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If you've been known to lather up and enjoy a good old sing-song in the bathroom, then you're in good company. "I always sing in the shower," says a smiling Hugh Jackman. "I sing most days of my life and the shower's where I spend a good 10 minutes." He showcases his vocal prowess in the much-vaunted movie adaptation of the long-running musical Les Miserables, playing the story's protagonist, Jean Valjean.

"You follow him for a 20-year span, and throughout that time you see all the ups and downs, the pain and the ecstasy that life brings," says Jackman, who puts in a tour de force performance as the reformed convict which has already garnered him a Golden Globe nomination. "Valjean's like a Hamlet; he's one of those parts that you hope one day you're going to get to play apart from in your bathroom."

Although best known for his movie roles, notably as X-Men's Wolverine, Jackman, 44, boasts an impressive theatrical background, having starred in productions such as Sunset Boulevard and Oklahoma. Only recently he performed a one-man show on Broadway. He even got to do a few song and dance numbers at the Academy Awards four years ago. "All the things I've done leading up to [Les Miserables] whether it be on stage or in film, I feel came together in this role. It's the role of a lifetime," says the Australian native, looking ruggedly handsome in a blue jumper and dark trousers.

"I've been in musical theatre for a number of years and I've done movies for a number of years, so there have been two sides of my career that's felt slightly schizophrenic," he explains. "For a long time I've wanted to combine the two and I'd

4 Life Begins Desperate to be in the film

"It's been around 27 years, it's so iconic and the idea it could be made into a film wasn't even on my radar," he says of the production that's been seen by more than 60 million people in 42 countries and 21 languages. Then Jackman's agent heard a potential movie was in the pipeline. "I immediately rang Cameron [Mackintosh, the theatre producer] and said, 'Oh my God, I've got to do this'. Then I rang Tom Hooper and said, 'I need a meeting'. I've never been so aggressive going for a part," he says, grinning.

The Oscar-winning director, fresh from his success with The King's Speech, agreed to meet. "I came into

the room and I was like, 'Mate, I'm so excited, I really want to audition for you', and Tom went, 'Woah!'" recalls Jackman, laughing. "He hadn't even signed on [to the film] yet but was thinking about it. Anyway, I auditioned for him about a month later and the rest is history."

The director has since described Jackman as "a genius at both acting and singing", but he

cringes at the mention of this. "Good actors don't know that stuff but it's very kind of him to say that," says Jackman, who has two adopted children - Oscar, 12 and Ava, seven - with his wife of 16 years, Deborra-Lee Furness.

By Susan Griffin

Wolverine's Hugh Jackman replaces one pair of sideburns for another in a movie adaptation of the smash-hit musical Les Miserables. He talks to Susan Griffin about tackling the role of a lifetime.

dreamt of being in a movie musical." But the Emmy and Tony-award winning actor didn't think a big screen adaptation of Les Miserables was possible.

Film Still from Les Miserables

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