Hugh Jackman is the cover boy for the October issue of Men’s Fitness magazine. His interview is focused around an all day training session and photo shoot he had with boxing great Sugar Ray Leonard. Hugh was preparing for his role as a washed up boxer in Real Steel, which is not-so-jokingly being called the Rock ‘em Sock ‘em Robots movie. It’s out on October 7, and is yet another role in which Jackman had to take his body to the limit. He’s more than up to it of course, and has the dedication and attitude to do whatever it takes.
Hugh’s article in Men’s Fitness necessarily focuses on the way he trains and eats right, but there’s also a lot of marveling at how down to earth and genuinely friendly he is. Hugh is so nice and normal, the author declares that he’s taken “the nicest guy in Hollywood” title away from Tom Hanks. Here’s more:
A typical “good day” is lunch with Deborra-Lee Furness, his wife of 15 years, a walk, an hour of singing, and a visit with friends. A mention of his 2008 People Magazine “Sexiest Man Alive” crown elicits self-deprecation. “An old friend of mine e-mailed me and he said he had cowboy boots sexier than me,” he says. He discusses his extensive charitable projects, inquires sincerely about my career and life, and perhaps most surprisingly, he’s not on his iPhone when I return from the bathroom. Instead he’s by the front door waiting for me. “Ready, mate?” he asks.
“Honestly,” I say, careful not to fall for that g’day chumminess. “When was the last time someone called you an asshole?” He bellows a deep and genuine laugh. “I don’t really know,” he says. “I”m a bit of a people pleaser, unfortunately. My wife says it’s hard to be married to me. She wishes I were more of an asshole.”
A short walk later we arrive for the cover shoot at Brooklyn’s legendary Gleason’s boxing gym. Old fight posters cover the walls. The air is sharp with sweat. Bells ring, ropes snap, mitts crack, trainers bark…
Two dozen of the gym’s current fighters, entrenched in their daily regimen, barely bat an eye. Jackman needs no sycophants, however. He immediately introduces himself to the gym owner, a few trainers and the photo crew. Smiles and handshakes. A pat on the back here and there. Nothing phony, nothing forced…
At 5 p.m., the shoot wraps. While Leonard doles out pointers to awestruck fighters, Jackman changes into street clothes. THen he eats a small portion of grilled chicken and veggies, his third such plate of the afternoon. When he finishes, he does not, as I expect, bolt for the exit. Instead, he makes his way around the gym thanking all of the folks for their efforts. It’s at this moment that my New York cynicism disappears. When he sidles up to me, flashes that megawatt smile, and asks, “That wasn’t so bad, eh?” a truth hits me like a right cross. Tom Hanks, you’re toast. Hugh Jackman really is the nicest guy in Hollywood.
[From Men's Fitness, print edition, October, 2011]
The journalist spent all day with Hugh and didn’t even see a glimmer of attitude or phoniness. That’s more convincing to me than any interview or quote directly from Hugh. I really like the guy. I know some people think he’s hiding some giant secret, but think about it. With our rampant gossip press, wouldn’t we have heard way more than just vague rumors by now? I think those started because it’s hard to believe that he’s that decent a guy and has been happily married, with nary a cheating rumor, for 15 years.
On a more superficial note, Hugh looks hot on the photos inside the magazine, but he looks tired and worn out on the cover. I’m not a fan of all the stubble, or of his haircut. His pecs and arms are amazing, though. There are more photos, along with Hugh’s workout plan, in the October issue of Men’s Fitness.
Hugh is shown at the Real Steel preview last Friday in London on 9/16/11. Credit: WENN.com