Hugh Jackman sent the Swiss city of Zurich into a tizzy over the weekend when he made his way into town to accept the festival's Golden Icon Award and kickoff the screening to his latest box-office hit "Prisoners," directed by "Incendies" filmmaker Denis Villenueve (also in town) and co-starring one of the festival's main jury members, Melissa Leo.
For Jackman, his role in "Prisoners" as a father who takes justice into his own hands after his daughter goes missing, marks another career triumph for the actor following his Oscar-nominated turn in last year's "Les Miserables," proving that there's life for the Australian star after Wolverine.
Prior to greeting a slew of fans camped out at the festival's main theater, the Corso, Jackman sat down with a select group of journalists to discuss "Prisoners," how he handles fame, reuniting with Bryan Singer for the upcoming summer blockbuster "X-Men: Days of Future Past," among other things. Below are the top 10 things he revealed.
Jackman doesn't subscribe to the method style of acting.
"I don't stay in character. I can't say I was fully relaxed though at the end of the day [on 'Prisoners']. Acting is the greatest privilege. You get to inhabit lives and you get to touch real emotions. That's the job and at the end of the day; you're calm like you played a great game of rugby. And then at the same time you're going, OK we're going to climb that mountain again tomorrow."
Despite his fame, Jackman just wants to be normal.
"I try to live my life as normally as possible. My father was an accountant. Nobody asked what he did in his life or cared. I just want to make sure that my kids have a normal life. I don't want them to be paranoid about going out. So that's my basic philosophy. I don't want to walk around with security guards. There may be dangers for my kids, but I'm a realist as well. I understand that perhaps some situations aren't normal, and some you have to be careful about – it's something my wife and I talk about all the time. I just try to be as normal as I can. If I can't be normal, I won't have them there."
He doesn't feel boxed in, though some might see him that way.
"In film and certainly when I go outside of New York or America, I'm very well known for Wolverine. I forget people don't know that I did a play with Daniel Craig where I played a similar character to this one. I did a year doing a musical playing Peter Allen, who was a very gay, flamboyant man. Or Gaston in ‘Beauty in the Beast.' So for me I don't feel boxed in. But I feel that there's a danger around the world that playing Wolverine is all that I can do.
"Day to day it doesn't feel frustrating. I'm surprised by everything that's happened in my career. If it was just Wolverine, I'd be grateful for that. I was just hoping to pay the rent as an actor. I never thought I'd make a career out of it."
He wasn't scared to take on the role in "Prisoners," even as a father.
"I wasn't scared of that. When I watch a movie I don't care about that. I find it very hard to be shocked. As an actor I feel going into darkness is important. We need to look at that. What scared me was going into it with the wrong director. I did not sign on till Denis signed on. I could see where it could go, but it needed the right director to get there."
He hasn't and won't show “Prisoners” to his kids until they're ready.
"It's R-rated for a very good reason. I think it's a very adult film – I'm talking about the message; it throws up a lot of messages. For a child I think it'd be very unsettling to have a lot of those grey areas. There was no clear heroes or answers in this. I think it can be very confusing for a child actually."