AUSTRALIAN actor Hugh Jackman knew just who to draw inspiration from while preparing for “the role of a lifetime”.
Report by City Press
Cast to play one of literature’s most memorable characters, Jean Valjean, in a film adaptation of Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables, Jackman looked to Nelson Mandela for inspiration.
And it worked for him: Jackman was this week named as a Golden Globe nominee in the Best Actor (musical or comedy) category.
Speaking before Mandela was hospitalised late last week, Jackman said the former president’s life set an example for him to draw on.
“Nelson Mandela’s book Long Walk to Freedom, to me, was a great resource for this because in a way, Mandela is the real-life Jean Valjean.”
He believes there are parallels between the protagonist of the 1862 novel –– who is imprisoned for 19 years after being accused of stealing a loaf of bread to feed his sister’s children during a time of economic depression –– and Mandela, who was imprisoned for 27 years in his fight against apartheid.
“Jean Valjean is a fictitious character but, like Mandela, he was coming from very difficult beginnings, overcoming them and becoming this really loving leader –– a man of his word,” said Jackman.
The actor has long admired Mandela: He contributed his voice to the audio book Nelson Mandela’s Favourite African Folktales.