As an actor, Hugh Jackman is a man of incredible talent. As a showman, he is someone with natural ability, which is evident on stage and in front of cameras. The 49-year-old Australian can sing and dance with flair, and his hosting of the Oscars and Tony Awards has garnered praise for being incredibly charming.
So you’d think that his upcoming role in the musical biopic The Greatest Showman is one he identifies with. After all, it tells the tale of larger-than-life American circus pioneer PT Barnum. Jackman, however, does not think so.
“Not really,” he points out. “The role is intriguing for me. He was the complete opposite of me… In my real life, I’m pretty calm and quiet.”
Barnum is considered by many to be the person who invented show-business. He founded the circus that eventually led to the birth of Ringling Bros and Barnum & Bailey. The Greatest Showman celebrates Barnum’s early story. It also paints him as an unconventional visionary, rising from nothing to later creating a worldwide sensation.
As hard to believe as it is, it took a lot of work for Jackman to step into the shoes of a man like Barnum. He says the film was seven years in the making and required many weeks of rehearsals.
“For a musical, it is a massive undertaking. We did workshops with the entire cast, and then there’s the dancing and singing. The choreography alone is very intricate. My toes were bleeding!”
Jackman notes that playing a historical figure like Barnum added a lot more pressure to his preparation. He says the team did a huge amount of research to be respectful to his legacy.
On the challenge for Jackman to ready himself in playing Barnum, he prefers to remain reticent on the subject. “Every role has some kind of pressure to get it right,” he simply states.
The Greatest Showman also stars Zac Efron, Zendaya, Michelle Williams and Keala Settle. The film’s songs were penned by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, who won the Oscar for La La Land and the Tony for Dear Evan Hansen.
“Keala has been on Broadway for years. When she sings it will stop you dead in your tracks. There’s a huge supporting cast. The ‘oddities’ from the circus. They are some of the best dancers in the world,” says Jackman.
Celebrating The Holidays
The Greatest Showman, which puts style and spectacle at centre stage, has managed to draw the attention of numerous brands in the market, including Montblanc. Jackman is not the only star in several scenes. Products like the heritage Minerva pocket watch and a specially commissioned Meisterstuck writing instrument make their appearance, too.
A circus motif is seen on the Meisterstuck 149 pen (a different model available for sale), finely engraved on red gold and ruthenium. It also sports a ruby on the nib, alongside a polished black resin body with red gold coated fittings.
“I always loved classic writing instruments. I owned one before the maison came to me. I love the weight of it in my hand. I used to hold one and think I was very grown up,” Jackman comments.
Jackman happens to be Montblanc’s long-time ambassador. Appointed in 2014, he has appeared in numerous campaigns and is seen to have an affinity with what the luxury maison stands for.
“I do keep a journal. When my son was born, I started a journal for him, and the same when my daughter was born,” he explains, about having a love for writing and penmanship. “Whenever I get the time, I write to them. Stuff that happened that day for example, or even a story I remember from growing up. One day they will get to read them,” he adds.
To mark the film’s release, Montblanc has created a special Happy Holiday Circus notebook with a yellow Saffiano calfskin leather cover featuring a printed circus design. The fine stationary piece comes with a red bookmark and golden cut edges.
The launch of the product is part of a Happy Holiday campaign, with a short ad starring Jackman in his role as Barnum.