Hugh Jackman Talks Gay Rumors, Turning Down Chicago and James Bond

Multitalented star opens up about his personal life and career, including revealing some extraordinary roles he took a pass on

By Josh Grossberg Feb 13, 2013 5:38 PMTags
Hugh Jackman, THRThe Hollywood Reporter

Hugh Jackman would like nothing better than to stick an adamantium claw in those pesky gay rumors once and for all. 

In an in-depth interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Wolverine's alter ego sets the record straight on his sexuality and reveals why he turned down a starring role in Chicago and took himself out of the running to play James Bond, among other fascinating revelations.

The 44-year-old Jackman, who's nominated for a Best Actor Oscar this year for his riveting performance as Jean Valjean in Les Misérables, admitted that Internet gossip speculating on his sexuality has been frustrating at times, but particularly for the Aussie actor's wife of 16 years, Deborra-Lee Furness.

 "Just recently, it bugs her," Jackman told the trade, citing things his missus picks up on online. "She goes: 'It's big. It's everywhere!'" 

His X-Men producer Lauren Shuler Donner backed him up on that score.

"I have seen him with Deborra since the beginning of their trip to Hollywood, and I've been on five movie sets with him and have never seen him stray, have never seen him eye anyone," she said. "I met him when he did Oklahoma! [at London's Royal National Theatre in 1999]. He was genuine, hugely talented. He was in love with his wife that day and still is."

Also on the personal front, Jackman revealed that despite the massive success of Les Mis, spending quality time with his family—which includes the two children he has with Furness, 12-year-old Oscar and 7-year-old Ava—is first on his mind when it comes to choosing roles nowadays.

"I told my agent…I need to be home [in New York's West Village]," noted the thesp, especially since he wants to be there for Oscar, who has learning disabilities such as dyslexia.

Speaking of his career, Jackman opened up about some of the parts that could have been his over the years. First and foremost, he said he was offered Richard Gere's Oscar-nominated role in Chicago but rejected it because he felt he was too young. He also dropped out of playing the lead in Drive, which later went to Ryan Gosling, because he was hesitant to work with then-neophyte director Nicolas Winding Refn.

And Hugh also withdrew his name from consideration to play James Bond because he didn't want to be stereotyped as an action man after already earning fame as Wolverine in the first X-Men flick.

"I thought it would box me in too much," Jackman told the trade. "My natural instinct is to keep as many doors open as possible."

Up next for the Hollywood vet and former Oscar host aside from the forthcoming The Wolverine hitting theaters this summer, he's finishing up filming Prisoners, a crime drama opposite Jake Gyllenhaal, then will reprise Logan/Wolverine for the highly anticipated sequel X-Men: Days of Future Past, due to start lensing in April in Montreal.

Jackman also collaborated on an original stage musical, Houdini, with writer Aaron Sorkin and composer by Stephen Schwartz, which he expects to star in next year. (Sorkin recently pulled out of the project.)