their younger selves in a bid to change history – he’ll be reunited with Jennifer Lawrence, James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender and Nicholas Hoult, his co-stars from X-Men: First Class, as well as Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen and Halle Berry.
Despite having played Wolverine for almost a decade and a half, Jackman, who started his career in musical theatre, is still brimming with enthusiasm for his impressively sideburned alter ego.
“If you go to the comic books, there’s a lot of very strong character points about Wolverine,” he explains. “He’s the loner. That tough, bad ass, cool guy who does what he wants and doesn’t follow anyone else’s lead. He’s a good guy but not a nice guy. Those are some of the things that I love about him.
“Each person who takes him on gives him slightly different colour, and hopefully over the 14 years, I’ve given him different colours.”
By the sounds of it, Jackman’s Wolverine journey isn’t over yet, either.
“I haven’t officially signed on to anything else,” says the Sydney-born actor who, pre Hollywood, actually considered a career in journalism. “But I am also part of the process of developing another Wolverine movie and also X-Men: Apocalypse, which is the follow up to this movie. I don’t know what role I’ll play in that.
“If I was a betting man, I’d say this X-Men is not the last [for me], but there has to be a very compelling reason for me to do it,” he adds. “I love the character. I love the series. [But] I would never take it for granted or do it for the hell of it.”
Father-of-two Jackman has added other credits to his CV in recent years, too. Baz Luhrmann’s 2008 movie Australia, alongside fellow Aussie Nicole Kidman, and 2012’s Hollywood adaptation of long-running musical Les Miserables spring to mind.
Jackman starred as Les Mis protagonist Jean Valjean and his performance earned rave reviews, as well as a Best Actor nod at the Oscars. Although Daniel Day-Lewis took home the trophy for his role in Lincoln, being nominated “was one of the great honours of my life”, he notes.
“Among Hollywood, to win an Oscar is, of course, amazing. But to be nominated – it sounds like a cliche – but within the business, I can tell you that’s a mark of honour, and is also something I cherish,” Jackman reflects.
“I don’t ever expect it [award nominations], and I don’t think anyone ever should or could,” adds the brawny actor.
X-Men: Days Of Future Past is released on, May 22